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Republicans and Democrats blame Mexico for fentanyl deaths in the US

David Brooks and Jim Cason

correspondents

Newspaper La Jornada
Thursday March 2, 2023, p. fifteen

New York and Washington. In search of a villain to blame for the failure of his anti-narcotics policy and the epidemic of overdoses of fentanyl and other drugs, which have caused more than 100,000 deaths annually, US politicians seem to have reached a bipartisan consensus: Mexico.

Once again, the Mexican drug cartels and the insufficient efforts of the government to confront them are found guilty of the fentanyl crisis in the United States.

United States Attorney General Merrick Garland, who is also Secretary of the Department of Justice, acknowledged that efforts to address the crisis are not working and pointed his finger at the Mexican cartels, which he accused of disseminating fentanyl among the American people. .

“This is a horrible epidemic, unleashed on purpose by the Sinaloa and Jalisco cartels. New generation“, he claimed.

they could do so much more

At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Republican Lindsey Graham asked about the efforts of the Mexican government to support the United States in stemming the flow of drugs. They are helping us, but they could do much more, I have no doubt about that.Garland replied.

If this is helping, I don’t want to see what it would be like not to.Graham replied.

The prosecutor informed the senators that he had traveled to Mexico on two occasions to address the problem and has spoken a couple of times with his counterpart. This is a huge priority for the Department of Justice.he stressed.

The hearing included a verbal clash between Democrats and Republicans over who to hold accountable for the growing overdose crisis.

Republican John Cornyn of Texas accused the Joe Biden administration of promoting a policy of open borders, which allows the uncontrollable entry of immigrants and drugs. He asserted that the administration is not taking the threat of fentanyl shipments from Mexico seriously, part of what he described as successful cartel business model.

Repeated accusations

Much of the debate was a repeat of arguments from previous hearings, in which Republicans blamed Biden and Democrats for failing to control the border and the flow of migrants and drugs.

Democrats responded with reports such as the one from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), according to which 90 percent of drug seizures at the border are made at official entry points and 91 percent of those seizures they are narcotics carried by US citizens.

Hearings last month showed that, despite partisan disagreements over border management, there is consensus that the real failure lies to the south.

Mexico’s increasingly politicized Office of the National Prosecutor (sic) has shown little appetite for prosecuting fentanyl-related casesdeclared the combative Democratic senator Bob Menéndez in February at a hearing of the Foreign Relations Committee that he heads.

It was there that he asked the administrator of the drug enforcement agency (DEA), Anne Milgram, if she assessed that the main obstacles to better cooperation with Mexico to combat fentanyl trafficking were that or we do not have a willing partner or that in fact the Mexican State is infiltrated by the cartels.

What are we doing with the government of (Andrés Manuel) López Obrador to change that reality?Menendez inquired.

The head of the DEA responded, as did the attorney general yesterday, that she believes that Mexico has to do more to stop the damage we are seeing.

Milgram pointed out that previous Mexican governments were successful in dismantling the drug cartel. The Zetasas an example of what Washington wants.

Support Menendez

Menéndez insisted on what Mexico was doing now and answered his own question: I have to be honest with you. I do not see it. I just don’t see it. I don’t see the will. I don’t see the urgency. I don’t see the commitment. [www.jornada.com.mx/2023/02/16/politica/006n2pol].

The New Jersey senator concluded: I don’t know how many more lives have to be lost before Mexico commits itself further. If this were the other way around, President López Obrador would be on top of us about this..

That assessment was immediately endorsed by the ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, James Risch.

But even more surprising was that view joined by Liberal Democrat Senator Chris Murphy, who noted: Let’s be honest. At best, Mexico is not taking this crisis seriously enough, and at worst, its government, or at least significant parts of it, are looking the other way or complicit with the cartels. That’s just the truth.

Even with partisan battles over foreign policy or the border, in recent weeks a bipartisan agreement has emerged that the US drug crisis is the fault of the cartels and the insufficient (and even suspicious) response of the Mexican government.

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