Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, during a press conference on March 20 in Washington.KEVIN DIETSCH (Getty Images via AFP)
Drug cartels control parts of Mexico.
This was considered by the Secretary of State of the United States, Antony Blinken, in a hearing before a US Senate committee this Wednesday, where he also pointed out that citizens are the main victims of insecurity in that country.
Blinken's remarks come at a time when US-Mexico relations have seen tensions rise, after two US citizens were killed and another wounded in Matamoros, in northern Mexico, earlier this month.
Representatives of the most radical wing of the Republican Party demand that the cartels be classified as terrorist groups to justify US military actions in the territory of their neighboring country, an idea that the Biden Administration has categorically ruled out and that has caused the ire of the Government of the President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
In his appearance this Wednesday before the Senate Appropriations committee, Blinken was asked by Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham if the cartels, and not the Mexican government, have control of parts of Mexico.
"I think it's fair to say yes," replied the Secretary of State.
Once again questioned by Graham about the effectiveness of anti-cartel policies, the head of US diplomacy considered that it is necessary to "do more" to combat this violence.
Blinken also noted that Mexico has intercepted "record amounts" of fentanyl, an opioid whose use has caused the death of 110,236 people in the United States last year;
With the collaboration of the United States, it has dismantled laboratories for the manufacture of this synthetic substance, and in the last year it has arrested "dozens of leaders of criminal organizations."
The two countries, according to the Secretary of State, collaborate "very closely" to combat drug trafficking.
“We have done different things to focus intensely on this issue with Mexico.
We are working very closely together,” he added.
One of the points in which the United States can collaborate with Mexico to combat drug trafficking, Blinken considered, is to quickly equip border posts with the most modern technology to detect the presence of this substance.
As he recalled, 96% of the volume that enters the US from its neighboring country does so through official border posts.
The head of US diplomacy also wanted to point out that fentanyl is a problem that "is on the rise" in Mexico and is leaving more and more victims in that nation.
The Secretary of State also remarked that designating drug cartels as terrorist organizations would not provide the US government with "new tools" to combat this scourge.
Lindsay Graham, the senator who was questioning him about Mexico, is one of the supporters of adopting this measure.
At the White House, President Joe Biden's spokeswoman, Karine Jean-Pierre, ruled out the idea again this Wednesday at her daily press conference.
“Designating those cartels as (terrorist organizations) would not provide us with any additional authority,” she stressed.
Treasury Department economic sanctions are a more appropriate route, she opined: “drug traffickers cannot use your family or friends like this to hide their assets beyond the reach of the US government,” she added.
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