On Thursday, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador appeared to threaten election interference in response to U.S. calls for action against cartels smuggling fentanyl across the border, saying he would launch a “information campaign” in the U.S. telling Mexicans and Hispanics not to vote for Republicans.
“Starting today we are going to start an information campaign for Mexicans living and working in the United States and for all Hispanics to inform them of what we are doing in Mexico and how this initiative by the Republicans, in addition to being irresponsible, is an offense against the people of Mexico, a lack of respect for our independence, our sovereignty,” he said.
Lopez Obrador said that Mexico would demand that “not one vote” goes to Republicans from Mexicans and Hispanics if the United States did not change its “interventionist, inhumane, hypocritical, and corrupt” policies.
López Obrador made the statement in response to Republican senators’ demands for action, even military action, to stop the flow of fentanyl into the United States.
On Wednesday, Republican South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham demanded that the U.S.’s “fury and might” be used against Mexico’s drug gangs. Graham threatened that the “fury and might of the United States” will be used to combat the cartels. Since “our national security and the security of the United States as a whole depend on our taking decisive action,” we plan to “destroy their business model and their lifestyle.”
According to Graham, he plans to present legislation that would label Mexican drug cartels as FTOs, allowing the United States to send in the military to wipe out the drug networks there. He clarified that the goal was not to invade Mexico or shoot down Mexican aircraft but rather to shut down drug factories that were poisoning Americans. Graham disregarded fears that this would strain relations with Mexico.
Saying, “We’d like to help you, but we’re not going to sit on the sidelines anymore as a nation and watch our neighbor become a narco-state that kills more Americans in a single year than we lost in Vietnam,” Obama emphasized that the United States would no longer be passive.
Similarly, Republican Texas Representative Dan Crenshaw had previously expressed support for military intervention after the recent murders of two Americans at the hands of drug gangs. After years of negotiations, he declared, “time we sanction military force” to take on the cartels.
“It would mean the world to us if you decided to join us as a collaborator. Get up, get aid, “In other words, he used Twitter.
In his comments on Thursday, Lopez Obrador also tried to shift blame for the fentanyl crisis in the United States by saying that Mexico does not produce the drug. “We don’t make fentanyl here, and there’s no fentanyl use,” he claimed. To paraphrase: “Why don’t they [the United States] fix their societal decay?”
In spite of López Obrador’s statements, the vast bulk of fentanyl is manufactured in Mexico from Chinese precursors and then smuggled across the U.S. land border. Fentanyl is 50-100 times more toxic than morphine and can be lethal in small doses. In the past, the Mexican government has admitted this, and it has led to several high-profile seizures of fentanyl from drug labs within Mexican territory.
During the month of December, the DEA said that “much of the fentanyl trafficked by the Sinaloa and CJNG Cartels is being mass synthesized at secret factories in Mexico with chemicals sourced largely from China.”
Republicans aren’t the only ones who have been critical of Mexico recently. Last week, Attorney General Merrick Garland warned senators that Mexican drug cartels are “unleashing on purpose” the fentanyl epidemic.