US Mexico, US draw up outlines of new security framework
Mexico displays pre-Hispanic artifacts recovered from abroad
MEXICO CITY (AP) — Two Mexican museums have opened a massive show this week of 1,525 pre-Hispanic and historical artifacts, more than half of which were recovered from abroad. Mexico has long had a problem with collectors or traffickers taking artifacts out of the country, even though that has been illegal since 1972. But 881 of the sculptures, vessels and other artifacts on display in Mexico City were returned, either voluntarily by foreign collectors or through police seizures abroad. They were returned from the United States, Italy, France, Germany and the Netherlands.
MEXICO CITY (AP) — High-level delegations from Mexico and the United States on Friday laid out the outlines of a new security framework between the nations that at least conceptually marked a departure from the mindset that steered their cooperation over the past decade.
The so-called U.S.-Mexico Bicentennial Framework for Security, Public Health and Safe Communities seeks to move beyond the 13-year-old Merida Initiative that focused on building Mexico’s crime-fighting capabilities and rule of law projects.
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Nearly a year after the US Drug Enforcement Administration arrested a Mexican former defense minister and charged him with being a drug cartel boss, the Biden administration is deploying three Cabinet members and White House officials to Mexico to mend ties that are crucial for grappling with cross-border flows of migrants and drug and gun trafficking. © Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images US President Joe Biden gestures as he delivers remarks on the debt ceiling from the State Dining Room of the White House on October 4, 2021 in Washington, DC.
“It’s time for a comprehensive approach to our security cooperation, one that will see us as equal partners in defining our shared priorities, tackle the root drivers of these challenges like inequity, like corruption and focus not only on strengthening law enforcement, but also public health, the rule of law, inclusive economic opportunities,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Friday.
Mexico Foreign Affairs Secretary Marcelo Ebrard put it more succinctly: “Goodbye Merida, welcome Bicentennial agreement.”
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“The first substantive difference is that the Merida Initiative was, from the point of view of Mexico, focused on the thesis that the cartel capos had to be captured and that was sufficient,” Ebrard said. Now they see that wasn't enough, that attention must be paid to expanding opportunities for youth and treating addiction, he said. “The success of this is going to be measured in fewer homicides in Mexico and less drug consumption.”
That shift in emphasis is in line with President Andrés Manuel López Obrador's “hugs, not bullets” refrain and his stated uninterest in pursuing the leaders of Mexico's cartels.
Mexico's domestic-minded foreign policy could alienate the US
It would be a mistake to suggest that López Obrador does not have a foreign policy or is not interested in the world beyond Mexico’s national borders.During the first two years of López Obrador's term, which coincided with the Trump administration, his foreign policy consisted mainly of collaborating with the United States on the renegotiation of NAFTA and cooperating to limit Central American migration to the United States in return for non-intervention in Mexico's domestic affairs. The policy seemed to have worked - the Trump administration took limited notice of policies such as López Obrador's efforts to reverse the 2013 energy reform despite its impact on U.S. investors.
The two governments' joint declaration devoted considerable space to treating drug addiction — especially opioids — and its societal effects in the public health context, a significant departure from Merida’s emphasis on the criminal justice system.
The U.S. pledged to devote more resources to identify and treat people affected by opioids and Mexico committed to working with the United Nations to launch a program to better manage shipping containers to limit the importation of chemical precursors for synthetic drugs like fentanyl.
Mexico seized an estimated 1.3 tons of the synthetic opioid last year. That same year, the U.S. recorded 93,000 drug overdose deaths.
The governments committed to targeting importers of chemical precursors for fentanyl and methamphetamine, their financial networks and secret labs.
Biden administration expected to ink new security agreement with Mexico
The Biden administration is expected to launch a security arrangement with Mexico that tackles the most violent drug cartels and migrant smugglers.The deal is slated to be announced on Friday to mark the arrival in Mexico City of a high-level delegation of U.S. officials that will include Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Atty. Gen. Merrick Garland, according to people familiar with the matter.
They also said they would work together to reduce the trafficking of guns, a high priority for violence-wracked Mexico, and to provide more opportunities to youth to make it harder for criminal organizations to recruit them.
“We need to deal with the violence, dismantle the transnational criminal organizations and focus on prevention with the goal of creating the conditions for a culture of peace, while we work hand-in-hand to address the fundamental causes of crime,” the joint statement said.
Mexico's Public Safety Secretary, Rosa Icela Rodríguez Velázquez said, “for many years, the issue of Mexico's security has been addressed from the point of view that it's only measured by the use of force, now we are combatting the causes that originate that violence with social programs, intelligence and coordination, listening to men and women in their towns, their municipalities and communities.”
Immigration is expected to be a key topic of the dialogue. López Obrador has been saying for months that Mexico cannot continue to simply detain migrants and try to contain them in the southern part of the country, far from the U.S. border.
He has asked the U.S. government to invest in two of his signature social programs to relieve some of the economic pressure people feel to migrate. The Biden administration needs Mexico’s continued cooperation to manage the flow of migrants to the U.S. border.
Biden administration expected to reach new security agreement with Mexico
The Biden administration is expected on Friday to launch a new security arrangement with Mexico that tackles the most violent drug cartels and migrant smugglers while jettisoning the cornerstone of the last decade of U.S.-Mexico security partnership.The deal is slated to be announced on Friday to mark the arrival in Mexico City of a high-level delegation of U.S. officials that will include Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Atty. Gen. Merrick Garland, according to people familiar with the matter.
The U.S. also must find a way to re-instate the controversial Trump-era policy that made asylum seekers wait out their cases in Mexico. Under the so-called Migrant Protection Protocols, tens of thousands of asylum seekers waited in dangerous Mexican border cities for their cases to advance. Biden had made cancelling the policy one of his first orders of business upon taking office, but the Supreme Court ordered that it be implemented again. Ebrard said that issue was not discussed Friday.
Mexico has also been pressing for the U.S. government to do more to stop illegal guns from pouring in from the U.S. The guns fuel Mexico’s organized crime violence, creating a public safety issue that López Obrador’s government has been unable to adequately address.
Both sides were also expected to discuss the role of U.S. agents in Mexico and intelligence sharing. The governments insist that their security agencies work closely on a daily basis. But following the United States’ arrest of former Mexican Defense Secretary Salvador Cienfuegos, then his release after Mexico’s loud protests, tensions have persisted.
Cienfuegos was arrested after he was secretly indicted by a federal grand jury in New York in 2019. He was accused of conspiring with the H-2 cartel to smuggle thousands of kilos of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana while he was defense secretary from 2012 to 2018.
With Cienfuegos back, Mexico said it would perform its own investigation, but it was quickly closed. López Obrador attacked U.S. prosecutors’ case against the general and accused the Drug Enforcement Administration of fabricating the case.
Mexico restricted U.S. agents working in the country and lifted their diplomatic immunity.
At a breakfast with both delegations Friday, López Obrador said “it would be very unfortunate if we didn’t understand each other, if our cooperation, the friendship between our governments and our peoples wasn’t strengthened.”
The goal is to have a three-year plan ready by the end of January.
AP writer Fabiola Sánchez contributed to this report.
Mexico vs. Canada: Time, TV, streaming, prediction for CONCACAF World Cup qualifier .
The Canadians believe they can pull off the upset and win for the first time ever on Mexican soil in this battle of qualifying contenders.Throughout 2021, Canada has shown that it has been transformed under manager John Herdman who has infused it with belief that advancing to its first World Cup since 1986 is a real possibility. It helps to have a generation of players that are starring in Europe, beginning with Bayern Munich’s Alphonso Davies and LOSC Lille’s Jonathan David. Canada and Mexico enter the match as No. 1 (Mexico) and No. 2 (Canada) in the World Cup qualifying standings. The top three teams earn direct berths to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.