Mexico City. Donald Trump's intention to designate the Mexican drug cartels as "terrorist organizations" has sparked intense debate in Mexico over whether the actions of these bloodthirsty groups constitute terrorism.
However, Mexicans agree mostly on one thing: they do not want Trump's help, because they believe it would be an attempt against Mexico's sovereignty.
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In addition, analysts say such a rating would have little impact.
The powerful Mexican cartels have certainly sown terror in recent years, either by throwing grenades at a crowded crowd, hanging dismembered corpses of bridges, besieging a city or (the incident that caught the attention of the US president) massacring nine women and children Mexican-American Mormons.
But experts agree that there is a key difference between groups such as the Sinaloa or Jalisco Nueva Generación cartels and the groups designated as Foreign Terrorist Organizations by Washington.
While Al Qaeda, the Islamic State, ETA, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the rest of the 68 blacklisted groups have political or religious goals, the main goal of the cartels is to earn money.
"The Mexican cartels are not comparable, for example, to the FARC, which probably had links to drug trafficking but were not exclusively organized crime organizations," said Mexican academic and former foreign minister Jorge Castañeda.
"It is the first and only time this has been done, and the reason is that they are not easily comparable … There is no political component on the part of these organizations."
Areas of influence of the different drug c artels in Mexico. (AFP) – “They are terrorists!” –
The issue dates back to November 4, when alleged members of the La Linea cartel riddled three vans in northern Mexico.
Inside there were 17 members of three Mormon families. The hitmen killed three women and six children, including two eight-month-old twin babies, and burned one of the vehicles with the occupants still inside.
Prominent members of one of the families, the LeBarón, sent a petition to the White House asking Trump to designate Mexican cartels as terrorist groups.
"Their rampant acts of violence and murders have exceeded our borders and created an international crisis," they wrote.
"They are terrorists, and it's time to recognize it!" They demanded.
That triggered an angry debate in Mexico.
In social networks, the hashtags #vendepatrias and #LeBaronFueraDeMexico were viralized.
But other Mexicans added to the idea that narcoviolence is a form of terrorism.
“That is what they try to provoke in the population: terror. Leaving dismembered bodies and putting narcomantas cause terror in the population, ”said the governor of Guanajuato, Diego Sinhue Rodríguez, an opponent of the leftist president Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO).
General view of the community of LeBaron, in the municipality of Galeana, in the state of Chihuahua (Mexico). (Photo: EFE) – Minimum impact –
However, there was a strong rejection in Mexico of the measure proposed by Trump, as well as his statements on Twitter that the United States was willing to help "declare WAR on drug cartels and erase them from the face of the Earth." .
Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard replied that "Mexico will never admit any action that means violation of its national sovereignty."
According to experts, Trump's controversial plan would be, above all, a new and effective club with which to force Mexico to act according to its interests, just when it faces an eventual political trial in Washington and its campaign for re-election.
For Castañeda, the announcement seeks "evidently" to force the AMLO administration to assume a more aggressive stance against drug trafficking, contrary to its promise to pacify the country and end the so-called "war on drugs."
Carlos Rodríguez Ulloa, an academic at the CASEDE security research center, sees in Trump's announcement a maneuver to "maintain his anti-Mexican electoral narrative, feed his social base and distract a little attention from the impeachment in which he is involved."
As for the scope of the eventual declaration, Castañeda does not see “on the ground” major changes in the situation and the actions that Washington already executes against Mexican drug traffickers.
The US government and banks have been closely following the finances of the cartels and their alleged collaborators for years, blacklisting numerous Mexican citizens, freezing accounts or canceling visas.
“There are DEA agents here all the time, there are people in the Mexican Navy constantly accompanying the sailors to their operations … American planes … have been flying over Mexican territory for over 25 years … that is, everything This is already happening, ”he said.
“If the United States tells Mexico, I want to send a drone tomorrow (…) because Mexico will say yes, go ahead. There is no need to do it as an invasion. ”