Published: Thu, November 28, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

United States to list Mexican drug cartels as terrorists

United States to list Mexican drug cartels as terrorists

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has rejected "interventionism" after US President Donald Trump announced a plan to officially designate Latin American drug cartels "terrorist organisations".

Mexico's Senate president, Ricardo Monreal, a member of the president's party, said via Twitter on Tuesday night that the designation would allow the USA government "to use legal and institutional means that would permit it to act unilaterally in our territory with the justification of pursuing those groups".

"Look, we're losing 100,000 people a year to what's happening and what's coming through on Mexico", Trump said, speaking of American lives. I will be designating the cartels. "You know, designation is not that easy, you have to go through a process, and we are well into that process", Trump said in an interview with conservative media personality Bill O'Reilly that was posted to his website Tuesday.

"Earlier this month, Mr Trump, in a tweet, offered to help Mexico:wage WAR on the drug cartels and wipe them off the face of the earth".

The US State Department includes dozens of organisations on its list of terrorist groups.

It must be a foreign organization.

Mexico's Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard responded to Trump's statements Tuesday, saying that the country "will never allow any actions that signifies a violation of its national sovereignty". That might mean sanctions and freezing US assets of certain cartel-connected businessman and government officials in Mexico, but it could also mean something more robust.

The foreign minister noted Monday that a terrorist designation carries legal implications and that American law would then allow the USA government to act "in a direct way" against those groups. -Mexican nationality were killed in the ambush in northern Mexico.

"I don't think the United States will pursue this path because we're working together, and I don't think they would want to open up the possibility of Mexico invoking the same legal principles", Ebrard told reporters.

Mr Alex LeBaron, a former Mexican congressman and relative of some of the victims, rejected the idea on Twitter of a USA "invasion". Although the question still stands, if this was a coordinated attack or just a case of mistaken identify, the Mexican government suggested that the cartel may have believed the SUV's were a rival gang.

In Washington, Republican lawmakers already mulled legislation to designate cartels as terrorist organizations or use other laws, like Global Magnitsky Act, that might put pressure on Mexican government to change its policy. "We demand real coordination between both countries ... both countries are responsible for the rising trade in drugs, weapons and money".

O'Reilly asked the president if the pending terror designation means that the USA could take a more dramatic approach to combat the drug trade by, for example, employing drone attacks. Chip Roy (R-Texas) and Mark Green (R-Tenn.) have introduced legislation that would designate cartels as terrorists.

Trump said Lopez Obrador, who he considered "a good man", had declined his previous offers to "let us go in and clean it out".

"Our problems will be solved by Mexicans. It caused more violence".

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