Things That Matter

Mexican President AMLO Puts His Foot Down, Tells Trump No US Intervention In Fighting The Drug Cartels

There is no denying that the Mexican drug cartels are multinational criminal networks whose poisonous tentacles have reached far and deep into the social, financial and political structures of countries all around the world. The current US presidency has placed blame of many of the ailments of the country on the Southern neighbor, Mexico, from migration crisis to issues of national security. A new measure about to be taken by the Trump administration has the potential to forever change Mexico-US relations and the place of Washington in Latin America as a whole.

Trump has made moves towards declaring the cartels as terrorist organizations.

Credit: WUNC

Trump recently revealed in an interview that he is lobbying to declare drug cartels to be terrorist organizations, claiming that the drug-abuse epidemic that leads to more than 100,000 deaths per year is a mass murder and that the finger should be pointed at el vecinito del sur. Now, this change goes far beyond wording. It could actually lead to a situation in which the US Congress could approve military and covert operations in Mexico, much like has happened in terrorist-harboring countries such as Somalia, Pakistan and Yemen. This could have enormous repercussions for the bilateral relationship between the United States and Mexico, and in the geopolitics of the Americas at large.

Trump was damning during an interview with Fox News conservative commentator Bill O’Reilly. Marcelo Ebrard, Mexico’s Foreign Affairs secretary, released an statement saying: “the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reports that it has contacted U.S. authorities to understand the meaning and scope of the remarks”. We are sure that Trump’s words sent the diplomatic world scrambling for official positions. 

AMLO has said no thanks to Trump’s position for fighting the cartels. Of course, Mexico is wary of intervention so it is only offering cooperation.

Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador has historically been very critical of United States interventionism not only in Mexico but Latin America at large. Donald Trump has been singing AMLO’s praises since the man from Tabasco got in power, but this might be a turning point in their relationship. Let us not forget that AMLO received the ousted Bolivian former president Evo Morales with open arms, and that Morales’ version of the events that rocked the balance of power in Bolivia points to US intervention in what he has sustained was a coup. During his daily morning press conference he told the press that he would rather send Thanksgiving hugs to Americans rather than confront them at this time. He also said this gesture would be: “Just to say cooperation yes, interventionism no” 

Remember the Plan Colombia in the 1990s? Well, it didn’t end too well for the South American nation.

There are of course precedents to United States intervention in Latin America to fight the cartels. Ever since the Raegan era and the DEA’s first forays into cartel lands, US presence has been constant, both officially and unofficially. Bill Clinton launched the celebre and infamous Colombia Plan to give military aid to the country to fight the post-Pablo Escobar mess left in the shape of guerrillas and new cartel bosses in Cali.

Critics to current US policy towards Mexico say that there is a move towards interference with domestic affairs. Of course, the strong cartel presence and evident power in cities like Culiacán and states such as Jalisco has made the notion of a total lack of government control get strength among security policy circles. There is no denying that some conservatives in Mexico would even welcome an increased intervention in local matters, but the vast amount of the population would be in opposition.

What would increased US military presence mean? 

It would be a seismic shift in Mexico, where the US is seen sometimes as a historical adversary. The myths surrounding the battle of El Alamo and the loss of a vast amount of territory to the US still resonate in the Mexican psyche and is seen as a blow to national pride. Further, US influence in national affairs would be a catastrophic development for the AMLO presidency. How would the cartels respond? The recent events in Culiacán are a good indication perhaps, as cartel bosses fear extradition more than death itself.

The call to name Mexican drug cartels terrorist organizations echoes the plight of the LeBaron family, a clan of Mormon Mexican-American dual citizens who recently suffered a massacre at the hands of organized crime. It is important to note that Mormons in the state of Chihuahua have blood ties with powerful Washington personalities including former presidential candidate Mitt Romney. 

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This Mexican College Student Is Going Viral For Breeding the Largest Bunnies In the World

Things That Matter

This Mexican College Student Is Going Viral For Breeding the Largest Bunnies In the World

Photo via yakinkiro/Instagram

Look out Bad Bunny. There’s another breed of bunny in town that’s taking the internet by storm. A college student in Mexico recently went viral for the oddest thing. He has genetically engineered a strain of rabbits to be the largest in the world.

21-year-old Kiro Yakin has become a viral sensation after internet users have seen him with pictures of the giant bunnies he genetically engineered.

Yakin, a student at the Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla on the Xicotepec campus, is studying veterinary and animal husbandry. He began his experimentation by breeding two unique rabbit types together. The Flemish Giant rabbit and other, longer-eared bunnies that Yakin happened to notice. As a result, his monster-bunny was born.

According to Yakin, his experimental bunnies grow up to 22 pounds  Flemish Giant, while the average Flemish giant weighs 15 pounds. But make no mistake, Yakin’s bunny experiment was no accident. “It takes an average of 3 to 4 years to reproduce this giant species,” he told Sintesis.

Yakin’s ultimate goal is to breed a rabbit that can grow up to 30 pounds. “I am currently studying genetics to see how to grow this breed of giant rabbits more,” he said.

Yakin, who has had a soft spot for rabbits since he was a child (pun intended), now cares for a whopping fifty giant rabbits out of his parents’ home.

Luckily, his parents are supportive enough of his dream that they support their son (and his bunnies) financially. “I have the financial support and support of my parents to buy food a week for all 50 giant rabbits,” Yakin told Sintesis.

But he also admitted his project has a long way to go. “So far I have not set aside the time or budget that is required to start the project more seriously,” he said.

The only thing that’s preventing Yakin from committing all his time and energy to creating even bigger bunnies is–what else?–money.

Photo via yakinkiro/Instagram

Although he already submitted a proposal to his university to try and expand his research, as of now, he is self-financed. However, Yakin makes a bit of extra cash by selling the giant bunnies to private customers.

His ultimate goal though, is to open up a large, professional farm where he can breed and cross-breed his bunnies to his heart’s content.

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A New Map Shows Where Cartels Have Control In The U.S. But Cartel Bosses Say It’s All Wrong

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A New Map Shows Where Cartels Have Control In The U.S. But Cartel Bosses Say It’s All Wrong

It’s long been known that international drug cartels operate within the United States. Cartels from across the world have setup shop in major cities across the country to help ensure they can move product from manufacturing bases in Latin America and Asia to consumer markets from Los Angeles to New York.

And now a new report from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) allegedly shows the extent of these operations and where certain cartels have more authority. But not everyone is buying the data, including the cartels themselves who are disputing the report.

A DEA report on drugs and drug trafficking details what the agency calls cartel influence in the US.

The DEA recently released its annual National Drug Threat Assessment, in which it maps out the states where Mexican drug cartels have gained “influence.”

The DEA’s report said Mexican transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) “maintain great influence” in most US states, with the Sinaloa cartel and the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación showing the “biggest signs of expansion.”

A map included in the report labeled the Sinaloa cartel, Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación, Cartel del Golfo, Organización de Beltran-Leyva, and Los Rojos as the most “influential” drug organizations, with presence in Texas, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Chicago, New York, Florida, Kansas, Colorado, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico.

When they were asked about that depiction of cartel presence in the US, security experts and cartel sources told Insider “it’s bulls—.”

So where do these cartels allegedly have the most influence?

DEA map cartel influence in US

The report described the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación as “one of the fastest growing cartels” and said the organization “smuggles illicit drugs into the United States by accessing various trafficking corridors in northern Mexico along the SWB including Tijuana, Juarez and Nuevo Laredo.”

“The cartels dominate the drug trade influencing the United States market, with most cartels having a poly drug market approach that allows for maximum flexibility and resiliency of their operations,” the report said.

An operative for Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación said the organization had a large group of members in Mexico who are “mostly on the armed side of the operations,” while most contacts in the US were clients.

“Most of what we can call members of the Jalisco organization are on the arms, like sicarios and some producers that are on a payroll. But everyone else is either a client we are selling to or an association to have access to certain route” for distribution in the US, he said.

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