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theodore M I R A L D I mpa ... editor, publisher, writer. katherine molé mfa ... art director
Wednesday, November 27, 2019
Trump Plans To Designate Mexican Cartels As TERROR Groups
Donald Trump. AFP via Getty Images Yaron Steinbuch
President Trump said in an interview that he planned to designate Mexican drug cartels as terror groups – drawing a warning from the country’s foreign minister.
Former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly asked the president in a radio interview that aired Tuesday on his personal website whether he would designate the cartels as terrorist organizations and “start hitting them with drones.”
“I don’t want to say what I’m going to do, but they will be designated,” Trump replied.
“I will be designating the cartels… absolutely. I have been working on that for the last 90 days,” he added. “Designation is not that easy, you have to go through a process and we are well into that process.”
Under US law, a violent foreign group or person who threatens American security can be designated as terrorist in nature and be subject to sanctions, according to The Washington Post.
Any institution or government official dealing with a designated terrorist comes under intense scrutiny and potential punishment.
Trump’s move comes after he called for a “war” on the cartels in early November, when nine women and children from a Mormon community in northern Mexico were killed in a hail of gunfire. The victims were dual US-Mexican citizens.
Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard reacted to Trump’s announcement in a tweet.
“Mexico will never accept any action that violates our national sovereignty,” Ebrard wrote. “We will act firmly. I have sent our position to the U.S. as well as our resolution on combating transnational organized crime.”
The Foreign Ministry said Ebrard would contact Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to arrange an urgent meeting to discuss “this theme of high relevance for the bilateral agenda.”
Mexico also will seek talks to “make progress with reducing the flow of arms and money from the United States to organized crime in Mexico, in addition to precursor chemicals and drug precursors that cross Mexican territory en route to the United States,” the ministry said in a statement.
The case of the slain Mormons has cast a spotlight on drug cartel-fueled violence in Mexico and leftist President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s struggles to address the problem.
The victims — including twin 8-month-olds — were killed as they drove between the states of Sonora and Chihuahua, in northern Mexico, a lawless region disputed by warring drug cartels.
Mexican officials said a drug cartel called La Linea (The Line) may have mistaken the victims for members of a rival gang, though relatives believe the families were deliberately targeted.
In the interview, Trump noted that he had already suggested sending the US military to help Mexico tackle organized crime, but was turned down by the country’s leader.
“I’ve actually offered him to let us go in and clean it out and he so far has rejected the offer. But at some point, [something] has to be done,” Trump said, citing the damage done by drugs to American addicts and their families.
Arturo Sarukhan, a former Mexican ambassador to the US, told The Washington Post that the US could limit cooperation with a country that is home to designated terrorist groups, reducing imports or refusing to approve loans for that nation.
Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama had considered designating Mexican drug lords or cartels as terrorists, he told the paper.
“When they realized the economic and trade implications it would have on US-Mexican ties, they backed down,” he said.