Mexico and the U.S. ally to fight fentanyl trafficking
A recent meeting between AMLO and the White House Security Adviser Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall ended with an agreement to work together.
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The beginning of a recent meeting between Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and White House Security Advisor Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall began tense, but the dialog progressed cordially and commitments were established to continue working together against the flow of fentanyl into the U.S. House Republicans had previously advocated for U.S. military intervention in Mexico to curb the flow.
“[This] concludes [a] cordial meeting with Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, adviser to President Biden for Homeland Security and her delegation. The President appointed Rosa Icela Rodríguez, Secretary of Security, as her counterpart. In April there will be a meeting in Washington of both national teams,” wrote Marcelo Ebrard, Foreign Minister of Mexico, on Twitter.
The fentanyl threat
Sherwood-Randall's visit was focused on addressing trafficking in fentanyl, a synthetic opioid made in Mexico and the U.S. with chemicals from China that has caused hundreds of thousands of overdose deaths since its introduction a few years ago into the narcotics black market.
To reduce its manufacture and trafficking, the U.S. and Mexico agreed to initiate the first binational campaign in history to inform young people and their families about the dangers of fentanyl.
In addition to being satisfied with the outcome of the meeting, which also addressed the issue of arms trafficking from the U.S. to Mexico, López Obrador also announced the holding of a new meeting focused on fentanyl in Washington, and the appointment of Secretary of Security and Citizen Protection Rosa Icela Rodríguez, who will be Sherwood-Randall's Mexican counterpart.
Muy buena reunión con Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, asesora de Seguridad Nacional de la Casa Blanca.— Andrés Manuel (@lopezobrador_) March 9, 2023
Hablamos de fentanilo, del tráfico de armas y de la decisión del presidente Joe Biden de respetar nuestra soberanía. pic.twitter.com/Gccf7d1cwk
EFE reported that fentanyl was one of the major topics of the North American Leaders Summit held in January in Mexico City and brought together López Obrador, Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. It also noted that the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has said that there is "a wave of fentanyl and methamphetamine being pushed from Mexico to the United States."
Ebrard stressed that his government has led the seizure of more than six tons of fentanyl, which demonstrates his country's commitment to the fight, while stressing the need to raise awareness among the population about the dangers of its consumption.
“All the fentanyl seizures that were made in Mexico, if they hadn't been made, those pills would have caused, I'm not saying hundreds, thousands of deaths in the United States,” said Ebrard.
Although the foreign minister highlighted that the meeting was held in a cordial atmosphere and without any complaints, the controversy generated by the recent kidnapping of four Americans in the border city of Matamoros, Tamaulipas, marked the meeting. All four were eventually found, but two were dead. The Gulf Cartel has since publicly apologized for the incident and turned in the men responsible.
Ebrard assured that the U.S. authorities recognized that Mexico worked "effectively and quickly" to locate the four U.S. citizens and denied that López Obrador's reaction to the proposals of the Republican officials, who described them as irresponsible and an offense, has created tensions between both governments.
“They are raising something that they know in advance is not feasible, and they are raising it because that is their electoral campaign and they believe that attacking Mexico and blaming it for those things, where Mexico is not only not to blame for, but an actor that offers support,” added Ebrard.