Backlash over Trump’s plan
PUSH: BLACKLISTING OF MEXICAN CARTELS REJECTED
Experts say mafia groups’ main goal is making money.
Donald Trump’s plan to designate Mexican drug cartels as terrorist organisations has ignited a raging debate in Mexico on whether the groups’ horrific violence should be considered terrorism.
Mexicans broadly agree on one thing, though: they don’t want the American president’s help.
Mexico’s powerful cartels have certainly sown terror, whether throwing grenades into a packed crowd, hanging headless corpses from bridges, laying siege to city streets or – the incident that drew Trump’s attention – massacring nine Mormon women and children who had dual US-Mexican citizenship.
But experts say that on one key point, organisations like the Sinaloa or Jalisco New Generation cartels differ from the groups the United States has blacklisted as foreign terrorist organisations.
Whereas al-Qaeda, the Islamic State group, ETA, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the rest of the 68 groups on the list have political or religious motives, drug cartels’ main goal is making money.
“Mexican cartels can’t be compared to the FARC, for example, which certainly had links to drug trafficking but was not exclusively an organised crime group,” said Jorge Castaneda, a Mexican academic and former foreign minister.
“This is the first and only time” the US has moved to add mafia groups to the list, he said.
“These organisations have no political component.”
The debate goes back to November 4, when alleged members of the La Linea drug cartel fired a hail of bullets at three SUVs in a remote, lawless region in northern Mexico.
Inside were 17 members of three Mormon families. The gunmen killed three women and six children, including twin eightmonth-old babies, and set one of the vehicles on fire with the occupants inside.
Prominent members of one of the families, the LeBarons, sent a petition to the White House urging Trump to designate Mexican cartels as terrorist groups.
But Mexicans have broadly rejected Trump’s push to designate cartels as terrorist groups, as well as his earlier offer on Twitter for the US to help Mexico “wage WAR on the drug cartels and wipe them off the face of the earth”.