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Mexican president chastises calls for US military action against cartels as ‘offence’


MEXICO CITY — Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador on Thursday rejected calls from some U.S. lawmakers for military action in Mexico against drug cartels, describing the proposals as threats to Mexican sovereignty.

“We are not going to allow any foreign government to intervene in our territory, much less the armed forces of a government to intervene,” Lopez Obrador said at a regular press conference.

The kidnapping of four Americans – two of whom were killed – in a northern border state has intensified calls from Republican lawmakers in Washington to take a tougher line against organized crime.

Texas Republican Dan Crenshaw posted a Spanish-language message on Twitter on Wednesday asking López Obrador why he opposes a proposal the congressman introduced in January authorizing military force to target drug cartels in Mexico.

“Besides being irresponsible, it’s an offense to the Mexican people,” López Obrador said at the press conference, adding that Mexico “doesn’t take orders from anyone.”

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said in a Fox News interview on Monday that it was time to “put Mexico on notice” and urged the introduction of legislation classifying some Mexican drug cartels as “foreign terrorist groups.” .

The deadly kidnappings and backlash could complicate delicate efforts to foster closer U.S.-Mexico collaboration on immigration and drug trafficking, particularly ultra-lethal fentanyl.

López Obrador said he would launch a public information campaign aimed at Mexicans in the United States on the Republican-led proposal.

If Republican lawmakers try “to use Mexico for propagandistic, electoral and political purposes, we will call not to vote for this party”, said López Obrador.

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.