15 days after Bolivian President Morales was overthrown in a US backed military coup d’état and granted asylum in Mexico on November 12, American President Trump announced his intention to wage war against Mexico. As soon as Morales arrived in Mexico City the Americans reacted by openly supporting the coup, even denying it was a coup but an advance for democracy and condemning Morales. The Mexican President, Luis Obrador, countered by rejecting US claims that that the US was supporting “democracy” and affirmed that the events in Bolivia constituted a military coup and were a severe blow to democracy in Latin America.
The Mexican authorities expressed hope that the decision to grant asylum to President Morales, the legitimate President of Bolivia, would not draw a hostile reaction from the US, and that, since Morales’ life was in danger they had a duty to protect him. But their hope has turned to alarm as the New York Times quickly labelled Mexico a “haven for leftists, socialists and communists over the past century”, and President Trump turned an offer of help in solving the drug cartel problem in Mexico he made on November 6 into a virtual declaration that Mexico does not exist as a sovereign country and that the US may wage war against it in order to clear out what Trump now labels “terrorists.”
He claimed that the United States has the right to designate a criminal group in a foreign country as subject to its jurisdiction and action, which means that as far as the United States is concerned, Mexico is not sovereign nation but an American province and if the Mexicans resist this claim then they face war; and not for the first time.
We remember the war of 1846 in which the US invaded Mexico and, after a brutal war, seized and occupied huge swathes of its territory and then illegally incorporated those areas into the US by forcing down the throats of the Mexicans, at the point of American bayonets, a “treaty” to justify their occupation of Mexican lands.
In 1859 US military forces invaded Mexico to go after Mexican nationalist and guerrilla leader Juan Cortina, an important rancher who never accepted the “treaty” signed by Mexico, and who attempted to defend Mexicans in Texas from abuses and crimes, including swindling them of their land, by the Anglos who had moved in after the 1846-48 war.
Between 1873 and 1896 American troops crossed the Mexican border numerous times in pursuit of thieves and bandits without asking permission of Mexico and in 1914-1917, US forces, under General Pershing, were ordered to enter Mexico to chase down Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa, an opponent of a Mexican leader the US supported, Venustio Carranza. The US had taken part in the preparations and assisted Carranza’s forces in an attack on Villa’s forces near the US border and Villa took action against both in revenge. So President Wilson ordered the US Army to enter Mexico and hunt down Villa. They never succeeded and, after several skirmishes with Villa’s forces withdrew in 1917.
The pattern of treating Mexico’s borders as just lines on a map when it suits the US is an old one, as old as the birth of that aggressive, militaristic nation. And it must not be forgotten that in 1812 the first target of the US aggression, aside from their extermination of indigenous peoples, was their invasion of Canada in order to seize it from British control. Even then their propaganda claimed it was to bring “democracy’ to Canadians but the people of Canada did not want their “democracy” and resisted. The combined forces of British regulars, Canadian militia, and Iroquois warriors defeated them and pushed them back across the border. Now the US controls Canada though economic means.
We see the same arrogance with President Trump’s sudden visits to an American base in Afghanistan this Thanksgiving when he visited his occupation troops without so much as a “may I” sent to the puppet government and then bragged about the American invasion and destruction of that country. His ever-loyal troops, lacking any sense of law or morality, clapped and laughed at his antics, like so many deadly buffoons.
Trump’s threat to declare Mexican criminal drug groups as “terrorists” has serious ramifications for Mexico and its sovereignty and security. There have been a series of reports over the past few years that the US government itself is supplying the weapons being used by the drug gangs to attack each other and Mexican police and army units; that leaders of some of the gangs are US assets who have made deals with the US to receive weapons in return for sending large amounts of drugs into the US through CIA and DEA channels resulting in huge profits, which are then used to fund other covert operations of these agencies.
So while Trump complains about the “growing violent behaviour” of Mexican drug cartels and other criminal gangs, Joaquin Guzman’s “El Chapo,” Sinaloa cartel, with US supplied weapons, proved itself strong enough to besiege Mexican army units in the northern city of Culiacán in October, forcing soldiers to back down after they briefly detained one of Guzmán’s sons. This is the gang, the Sinaloa gang, that the Central Intelligence Agency and Drug Enforcement Agency were involved with in the US government’s Operation “Fast and Furious” set up to send American weapons to Mexican drug cartels while simultaneously working with other agencies to facilitate the flow of narcotics drugs over the border. There is some speculation that this was done to oppose a group called Los Zetas which, it has been claimed, were prepared to mount a rebellion against the right-wing government of the time which the US wanted to prevent.
According to reports in various US journals from the Washington Times to the Los Angeles Times, the CIA-DEA gun running into Mexico was a plot to ensnare higher echelons of the cartels but some reports cite former CIA officials and even the ex-Drug Enforcement Administration boss Phil Jordan, that Los Zetas had prepared to disrupt and possibly even subvert Mexico’s 2012 national election and that many leaders of the criminal gangs supposedly threatening the existence of the Mexican government were actually trained in the U.S. at the infamous military training center known as School of the Americas.
Whatever the truth of the matter there is a lot of smoke indicating that the fires of gang violence in Mexico are fanned by US intelligence and the objective is not only drug profits but also political influence, to subvert the Mexican government.
Now Mexico has a new leftist nationalist leader President Obrador, who not only will not pay for Trump’s border wall as Trump demanded, but opposes US policy in Latin America, supports Maduro in Venezuela, supports Cuba and is now providing safe haven to Evo Morales, the President of Bolivia a declared enemy of the US. And it is after Obrador offers help to Morales, that Trump’s offer of “cooperation” to deal with the drug gangs turns into a threat of invasion.
Luis Obrador, a long time leftist activist, who won a landslide election victory in 2018, supports the indigenous rights movement of Morales and wants a better deal for Mexico in the US-Canada-Mexico free trade negotiations, is against violence to solve the drug problem, favouring more help for the poor, and has vowed to defend Mexicans residing or working in the US. He openly condemned the OAS, Organisation of American States, a US dominated group of Latin American nations, as servile and hypocritical when they backed the coup in Bolivia and failed to support Morales and democracy. By backing President Morales, and so openly defying the US, he has drawn the ire of Donald Trump.
One can almost see Trump in his Oval Office, turning red in the face at the news of Obrador’s actions as he issues the order, “Bring me the head of Evo Morales and then bring me the head of Luis Obrador.”
On December 7th Trump stated, after talks with Obrador that his plan was put on hold but could be implemented at any time, leaving the sword dangling over Obrador’s head.
This threat of war against Mexico is another repudiation of the UN Charter, of civilized behaviour, of the principles of national sovereignty, of the respect for nations that are the central principles of the UN Charter.
Yet the threat went without much comment in the western media nor was it condemned by any of the US allies. Canada, to its shame, joined Trump in hailing the coup in Bolivia and had nothing to say opposing US military intervention in Mexico. The announcement that the US will declare drug groups it supports in Mexico as “terrorists,” something it has done around the world with proxy forces who are used as pretexts for aggression, means logically that the US could then declare Mexico a supporter of international terrorism. We know what pressures and actions that brings against a country. And we cannot ignore the fact that the reactionary elements in Bolivia who mounted the coup have declared Morales a “terrorist” simply because the majority of the Bolivian people refuse to accept the coup, are resisting and losing their lives doing so. Morales has to wonder whether he will be safe even in Mexico, or even his friend Obrador, as the US once again uses its fake “war on terror” to intimidate and terrorise another Latin American country with a popular leftist government.