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AMLO denies stonewalling DEA visas, suggests US address fentanyl demand

EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – The president of Mexico denies his country is stonewalling visas for U.S. drug agents trying to stem the flow of fentanyl into their country. President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador also suggests Americans focus on addressing the root causes of drug addiction in their communities.

“The main problem in the United States today is the fentanyl consumption pandemic,” Lopez Obrador said at his Monday news conference on YouTube. “It’s very painful to have 100,000 young people lose their lives. They are not addressing the causes and it’s very easy for them to blame Mexico.”


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The comments came in response to a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee hearing last week in which Drug Enforcement Administration Administrator Anne Milgram confirmed that to DEA agents are waiting up to eight months to get a work visa from Mexico. Those agents and analysts are tasked with tracking the Sinaloa and Jalisco cartels illegally exporting tons of fentanyl pills to the United States.

The Lopez Obrador administration on Friday responded to the allegations by saying Mexico is a sovereign country and has a well-defined procedure for processing the agents’ visas. On Monday, the Mexican president stood his ground and pushed back at the notion among conservatives in both countries that his “Hugs, Not Bullets” strategy when it comes to the drug cartels is not working.

“I am not in agreement when they say ‘Hugs, not bullets’ doesn’t work. Wait a little because it takes time,” the president known in his country as AMLO said. “Some think we should use force, that this will be resolved with coercive actions. You cannot face evil with evil. You face evil with good and peace is the fruit of justice.”

In his three-hour news conference, Lopez Obrador warned his national and international audience that Mexico already tried hardline tactics against the drug cartels in the early 2000s and it backfired. Homicides shot up and a police force that initially declared war on the traffickers eventually went to work for them.


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He also alleged prior U.S. administrations flaunted in private about telling Mexican officials where and when to strike the cartels.

Lopez Obrador wrapped up the topic by saying Mexicans consume fewer drugs than Americans because they are strong in their family, social and religious values.

“We must ensure (drug) consumption does not increase because then comes more violence. Where do we have more homicides? Where there is more consumption. What do we have to do? Procure that families remain united, that values are strengthened and young people are taken care of,” he said, “that we don’t insult them saying ‘you don’t work, you don’t study,’ but to give them the opportunity to work and study. But the conservative mentality cannot conceive that, especially those that want to solve everything with a strong hand.”


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The Mexican president on Monday also addressed the immigration issue by saying his administration continues to work with the Biden administration to manage migration flows. He said the two countries remain good allies and good friends. But, as with drugs, he said the root causes of the problem must be addressed at the source.