Back­lash over Trump’s plan


The Citizen (KZN) - - World - Mex­ico City

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”.


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