Mexico won’t let US troops fight cartels, president says

MEXICO CITY (AFP): Mexico’s president on Thursday ruled out allowing foreign soldiers into the country to fight drug cartels following the deaths of two US citizens kidnapped by suspected drug traffickers.

“We’re not going to allow any foreign government to intervene, much less the armed forces of a foreign government,” President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador told reporters.

He spoke a day after Republican Senators Roger Marshall and Rick Scott introduced a bill in the US Congress seeking to designate Mexican drug cartels as “foreign terrorist organizations.”

Another Republican, Senator Lindsey Graham, has gone further, calling for President Joe Biden’s administration to allow the US military to pursue the drug traffickers “wherever they exist.”

Calls for action mounted after two of four US citizens abducted by suspected cartel members after entering northeastern Mexico for medical reasons were found dead on Tuesday, while two others survived.

Lopez Obrador described the proposal to deploy US troops as “irresponsible.”

“It’s an offense to the people of Mexico — a lack of respect for our independence and sovereignty,” he said.

US Assistant Secretary of Defense Melissa Dalton cautioned during a congressional hearing Wednesday that sending the military to fight the cartels could damage relations with Mexico.