By: Omar Silva, NP Staff Writer
Belize City, Friday 17th March 2023
Mexico's President, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, has responded to a proposal by the United States Republican Party that the US Armed Forces could act in Mexico's territory following the kidnapping of four Americans in Matamoros, Mexico, two of whom were allegedly murdered by drug cartels. At a press conference on March 9, Lopez Obrador stated that Mexico is a "free, independent, sovereign country" and would not take orders from anyone. He called the proposal "irresponsible" and "an offense to the people of Mexico, a lack of respect for our sovereignty."
This controversy comes amid growing concern in the United States about the social havoc that fentanyl, a synthetic opioid manufactured in Mexico, is causing, and the drug cartels responsible for its distribution. However, Lopez Obrador expressed frustration on Wednesday over the inefficiency of agencies responsible for tackling the problem and has since threatened the Republican Party with an information campaign against them among Mexicans living in the United States.
An investigation is currently underway to clarify the causes of the kidnapping of the four young men by armed civilians last Friday after crossing the border into Matamoros, in the state of Tamaulipas, and the subsequent murder of two of them. At the moment, there is one person detained in relation to the case, and on Thursday, the Gulf Cartel handed over five men allegedly responsible for the kidnapping, along with an apology note for what happened. The hostages could have entered Mexico in connection with drug trafficking activities.
This controversy comes just a few days after the Mexican president lashed out at the United States for statements by the State Department in reference to the electoral reforms of the AMLO government and the protests that this generated. The State Department spokesman, Ned Price, later rectified and recognized Mexico as a "partner that is at the same level," that enjoys "a vibrant democracy" and that makes decisions in a sovereign manner.
Overall, the tensions between Mexico and the United States highlight the complex issues of drug trafficking and border control that both countries face. The proposed involvement of US Armed Forces in Mexico's territory has sparked concerns about sovereignty and respect for each country's independence.