Mexico asks US to end anti-drug military cooperation
Mexico’s president said Wednesday that he had asked visiting US Vice President Kamala Harris to end military cooperation in fighting drug trafficking and to instead promote economic development.
“We don’t want military cooperation,” Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador told reporters a day after holding talks with Harris during her first trip abroad as President Joe Biden’s number two.
“We don’t want it to be like it was before when they brought us a helicopter gunship and a photo was taken of the US ambassador with the president,” he said.
“We want development cooperation. We don’t even want to hear about the Merida Plan anymore,” Lopez Obrador added.
Launched in 2008, the Merida Initiative aimed to combat drug trafficking with US military equipment, technical support and training for security forces in Mexico and Central America, which have received billions of dollars in aid.
It is not the first time that Lopez Obrador has called for an end to the program since his 2018 election.
He argues that investing in development projects in the region would help counter not only drug trafficking but also migrant flows — one of the main issues in his talks with Harris on Tuesday.
Mexico is plagued by cartel-related violence that has seen more than 300,000 people murdered since the government deployed the military in the war on drugs in 2006.
Lopez Obrador said that he had also asked the US delegation to stop referring to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador as the Northern Triangle, saying it showed “a lack of respect.”
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