Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador is angry after U.S. media discussed allegations of a $2 million dollar campaign donation from cartels. President Obrador has said that the allegations are “interventionist” in nature ahead of Mexico’s June 2 election. He has also stated, “How are we going to sit down at a table and talk about fighting drugs if one of their agencies is leaking information and damaging me? How are we going to talk about migration, how are we going to talk about fighting drugs or fentanyl?”
The leak came ahead of discussions to be held between U.S. President Biden and Mexico’s President Obrador to discuss immigration, drugs, and guns. President Obrador has demanded an apology and accused the U.S. of interfering in his campaign.
A meeting had been set to discuss the issues at the border as well as fighting the drug and illicit arms trade. The allegations have put a serious threat to the revival of cooperation between the two countries as Mexico’s president has been greatly angered and blames U.S. agencies for the resurgence of the allegations.
“It is completely false, it’s slander,” said President Obrador during his media briefing. This is not the first time that Obrador has been angered by U.S. actions. There was a similar issue in 2020 when U.S. Drug Enforcement agents arrested former Mexican Defense Secretary, Gen. Salvador Cienfuegos. Mike Vigil, former head of international operations for the DEA, has stated that this could potentially damage relations permanently. “It’s just terrible, it’s going to mean more drugs heading to the United States and more violence in Mexico,” Vigil said.
President Obrador has demanded that President Biden apologize or that the State Department release information proving the allegations wrong. It is unclear whether President Biden or the State Department will do either of those things, but in the interests of continuing their bilateral relationship, it could be possible.
When Cienfuegos was arrested, Mexico demanded his return and threatened to restrict U.S. agents abilities to work in different regions. The U.S. quickly released him to appease the government and continue relations. There is a chance a similar reaction could happen, but it is a little trickier with elections on the way for both countries.
President Biden has not made a statement on the story yet. If President Obrador refuses to talk to the U.S., it would likely be a political loss for President Biden, as the situation at the border is already politically dicey. If relations sour, it is likely that Mexico will stop helping the U.S. prevent some of the drugs and weapons from crossing the border.
President Obrador is currently losing in the polls to Claudia Sheinbaum, who is from his own party. However, their party has vowed not to confront the cartels, which has tended to be a vulnerable point in the party’s policies as violence is rising in Mexico.
Mexico’s elections will be held on June 2.