Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has threatened to launch an “information campaign” in the US against Republicans, stating that Mexicans and Hispanics should not vote for them unless US lawmakers change their treatment of Mexico.
Lopez Obrador’s statement is seen as a potential threat of election interference by the head of the state in response to the US calls for action against cartels smuggling fentanyl across the border.
The most recent data from the CDC shows an estimated 108,000 people died from a fentanyl overdose between Feb 2021 and Feb 2022. Mexico and China are the primary source countries for fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances trafficked directly into the U.S., according to a DEA Intelligence Report.
During a press conference, Lopez Obrador denied that fentanyl is produced in Mexico and accused Republicans of being “irresponsible” and lacking “respect for our independence, our sovereignty,” Fox News reports.
He also announced the launch of an information campaign for Mexicans and Hispanics living and working in the US, to inform them of Mexico’s initiatives and actions, and how the Republicans’ initiative was an offense against Mexico’s people and sovereignty.
“And if they do not change their attitude and think that they are going to use Mexico for their propaganda, electoral, and political purposes, we are going to call for them not to vote for that party, because it is interventionist, inhumane, hypocritical, and corrupt,” Lopez Obrador said, adding that “not one vote” should go to Republicans from Mexicans and Hispanics.
Lopez Obrador’s threat comes in response to calls from Republican lawmakers, including Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), for action against Mexican drug cartels.
Graham has called for the “fury and might” of the US to be unleashed on the cartels, stating that “our national security and the security of the United States as a whole depends on us taking decisive action.”
Graham also intends to introduce legislation designating Mexican drug cartels as foreign terrorist organizations (FTOs) and authorizing the US to use military force to destroy the drug networks.
“Not to invade Mexico, not to shoot Mexican airplanes down, but to destroy drug labs that are poisoning Americans,” Graham said.
Despite concerns about potential damage to diplomatic relations with Mexico, Graham has stated that “We’d like to help you, but we’re not going to sit on the sidelines anymore as a nation and watch our neighbor become a narco-state that kills more Americans in a single year than we lost in Vietnam.”