The Mexican ambassador to the United States responded to Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley’s call to sanction Mexico for the recent escalation of violence from the nation’s ruling drug cartels by blaming the American public’s demand for black-market drugs.
“My government categorically rejects your recent mischaracterization on Mexico not actively combating transnational organized crime and suggesting to impose sanctions on Mexican officials,” Ambassador Martha Barcena wrote to Hawley, adding in a handwritten note at the end of the letter that she hopes to address the matter with the senator personally to discuss how to “reduce drug demand in the U.S.”
In response to my call for sanctions, yesterday the Mexican Ambassador responded w/ letter taking zero responsibility, offering no change in Mexico’s failed policies, & suggesting real problem is Americans’ “drug demand.” As if Americans are responsible for the cartels’ crimes pic.twitter.com/zo0jl7u2kG
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) November 7, 2019
The letter from the Mexican government insinuating American demand for illicit substances is a key driver for cartel violence comes a day after Hawley called on Congress to impose sanctions on Mexico following an ambush that killed nine Americans on Monday.
“With Mexico, enough is enough,” Hawley declared. “US government should impose sanctions on Mexican officials, including freezing assets, who won’t confront cartels. Cartels are flooding MO w/ meth, trafficking children, & openly slaughtering American citizens. And Mexico looks the other way.”
Earlier this week, an ambush launched by a Mexican drug cartel killed six children and three women with ties to Utah living in the La Mora Mormon community in the Sonora state located in northern Mexico. According to reports, several victims burned to death, including a pair of infant twins, when one of the cars exploded at the scene.
The incident, which captured international attention, shined a spotlight on Mexico’s growing security problem as drug cartels have launched an insurgency in the failing state.
President Donald Trump derided Mexico for its failure to contain the violence in its own country that led to the deaths of nine Americans.
“This is the time for Mexico, with the help of the United States, to wage WAR on the drug cartels and wipe them off the face of the earth,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
This is the time for Mexico, with the help of the United States, to wage WAR on the drug cartels and wipe them off the face of the earth. We merely await a call from your great new president!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 5, 2019
Democratic Rep. Ben McAdams of Utah, one of six Mormons in the House of Representatives, joined Hawley in challenging Congress to consider sanctions on the Mexican government.
“The unspeakable violence against U.S. women and children this week in the border region of Mexico shocks the conscience and demands action. These criminals place no value on human life and cannot be tolerated by the U.S. or Mexican governments,” McAdams told The Federalist. “I call on Congress to join me in considering a range of ideas, including imposing sanctions on Mexican officials who won’t confront the cartels, and declaring Mexican drug cartels as terrorist organizations.”
Yet Republican Rep. Chris Stewart, another Mormon representative from Utah, rejected the idea that sanctions are the way to go.
“Following these horrific attacks, I believe the U.S. must partner with the Mexican government, not sanction them,” Stewart told The Federalist. “Sanctioning Mexico will cripple our neighbor and reduce the incentive for mutual cooperation in delivering justice to the cartels who carried out this heinous attack.”
Meanwhile, Democratic presidential candidates have ignored the escalating cartel violence entirely on the campaign trail, instead remaining focused on Trump’s partisan impeachment while the crisis of violence in Mexico begins to claim American lives.
Mexico has been losing the war with drug cartels as the epidemic of terrorism across the Rio Grande continues to grow. Just last month, a drug cartel defeated the Mexican military in a battle showcasing insurgent strength and the government’s incompetence in maintaining order.
The Federalist’s political editor John Davidson has written extensively on the violence taking place in Mexico. In reporting on last month’s embarrassing defeat for the Mexican military, Davidson described the horrific reality facing the nation on the southern border:
What’s happening in Mexico right now is more like an insurgency. Yes, drug-trafficking is one of the things the cartels do, but it doesn’t nearly describe what they are or what role they’re playing in the disintegration of civil society in Mexico. Indeed, over the past decade cartels have diversified their economic activities to include everything from oil and gas production to industrial agriculture to offshore commercial fishing.
Counter to the Mexican ambassador’s claims, Mexico faces a larger problem than simply Americans buying drugs being funneled by the cartels on the black market. Instead, the Mexican government is faced with a chaotic insurgency wreaking havoc across the nation.
“It’s fair to say that Mexico is now on a trajectory to become a vast gangland governed more by warlordism than by the state,” Davidson wrote.