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Mexico’s president says his nation is safer than the US

CNN  — 

Mexico is a safer nation than the USA, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador argued on Monday, weeks after the high-profile kidnapping of 4 People drew world consideration to the nation’s safety disaster.

“Mexico is safer than the USA. There is no such thing as a difficulty with touring safely by Mexico. That’s one thing the US residents additionally know, similar to our fellow Mexicans that reside within the US,” he mentioned throughout his every day morning press briefing.

The kidnapped People had been touring within the Mexican border metropolis of Matamoros in early March once they got here underneath assault by gunmen believed to be linked to the Gulf cartel. Two of the People and a Mexican bystander died within the incident.

On Friday, the Texas Division of Public Security suggested that residents keep away from journey to Mexico throughout spring break, citing the chance of cartel violence.

Requested by an area reporter about safety in Mexico, López Obrador cited his nation’s recognition with American vacationers and expats, who’ve descended upon standard coastal areas in addition to Mexico Metropolis lately to make the most of the hotter climate and cheaper price of dwelling. US vacationers generate billions in income for Mexico yearly.

“US authorities alerts say that it’s secure to solely journey [in the states of] Campeche and Yucatan. If that had been the case, so many People wouldn’t be coming in to reside in Mexico Metropolis and the remainder of the nation. Prior to now few years is when extra People have come to reside in Mexico. So, what’s taking place? Why the paranoia?”

The Mexican president additionally claimed there was “a marketing campaign in opposition to Mexico from conservative US politicians that don’t need this nation to maintain growing for the great of the Mexican folks.”

Whereas components of Mexico are established touristic locations, violent crime together with kidnapping and human trafficking plague components of the nation, notably in border areas. Mexico’s general murder charge is among the many highest on this planet, and the nation has been troubled by an epidemic of disappearances with greater than 100,000 Mexicans and migrants nonetheless lacking.

Accusations of inaction and corruption in opposition to Mexican officers have additionally eroded public belief; final yr, a Mexican authorities report blamed the nation’s personal army and police for the notorious disappearance of 43 college students in 2014.

The US State Division has “don’t journey” advisories in place for six of Mexico’s 32 states, together with northeast Tamaulipas state, the place Matamoros is positioned. It warns People to “rethink journey” to seven Mexican states and “train elevated warning” in 17 states.

Canada and the UK even have detailed journey warnings for Mexico.

‘We don’t take orders from anybody’

Six folks have been arrested in relation to the lethal Matamoros kidnapping, and Mexico has dispatched a whole lot of safety forces to the world in what the protection ministry described as a transfer to safeguard “the well-being of residents.”

However the incidenthas additionally sparked ongoing rigidity between the Mexican president and US officers.

Final week, Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, the place the victims of the Matamoros assault are from, mentioned he was planning to introduce laws that might designate the cartels as international terrorist organizations, and authorize the US army to function in Mexico to dismantle drug labs, that are usually run by such felony organizations.

López Obrador described the notion as an “offense to the folks of Mexico” and a “lack of respect for our independence.”

“We aren’t a protectorate of the USA or a colony of the USA. Mexico is a free, unbiased, sovereign nation. We don’t take orders from anybody,” López Obrador mentioned at a information convention.

Earlier reporting from CNN’s Tara John, Rosa Flores and Andy Rose.

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