Deadly violence by drug cartels in Mexico has gained new attention in recent weeks after the killing of six children and their mothers recently in Eastern Sonora, all were dual Mexican and American citizens, and part of a fundamentalist Mormon community in the north of the country.
President Trump said in an interview posted online Tuesday that he plans to designate Mexican drug cartels as terrorist organizations, owing to what he said was the high number of Americans killed by their activities.
“Look, we are losing 100,000 people a year to what is happening and what is coming through from Mexico,” the president explained. “Absolutely they will be designated…. I have been working on that for the last 90 days. You know, designation is not that easy, you have to go through a process, and we are well into that process.”
The comments, which were made in an interview with the former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, represent a shift in United States policy.
For all the years that the drug war has ravaged Mexico, a common refrain has often been used to make sense of the unthinkable toll, repeated by government officials, members of law enforcement and many Mexicans themselves: that the violence mostly claims the lives of criminals, of those involved in the ruthless underworld, of those who walk the wrong path.
But the recent killings in Eastern Sonora obliterated that argument in the most brutal way.
Even in a nation as plundered by violence as Mexico, which is suffering its deadliest year in more than two decades, the murder of innocent mothers and children has stripped away any pretense that the mayhem is largely calculated, targeted and therefore contained.