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24 Mar, 2024 12:31

President doubles down on ‘Mexico first’ policy

“We are not going to act as policemen for any foreign government,” President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said, referring to the US fight against the drug trade
President doubles down on ‘Mexico first’ policy

Mexico will put its security interests first and won’t fight drug cartels just because the US wants it to, the country's president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, said on Friday. While admitting that tens of thousands of people are dying due to drug overdoses in the neighboring country, Obrador insisted that Mexicans will not “act as policemen for any foreign government.”

According to official US data, last year some 70,000 Americans overdosed on the synthetic opioid fentanyl. Washington has named Mexico and China as the primary source countries for the drug and related substances trafficked directly into the US.

“Of course we are going to cooperate in fighting drugs, above all because it has become a very sensitive, very sad humanitarian issue, because a lot of young people are dying in the United States because of fentanyl,” Lopez Obrador told media during a press conference. He noted that any undertaking would be a humanitarian effort, highlighting the priority of the security of the homeland. “Mexico First. Our home comes first,” the president said.

Last year, Lopez Obrador revealed that he considers the overdose crisis to be an internal US problem. “We deeply lament what’s happening in the United States – but why don’t they fight the problem ... and more importantly, why don’t they take care of their youth?”, he asked rhetorically.

US law enforcement officials, for their part, have on numerous occasions blamed Mexican officials for their apparent refusal to cooperate on efforts to target fentanyl labs inside Mexico.

At the same time, critics have blamed the rise in drug smuggling and human trafficking in the US on the Biden administration. Illegal border crossings have surged since Biden took office in January 2021 and began dismantling the policies of his predecessor Donald Trump.