How cartels are changing the U.S.-Mexico political landscape

Foreign Policy Cartel issues, once confined to our southern neighbors, have now become a concern for the United States as well. Photo: Mexican Defense Secretary Luis Cresencio Sandoval. Eduardo Verdugo / AP By Border encounters hit record highs this week , and according to U.N. data, more migrants are citing violence as the reason for leaving their home country. This is a shift, as migrants from Mexico would often cite economic opportunity as the reason. This data comes amid a spike in violence last weekend in central Mexico, where at least three mass shootings took place, including one at a Christmas party, leaving at least 11 dead and many more wounded. The shootings are all linked to cartels. A nearly 2,000-mile border separates Mexico and the U.S., but a bilateral relationship unites the countries. Mexico is a top travel destination for Americans and is our second biggest trade partner, according to the U.S. State Department. “We trade $1.5 million a minute with Mexico,” said Earl Anthony Wayne, a former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico. But the partnership has a cartel cloud lingering over it, as Mexico’s cartel activity has been on the rise since the 2000s, but only recently have U.S. lawmakers had the groups in their crosshairs. “We’re gonna designate these groups and others, if appropriate, terror organizations under U.S. law,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham. The increased spotlight came on the heels of an incident resulting in the deaths of two Americans in Mexico. The American response gained a harsh reaction from Mexican President Andres Manuel López Obrado, who called Mexico safer than the U.S. However, the numbers don’t support his claim, as 2020 data from the Mexican government showed that Mexico’s murder rate was four times higher than that of the United States. The friction came only months […]

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