By Héctor Ramírez Cuéllar
March 10, 2023
A proposal is under consideration in the United States House of Representatives, made by Republican Dan Crenshaw (R- Texas), for the US government to declare the drug cartels operating in Mexico to be terrorists and consequently to mobilize US troops to fight them and pursue them, since the cartels would be seriously threatening the national security of the United States. The request is before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, but has not yet been discussed and certainly has not been sent to the Senate for discussion and approval. To become law also requires that it be accepted by President Joe Biden, who has remained silent on this issue until now.
The main argument outlined in the Crenshaw proposal is the large amount of fentanyl that has arrived in the United States in recent months and which has caused more than 100,000 deaths, especially among young people. This new drug is manufactured in China, its chemical base is sent in large quantities to the Mexican state of Guerrero, where it is processed and then channeled for distribution to the neighboring country, which is experiencing a real health crisis, since fentanyl is an extremely toxic product, very cheap and therefore accessible to a large extent among the population.
An event that has also caused a great political commotion is the kidnapping of four U.S. citizens, two of whom were found murdered in a safe house in Matamoros. This provoked an intense mobilization of several U.S. government agencies who have declared that relations with Mexico are going through a very delicate moment that requires the active participation of both parties to face this great challenge. On the other hand, the increase in the consumption of fentanyl among young people had already been denounced in recent months by high-ranking U.S. officials who have demanded that the government of Mexico pay greater attention to these drug transfers, which are of great concern to President Biden who is under too much pressure from the most right-wing and ultra-conservative Republicans, at a time when a new electoral period is being prepared in that nation.
If Crenshaw’s proposal were to be approved and follow the legal course that such initiatives have, and Biden finally makes it his own, taking into account the experiences, such as those of Iran and Afghanistan, the government of the United States would send troops into national territory to attack the drug cartels, which would imply a very serious violation of our national sovereignty and bilateral relations would enter a very complicated situation, since we would be facing a true invasion of a foreign country. Most analysts do not share this perspective and have affirmed that in any case the Biden administration would send spy planes, launch drones, eventually intercept the communications of the cartel bosses, without direct air attacks against their meeting places, facilities or areas of operations.
However, according to State Department reports, drug cartels control 25% of the national territory, practically all the states of the Pacific Ocean coast and of course the entire state of Tamaulipas, the main scenario of the latest events, neighboring the state of Texas, where Governor Abbott has demanded on several occasions that the armed forces be used, since Mexican authorities are incapable of successfully combating drug traffickers.
The Biden administration would have to make a very rigorous assessment in this regard, since in the last two invasions in which the United States participated, Iran and Afghanistan, there was a very long resistance on the part of the peoples of those countries and finally, after having spent many millions of dollars, the Yankee troops lost the battle. The latest experience, that of Ukraine, indicates that the U.S. government does not wish, nor does it want, nor does it suit it, to participate directly in a new war adventure, but in any case it wishes to do so through a third country or else to employ the modern methods of so-called hybrid warfare.
In the last few days, many senior officials of the Biden administration have arrived in Mexico City and Ambassador Ken Salazar has been very active, but trade negotiations are also underway, all of which indicates that bilateral relations are fraught with complex and difficult issues .
Democratic and progressive forces should assume greater political vigilance, also taking into account that important electoral processes are underway in both Mexico and the United States. Drug cartels are permanently active in at least 17 states, murders, disappearances and collective crimes occur daily in different areas of our country and the inflation rate continues to increase, since the measures taken by the Bank of Mexico have failed.