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Ebrard says that Blinken acted under pressure by affirming that there are areas of Mexico controlled by drug cartels

(CNN Spanish) –– Federal authorities and a security expert in Mexico reacted cautiously to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s remarks that Mexican drug cartels are in control of parts of the Latin American country, made during his appearance this Wednesday before a subcommittee of the United States Senate Appropriations Committee.

His Mexican counterpart, the Secretary of Foreign Relations Marcelo Ebrard, justified Blinken by pointing out that he was “very pressured” by the Republican Senator for South Carolina Lindsey Graham, in a hearing in which the Secretary of State also said that President Joe Biden would be considering including Mexican drug cartels on the list of international terrorist organizations.

Graham asked Blinken if drug cartels control places in Mexico rather than the Mexican government.

“I see him, I saw him in a hearing, under great pressure, but he said ‘Mexico is doing a lot’, I just saw him just now. And that is not politicking, what he is doing is appearing,” Ebrard said.

Blinken’s statements come as the governments of Mexico and the United States try to coordinate in the fight against fentanyl trafficking and arms smuggling.

Officials from both countries will meet in Washington in April to discuss bilateral cooperation in combating both issues, Foreign Minister Ebrard added.

Armando Rodríguez Luna, director of the Security and Intelligence Division Projects of Strategic Affairs —a security consultancy—, agreed with the Mexican foreign minister that Blinken “was practically forced” to accept that the Mexican drug cartels control part of the country’s territory .

“This statement is actually given in the context of a very heated hearing. It seems to me that Secretary Blinken has been under a lot of pressure, particularly from Lindsey Graham, the senator who has been very radical and reactionary both to his analyzes and his diagnosis of the insecurity conditions in Mexico,” he added.

Salazar: The US will respect Mexico’s sovereignty in the fight against crime 3:40

The security analyst also said that in order to place the statements of the Secretary of State in their proper dimension, it is necessary to take into account that the relationship between Mexico and the United States is extremely complex, that it is made up of various edges, with political groups of positions divergent and in the middle of a US electoral process.

Along these lines, he said that there is a group of Republicans, both in the House of Representatives and in the Senate, who have hardened their positions by assuring that Mexico is incapable of facing insecurity and violence while criminal groups take over the country, which that represents a threat to safety and health, while the Mexican authorities are reluctant to collaborate with the United States.

“There are these three great elements that have justified a narrative on the part of the Republican representatives and this also occurs in a context of political beating against the Democratic Party in both chambers, and also against the Biden administration because they consider that he is a president who It has been very weak in its relationship with Mexico and particularly with López Obrador,” he explained.

Rodríguez added that it is necessary to ponder the Republican discourse since “it is true that in Mexico there is broad participation of criminal groups in the governance of many territories in conjunction with municipal, state and federal authorities,” but warned that even the US. has recognized that Mexico is making efforts to combat this situation.

Senator Kenia López Rabadán, from the opposition National Action Party (PAN), agrees with those who point out that drug cartels in Mexico have taken control of part of the Mexican territory.

“There are municipalities where organized crime sets the price of products, organized crime decides who can trade, who can sell, who can go to school or work, it is something terrible for young people in Mexico because, clearly, if they don’t You are part of organized crime, there is no rule of law that protects you and that allows you to make a decision that is different from the one that even the cartels, the criminals are forcing you to make,” López said.

He added that the Mexican authorities do not want to accept that brutal crime is hurting Mexicans and that, as long as it is not recognized, it cannot be corrected.

“Unfortunately, what is being experienced in Mexico is a tragedy, the brutal insecurity that the country is going through is something that cannot be stopped, it is evident that there is a social and public demand because there are no conditions to be able to transit, to live in a safe in Mexico,” he concluded.

During his morning press conference on Wednesday, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador assured that the crime rate in the country is decreasing.

“This is very good because, if there is peace, if there is tranquility, if there is no violence, you live without fear, you live in freedom. And we are advancing, we are asserting our strategy of taking care of the houses, at the same time not allowing corruption, impunity, separating crime from authority”, assured the president.

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