Trump’s new offensive against Mexico

President Trump’s campaign to demonize Mexicans is growing in tone: now he wants to convince us that many Mexicans are terrorists, officially labeling Mexican cartels as terrorist organizations.

At first glance, it seems like an innocuous idea, but it could have serious consequences on many fronts.

Trump declared the right-wing Breitbart News website on March 12 that he is thinking “very seriously” about designating the Mexican drug cartels as Foreign Terrorist Organizations, which would give the government the ability to attack them with less legal restrictions. Last month, Republican lawmakers Mark Green, a Republican from Tennessee, and Chip Roy, a Republican from Texas, had proposed precisely doing that.

Trump can designate the drug cartels of Mexico as terrorist groups by executive order, without the approval of Congress. There are more than 60 foreign groups that have been labeled as terrorist organizations by the United States government.

Trump could do this to please many xenophobes who support him and to try to convince a skeptical public that the United States should spend billions on building its border wall. But it would be a terrible idea, which besides everything would affect the national security of the United States.

First, it would divert important human resources from the US intelligence agencies, which can barely fight the Islamic State, Al Qaeda and other real terrorist groups.

The FBI, the CIA and other agencies already face budgetary hurdles to monitor terrorist groups in the Middle East, which openly propose the killing of American civilians. Asking these agencies to begin monitoring thousands of Mexican drug traffickers and their families would stop them from paying the same attention to more serious threats.

Second, as the State Department acknowledged, the idea that Mexican drug cartels are working with foreign terrorist groups is a myth. A State Department report published in September concluded that “there is no credible evidence to indicate that international terrorist groups have established bases in Mexico, worked with Mexican drug cartels or sent agents to the United States through Mexico.”

Third, the Mexican drug cartels are not terrorist groups because they do not have a political agenda. Unlike the narco-guerrillas of the FARC of Colombia, the Mexican cartels seek money, do not overthrow governments.

According to the definition of terrorism most used by the United States government, the term “terrorist” is used to describe organizations that practice “premeditated and politically motivated violence”. That’s not what the Mexican cartels do. On the contrary, what they want most is to leave them alone.

Fourth, designating the Mexican drug cartels as terrorist groups would devalue the meaning of the word “terrorism.” Most of us use that term to describe groups that, in addition to having a political agenda, kill innocent civilians.

Mexico’s drug cartels certainly kill innocent civilians, but in the vast majority of cases they kill their rivals. If we extended the definition of “terrorism” to all those who cause civilian deaths, intentionally or not, we would set a precedent to designate anyone as “terrorist”.

Fifth, it would further stigmatize the millions of decent Mexicans who work hard in the United States, many of whom have served in the armed forces, something Trump has never done.

Trump has tried to demonize Mexicans for political gain since the first day of his presidential campaign in 2015, when he said that most Mexicans “bring crime” and “are rapists.”

Instead of trying to classify the Mexican cartels as terrristas, Trump should use more intelligence resources to pursue the real terrorists, including the US-born murderers who killed innocent civilians in a synagogue in Pittsburgh, and in the club night show of Orlando, Florida.

But Trump is not talking about those who died there. It is only talking about Mexico, in its attempt to raise the tone of its anti-immigrant political agenda with a view to the 2020 elections.

BY ANDRÉS OPPENHEIMER

Source: El Nuevo Herald

The Mazatlan Posr

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