Thursday, August 18, 2022

Mexico calls on US to investigate ‘fabricated’ case against ex-minister | News Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador

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Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has said the United States should investigate the case against former minister Salvador Cienfuegos.

Mexico said on Friday that the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) should conduct an internal investigation into the conduct of its case against a former defense minister, in a new test of bilateral relations with the government of US President Joe Biden.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said the investigation should examine who within the DEA “fabricated” the case against former minister Salvador Cienfuegos, days after Mexico’s attorney general decided to ‘drop the charges.

“I am not going to address an international body, but I respectfully believe that the agency should conduct an internal investigation and clarify what happened, who made the case, who gave the order to apply, ”said Lopez Obrador, referring to the DEA. , during a regular press conference.

The two governments later confirmed that Lopez Obrador and Biden would speak by phone on Friday afternoon.

Tense ties

The US arrest and subsequent release of Cienfuegos have strained bilateral security cooperation. Mexico retaliated by limiting DEA intelligence collection. Lopez Obrador also angered Washington by releasing a large brief on the case that the United States had provided in confidence.

The ongoing fallout risks further deteriorating ties as Biden takes over from former US President Donald Trump, with whom the Mexican president had formed an unlikely friendship.

Then Mexican Secretary-General of Defense Salvador Cienfuegos gestures as then-US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis listens during a reception ceremony in Mexico City on September 15, 2017 [File: Rebecca Blackwell/AP Photo]

Teneo, a political risk consultancy, said Lopez Obrador’s recent moves seemed “deliberately provocative” to the new US administration.

His “annoyance is largely due to his willingness to gain leverage before what he anticipates will be a more complex period in bilateral relations,” Teneo’s Nicholas Watson said in a note shared with the agency. Reuters press release.

Under Trump, in return for a tough stance on immigration, Lopez Obrador received little high-level pressure from the United States due to his push for more state control over the energy sector.

Cienfuegos, a member of the government of former President Enrique Pena Nieto, was arrested in October at Los Angeles International Airport and accused by US prosecutors of collaborating with a split from a powerful drug cartel.

He returned to Mexico in November after a federal judge granted a request from the US government to drop the charges against him and return the investigation to Mexico, citing diplomatic sensitivities.

The Office of the Attorney General of Mexico said earlier in January, that the US case was not strong enough to warrant charges against Cienfuegos, a move Lopez Obrador publicly supported.

Lopez Obrador said the evidence provided by the DEA, which spanned hundreds of pages and which he had ordered to be shared publicly online, was riddled with inconsistencies.

“There is no way that we are going to fabricate crimes,” said Lopez Obrador. “We said if the DEA had any additional information to present it.”

The U.S. Embassy in Mexico City referred Reuter’s request for comment to the U.S. Department of Justice. A spokesperson for the DEA, a justice division, did not immediately respond.


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