Here at Law Enforcement Today, we’ve reported previously on the slew of issues plaguing the country of Mexico.
From police officers being assassinated in broad daylight for trying to take down drug kingpins, to seeing all out war break out into the street between the country’s military and drug running thugs, all the way to military bases having severed body parts delivered in bags to their entry ports.
Overall, if we had that going on in our country, we’d likely call it terrorism, and that is what Trump is considering labeling the cartel as. If you think people were offended, you’d be correct.
Mexico City announced efforts to have a “meeting” with U.S. officials after President Donald Trump’s recent announcement to designate some cartels as Foreign Terrorist Organizations. In a drafted statement issued by Mexico’s Foreign Relations Ministry, officials reached out to their U.S. counterparts to explore the consequences that terrorist designations would entail.
Mexico’s Foreign Relations Ministry recent statement said the following:
“In lieu of the good relations that exist between both countries, the Government of Mexico will seek to have a high-level meeting as soon as possible to present Mexico’s position and to learn the viewpoints of the authorities from the U.S.”
The call for a meeting didn’t take long after an interview that happened between Bill O’Reilly and the President where Trump had dug into how he plans on labeling certain organizations within Mexico that have had a demonstrated history of terror, mentioning that he had been working for the last 90 days on designations.
Mexico’s Foreign Relations Ministry said they seek to discuss about methods to reduce the southern flow of weapons and money, while cutting the northbound traffic of drugs and chemicals that have been affecting the United States.
The latest statement stands at ends with the recent remarks given by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, where he preempted the matter Monday by saying Mexico would reject terrorist designations given by foreign nations.
“We will never accept that, we are not ‘vendepatrias’ (nation sellers),” Lopez Obrador said.
The question that could be reasonably posed toward President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is why he would feel like someone selling out a nation or his people by acknowledging the truth, that the cartels are in fact terrorists within the country of Mexico.
Believe it or not, it’s more that just certain Mexico political figures that are offended that their worst of the worst are possibly going to be called terrorists: we literally have people here in the United States that are offended by the notion as well.
Take for instance article titles like “A terrible idea”: Experts blast Trump’s plan to label Mexican drug cartels “terrorists”.
People are actually upset about it because that label would make it illegal for anyone in the US to knowingly provide support to the drug cartels. It would also allow the U.S. government to prosecute anyone who funds them, deport their members from America, and not any affiliate from entering the US. Call me crazy, but those all sound like some really good things.
Some others are offended about the idea of the cartels being called terrorists because it could prompt military intervention from the United States. However, Mexico has already shown that they can’t get the problem under control themselves and the cartel violence inevitably spills over into U.S. soil along with their community-wrecking narcotics.
Perhaps military intervention would make for a rather quick resolution and could possibly restore Mexico to a highly sought-after vacation destination throughout the country, rather than one state here and there.
Whatever one may feel about the possible designation of cartels being called terrorists is honestly irrelevant, because they manner in which they operate today is synonymous with most any other terrorist organization.
The cartels display corpses of enemies in public, they’ve made execution videos of police officers and their families, and they seek to gain more power through fear. They are simply terrorists.
Earlier this month, five more Mexico police officers were killed after being in the southern state of Oaxaca… and two more are fighting for their lives after receiving serious gunshot wounds during the attack.
What’s it going to take to stop the attacks on law enforcement? According to Mexico’s president, “hugs, not bullets”.
The attack happened when a group of unknown gunmen attacked the squad of officers as they carried out a series of enforcement patrols in the area.
It’s suspected that the attackers were cartel related.
After the initial attack, the officers called for help, leading to a large-scale deployment of police officers and emergency medical personnel.
Emergency workers rushed the two wounded officers to local hospitals, while investigators brought the bodies of the fallen officers to a local morgue.
There was a video released by the citizen journalist page La Voz del Pueblo over the weekend. It showed state police officers gathering at the morgue to express their sorry.
Así vivieron Policías Estatales la perdidas de sus compañeros que fueron emboscados por un comando armado.
— La Voz Del Pueblo (Oficial) (@LPueblo2) November 9, 2019
Oaxaca state officials went on social media shortly after, condemning the attack and vowing to bring justice to the families of the fallen officers.
The country has been overrun with extreme violence, and just last week Mexico President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador stood defiant against those criticizing his government’s position.
El deceso de nuestros compañeros policías lastima a la SSPO y a toda la sociedad oaxaqueña. A sus deudos y familiares, nuestra solidaridad total.
Al límite de capacidades y valores, nuestros esfuerzos se encaminarán a que la justicia siempre se imponga a la barbarie.
— Sría. Seg. Púb. Oax. (@SSP_GobOax) November 9, 2019
Their policy is quite literally “hugs, not bullets” when fighting drug cartels. Criticism started mounting after nine Americans, including six children, were murdered by sicarios last week.
He said in a media briefing that violence isn’t the solution.
“It was lamentable, painful because children died, but do we want to resolve the problem the same way (as previous administrations)? By declaring war?” he asked. “That, in the case of our country, showed that it does not work. That was a failure. It caused more violence.”
He said love will fix everything.
“We are carrying out a different policy because the policy that was applied during 36 years was a resounding failure and it caused a lot of damage, a lot of sadness, a lot of deaths, a lot of losses for Mexicans,” he added. “We will not continue with the same and we will show that our proposal works, despite it not being easy. We are confident that we will achieve good results.”
He’s refused help from President Trump, who offered for help from the U.S. military in engaging drug cartels…. Leading to the front page of Mexico’s Reforma newspaper calling him out.
They said his government “washed its hands … and rejected help.”
Another paper, El Universal, ran an editorial about the daylight attack between Chihuahua and Sonora. They said it:
“Confirms that the (government’s) security strategy requires an urgent revision to correct the errors or to adopt a new direction.”
It’s time for change, they said.
“Almost nothing has changed in respect to what has happened in the last decades in the country,” it said. “Minatitlan, Coatzacoalcos, Uruapan, Aguililla, Teopchica, Culiacan, Bavispe … all of the places are references to the bloody incidents registered this year.”
Feel good phone calls aren’t enough.
“Conciliatory messages and calls to criminals do not seem to be enough; because of the events, it should be noted that they do not seem to fear the force of the State. Exploring other options sounds obligatory.”
The Mexican president used the catchy phrase “hugs not bullets” – or “abrazos, no balazos” in Spanish – in his promise to clear out violent drug cartels. He said they won’t do it through waging war, but instead changing communities by tackling what he said is at the root of the problem: extreme poverty.
Last week, he made it clear he won’t sway from his position, saying that “violence cannot be confronted with violence.”
“The bad cannot be confronted with the bad. The bad needs to be confronted doing the good,” he added. “We believe that the most important (thing) is life, protecting the lives of everyone; the lives of the military, the lives of the presumed delinquents, and the lives of civilians.”
He blames law enforcement for the problems, pointing out the botched arrest of drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman last month. In that failure, at least eight people died in Culican. It happened while an army antidrug unit captured and then released Ovidio Guzman Lopez, who was wanted by U.S. authorities on drug trafficking.
“If we had acted like they asked, implored us, there would have been more than 200 dead,” he said.
The far left Mexican President’s most visible element of a security strategy was the creation of the National Guard, allegedly created to fill the security void created by corrupt, disbanded or outmatched police forces.
But because of the overwhelming immigration problem, a large portion of the guard is now focused on that, after receiving pressure from the United States.
Edgardo Buscaglia is an expert at Columbia University with more than two decades of experience on anti-organized crime. On Tuesday, he told Fox News organized crime in Mexico has exploded.
He attributes it to Lopez Obrador and previous administrators who have resisted the application of 29 institutional “anti-mafia” mechanisms that more than 60 countries have already adopted.
“No wonder that Mexico suffers high levels of paramilitary violence that in many cases constitute acts of terrorism, such as the latest Sinaloa Cartel’s paramilitary takeover of Sinaloa’s capital (Culiacan),” he said.
In case you missed it, here’s the story from last week that thrust the violence into the international spotlight:
Americans across the country woke up the morning of Tuesday to breaking news that a large family of United States citizens had been massacred by a Mexican drug cartel while traveling through Mexico back to the U.S.
As the investigation into this attack is still fluid, many news outlets have struggled to pinpoint all the actual facts regarding this case, but here’s what we know so far.
According to Fox News, at least six children and three women from a faith-based community of Americans located in Mexico were shot to death on Monday. Additionally, six more children were wounded and one is missing after their group of vehicles came under fire by a convoy of gunmen believed to be affiliated with dangerous Mexican cartels.
It’s also been reported that all of the victims had American-Mexican dual citizenship.
It’s believed that the group was traveling from their compound where they resided in Mexico, back to another compound across the southern border in the United States. The victims were traveling in a group consisting of three large SUV’s and were reportedly on their way to attend a family wedding in the U.S.
Authorities believe that the convoy may have been mistaken by the drug cartels as a group related to a rival drug gang in the area, leading to the horrific attack.
Among the gruesome details: a bloodly slaughter, babies being burned alive and women being raped.
A family member of those that were massacred, Kendra Lee Miller, identified the victims to media outlets as Christina Marie Langford Johnson, 29, Dawna Langford, 43, Trevor Langford, 11, Rogan Langford, 2, Rhonita Maria Miller, 30, Howard Miller, 12, Krystal Miller, 10, and 6-month-old twins Titus and Tiana Miller.
Another relative of the family, Lage Langford Jr. spoke with Fox News about the horrific situation.
“It’s just huge. It’s just absolutely unimaginable. This is the absolute worst nightmare for our entire existence in Mexico…and we never thought it was possible.”
There has been some early debate amongst locals and family members whether the victims were targeted, thought to be a rival drug cartel, or if they were caught in the crossfire between two cartels in the area.
Julian LeBaron a cousin of one of the victims, and an outspoken fundamentalist activist against the cartels in Mexico, spoke with reporters today and explained what transpired.
“It was a massacre,” LeBaron said.
The vehicle the victims were traveling in was set on fire while they were still inside. LeBaron also told global news outlet, AFP, “the attack took place in a ‘war zone’ — home to drug cartels and thugs.”
“[My family] may have been caught in crossfire or targeted by mistake, we don’t know the cause.” He explained. “The Mormon community had recently been the target of threats.”
No further details have been disclosed about what those specific threats may have been and why they were directed at the Mormon community specifically.
However, the AFP reported that it is not the first time the family has been targeted by the cartels.
AFP said in their report that “Julian LeBaron’s sibling, Benjamin, founder of crime-fighting group SOS Chihuahua was killed in 2009 in neighboring Chihuahua after he led protests over the kidnapping of their 16-year-old brother.”
At the time of the kidnapping, “the Mormons refused to pay the ransom and the young LeBaron was ultimately released.”
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Fox also reported that, less than ten years ago, two members of the same fundamentalist family who were outspoken about the cartels were kidnapped and ultimately murdered.
This particular fundamentalist group fled the United States to Mexico in the early 19thcentury because they faced persecution for their religious beliefs and practices, which also included the practice of Polygamy, where the spouse of either sex has the ability to have more than one marital partner at a time. In most cases of polygamy, this is a husband taking on more than one wife.
Kenny LeBaron who is another cousin to some of the victims, and a prominent member of the LeBaron family, who are one of the most well known American Mormon families who have relocated to Mexico.
He stated, “When you know there are babies tied in a car seat that are burning because of some twisted evil that’s in this world, it’s just hard to cope with that.”
As news outlets have been reporting for many years, people are fearful to speak out against the cartels in Mexico for fear of their violent retaliations. Be that citizens, politicians or even local authorities.
However, on Tuesday morning, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich appeared on Fox and explained that he feels “the U.S. has been hiding from reality when it comes to the power of Mexican drug cartels and their chokehold on the Mexican government. The cartels have grown richer, stronger, bigger. They are a direct threat to the Mexican government. Much more than the attention we’ve paid to Syria or Iraq or Afghanistan.”
Gingrich stressed that, “Mexico is a vital American interest. And our desire to make sure the Mexican government defeats the cartels should be enormous! I hope this will be a wake-up call — that we had better find a way to have a partnership with the Mexican government and help them with whatever intelligence training equipment they need to decisively defeat the cartels who are now, frankly, a state within a state.”
Gingrich also deduced in his interview that he believes that like Lebanon, Mexico is unable to gain control over these groups and that since the U.S. borders Mexico, the country has a “huge interest [in Mexico], much bigger than we do in Syria or a lot of the places we pay attention to. Mexico is a much more important part of our future than those countries are.”
President Trump also responded on Twitter to the attacks on his citizens.
“A wonderful family and friends from Utah got caught between two vicious drug cartels, who were shooting at each other, with the result being many great American people killed, including young children, and some missing. If Mexico needs or requests help in cleaning out these monsters, the United States stands ready, willing & able to get involved and do the job quickly and effectively. The great new President of Mexico has made this a big issue, but the cartels have become so large and powerful that you sometimes need an army to defeat an army!”
Unfortunately, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador does not agree with Trump that war is the solution.
In the last three months alone:
9 Americans ambushed and killed in Sonora, Mexico
13 killed in failed operation to capture cartel leader in Sinaloa
14 police officers slain in Michoacan
27 people burned to death in Veracruz bar attack
19 bodies dumped in one day in Michoacan
— Kate Linthicum (@katelinthicum) November 5, 2019
In a Tuesday morning news conference he explained that unlike the administrations before him, he would not turn to violence to overcome the cartels.
“The worst thing you can have is war. We declared war, and it didn’t work. That is not an option.”
The U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, Christopher Landrau, also tweeted that his office is following this closely, and that “the security of our co-nationals is our great priority.”
The investigation into the attack is ongoing, details are still coming in, and it is reported that more family members are still missing from the convoy, also feared murdered.
The U.S. State Department issued a statement Tuesday saying, “The safety and welfare of U.S. citizens abroad is among the Department of State’s top priorities. When a U.S. citizen is missing or passes away overseas, we engage with local officials at multiple levels and provide all appropriate consular assistance.”
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