Fentanyl has been the main protagonist in relations between the United States and Mexico this year. Because of fentanyl, there has been intense talk about the fight against cartels, combating arms trafficking and even immigration, the big border issues. 50 times more effective than heroin, the fateful substance that kills 100,000 lives annually in the United States has become an unavoidable social demand for the Biden government and a tool of political fighting between Democrats and Republicans where more than one punch, perhaps deserved, ends in the face of Mexico. Against the mafias and their drugs there has always been a powerful antidote: economic asphyxiation.
Visiting Mexico, the US Secretary of the Treasury, Janet Yellen, has reported that the Office of Foreign Assets Control has imposed economic sanctions against 15 people and two companies linked to the Beltrán Leyva cartel, the Sinaloa cartel and the Jalisco Nueva cartel. Generation. This is, Yellen said this Wednesday, before tasting some tacos to the delight of city residents, about “exposing and interrupting the financial flows of traffickers.” Expose is a key word for anyone who wonders why these companies related to the cartels are not immediately persecuted or closed down. The Mexican Government will have to do its part. The companies are Editorial Mercado Ecuestre, related to horse riding, and Difaculsa, a retail pharmacy linked to the Beltrán Leyva family. They are exposed. Likewise, the properties that the accused have in the United States will remain blocked. Yellen will meet with her counterparts from the neighboring country and with bank executives with the same objective, “stopping illicit financing associated with fentanyl.”
There has practically not been a meeting between both countries this year in which this issue has not been discussed, always described as cordial, where leaders from both sides of the conflictive border have exhibited good understanding. “The best partners and allies,” Biden said. “Excellent relationship,” López Obrador responded. But the happy opioid infiltrated diplomatic relations some days with a disturbing effect.
In September, the Republicans redoubled the offensive against Mexico, proposing that the US Army cross the Rio Grande to impose order on the drug trafficking cartels. Democrats distanced themselves from these “reckless statements that threaten to normalize the idea of invading Mexico.” López Obrador called them ridiculous and raised the sovereignty of his nation. The Mexican framed this invective in Republican opportunism against Biden, who announced in early October the construction of 32 more meters of border wall, coinciding, in an unusual way, with a visit by the Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, to Mexico. “We had no choice,” they apologized diplomatically. The matter did not go any further.
But the war with the Republicans has always been there. They accused the migrants of smuggling drugs into their territory and of Mexico being the great fentanyl laboratory. Yellen has stated that “most of the chemical precursors of the opioid come from China and are synthesized in Mexico.” Adding to the cordiality, López Obrador sent a letter to China in April in which he asked for help to combat fentanyl, whose consumption in the United States was causing a true massacre. In terrible relations with the Biden Administration, Xi Jinping’s spokesmen responded bitterly to the Mexican president: “The United States must face its own problems.”
The San Francisco summit in mid-November between the three leaders concerned by fentanyl came to temper tempers. Xi met with Biden and López Obrador invited Xi to come to Mexico. The fight against fentanyl continued in terms of close cooperation, which expanded to other fields. In October, Mexican officials were in Beijing discussing this same issue of the chemical precursors with which fentanyl is later manufactured in Mexico.
The United States wants firmness on this matter. Curious have been the messages issued by some cartel in Sinaloa, in which they completely disassociated themselves from the production and sale of fentanyl and threatened their narco-rivals with making war on them if they did not follow the same path. Always on those cards written with the bravado of bullies with little brains.
This year, which is about to end, began with the arrest on January 5, in the mountains of Sinaloa, of Ovidio Guzmán, son of the famous Chapo, with the chaos typical of these operations and 29 dead, 10 of them military and the rest presumed. members of the criminal group, which repelled the attack with war power. As on other occasions, the information exchanged with the United States was useful. Ovidio was later extradited to that country, where he awaits the judicial process from prison.
Arrests of drug lords and dismantling laboratories is what the United States asks of the Mexican Government. And he responds to him to effectively monitor the transfer of weapons that leave his territory to Mexico, some 70,000 each year, and to take great care in measures against drug addiction among citizens. Between petitions, leaders’ summits and political outbursts from time to time on both sides of the border, 2023 has passed. But sometimes, social crises are pressing for governments. The United States has a huge public health problem with fentanyl. Mexico, a true pandemic of violence associated with drug trafficking. They are condemned to reach an agreement beyond the profitable commercial relations on both sides of the wall.
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