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Mexican president rejects US military intervention to fight cartels

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador speaks during a news conference at the National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico March 7, 2023. (Photo by Reuters)

Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has dismissed calls from certain US lawmakers advocating military action against drug cartels in the Latin American country.   

The president said on Thursday the proposal was a threat to Mexican sovereignty. "We are not going to permit any foreign government to intervene in our territory, much less that a government's armed forces intervene."

"In addition to being irresponsible, it is an offense to the people of Mexico," Lopez Obrador said. Mexico "does not take orders from anyone," he said.

The kidnapping of four Americans — two of whom were killed — in a northern border state intensified calls from Republican lawmakers in Washington to take a tougher line on organized crime.

On Wednesday, Texas Republican Dan Crenshaw released a message in Spanish to Lopez Obrador on Twitter, asking the Mexican leader why he rejected his proposal for the US military to take action against drug cartels in Mexico.

In an interview with Fox News on Monday, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said it was time to "put Mexico on notice" and advocated introducing legislation to classify some Mexican drug cartels as "foreign terrorist groups."

The Mexican president says a suspect has been arrested over the kidnapping of four Americans.  

The Americans were taken from the northern city of Matamoros on Friday, sparking a massive search effort. The group was caught in a gun battle shortly after crossing the border and subsequently kidnapped. A Mexican woman was also hit in the crossfire that day and died.

Lopez Obrador earlier said the people responsible would be punished. He pointed to arrests in the 2019 killings of nine US-Mexican dual citizens in Sonora near the US border.

The Mexican president complained about the US media’s coverage of the missing Americans, accusing them of sensationalism. He said when Mexicans are killed, the media “go quiet like mummies.”

“We really regret that this happens in our country,” he said. The US government has every right to be upset by the violence, he said.

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