Mexico’s President AMLO sent Joe Biden a letter condemning US “interventionism”, such as USAID funding of right-wing opposition groups that are trying to destabilize his elected government.
By Ben Norton
Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador sent US leader Joe Biden a letter criticizing Washington for meddling in his country’s internal affairs.
The document condemned funding that the US Agency for International Development (USAID) has given to right-wing opposition groups that have organized protests against Mexico’s elected government, seeking to destabilize it.
USAID is a notorious CIA cutout that has been used to finance opposition groups and regime-change attempts in countries that challenge Washington’s foreign-policy interests.
López Obrador, who is popularly referred to by his initials AMLO, is Mexico’s first left-wing president in decades.
AMLO came into office in December 2018 vowing to end the “long and dark neoliberal night”. He has nationalized the country’s lithium reserves and electrical grid, reversed the partial privatization of the oil industry, boosted social spending, and significantly increased the minimum wage.
On May 2, AMLO sent a letter to Biden. The Mexican president’s office made the document public on its official website.
“For a while, the government of the United States, in particular the US Agency for International Development (USAID) has funded groups openly opposed to the legal and legitimate government that I represent, which is without a doubt an act of interventionism, violating international law and the respect that there should be between free and sovereign states”, AMLO wrote.
“Moreover, a few days ago it was announced that said agency will increase the budget given to organizations opposed to our government, as appears published on the official website of the State Department”, he added.
The Mexican president read out the letter in his morning press conference on May 3. His office’s official YouTube channel even made a special video with the clip.
“I feel that it is very arrogant, very offensive, and I can’t remain quiet”, AMLO commented, in reference to the US meddling.
CIA cutouts fund Mexico’s right-wing opposition
USAID and other US government organizations, such as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), have funded numerous right-wing opposition groups in Mexico, particularly media outlets and so-called “civil society” organizations.
A prominent example is Mexicanos Contra la Corrupción y la Impunidad (Mexicans Against Corruption and Impunity, or MCCI), a group founded by right-wing multimillionaire oligarch Claudio X. González, one of AMLO’s most fervent opponents.
MCCI disclosed on its website that it is financed by USAID and NED, as well as the notorious CIA-linked Ford Foundation.
The CIA used USAID “humanitarian aid” flights to send weapons to the far-right Contra death squads in Nicaragua in the 1980s.
When the Sandinistas returned to power in 2007, through democratic elections, USAID spent billions of dollars funding right-wing opposition groups, which then played a key role in a violent coup attempt in 2018, which caused hundreds of deaths.
In a regime-change operation targeting Venezuela in 2019, USAID was again used as a political weapon, collaborating closely with the US Department of Defense to try to overthrow the leftist government of President Nicolás Maduro.
The United Nations and International Red Cross condemned USAID’s role in the attempted putsch in Venezuela, clearly stating that the US government organization was not providing humanitarian aid. An internal USAID audit even admitted in 2021 that the operation had violated humanitarian principles.
The NED has played an even more nefarious role in funding US meddling schemes and regime-change operations.
In a 1991 report boasting of the “spyless coups” that Washington had sponsored in the former Soviet Union, the Washington Post described the US government’s NED as “the sugar daddy of overt operations”, crediting it for “dispensing money to anti-communist forces behind the Iron Curtain”.
A co-founder of the NED, Allen Weinstein, told the Post, “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA”.
US foundations like Ford and Rockefeller have historically played a similar role, working closely with the CIA to fund anti-communist groups, including violent ones.
In her book The Cultural Cold War, journalist Frances Stonor Saunders showed how the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations “were conscious instruments of covert US foreign policy, with directors and officers who were closely connected to, or even members of American intelligence”.
AMLO proposes “cooperation and friendship”, while far-right US politicians want to invade Mexico
In his May 3 press conference condemning Washington’s meddling, President López Obrador proposed that US-Mexico relations should be based on “cooperation and friendship”.
“Together we should confront problems, like the migration issue, like drug trafficking, especially fentanyl”, he stressed.
In Washington, however, far-right US politicians have called for the opposite.
Prominent Republican Congress members have urged the US military to invade Mexico to attack drug cartels, even proposing legislation to justify an intervention.
Hawkish US politicians have blamed Mexico and China for the opioid epidemic in the United States, while ignoring how large pharmaceutical corporations profited from creating the problem in the first place.
AMLO has repeatedly condemned the US threats against his country.
On March 18, he organized a massive rally in the heart of Mexico City, celebrating the anniversary of the expropriation of the country’s oil reserves and shouting, “We remind those hypocritical and irresponsible politicians that Mexico is an independent and free country, not a colony or a protectorate of the United States!”
In a tweet on April 1, AMLO fumed:
“They threaten to invade; they sell high-powered weapons in their markets; they do nothing for their youth; they suffer – unfortunately – from the terrible and deadly fentanyl pandemic, but don’t address its causes.
They don’t care about welfare, only money.
While hawks in Washington have scapegoated foreign nations like Mexico and China for the opioid crisis at home, they have largely ignored billionaire oligarchs like those of the Sackler family, who made enormous profits on selling highly addictive drugs such as OxyContin.
In a blockbuster article in 2018, titled “Origins of an Epidemic: Purdue Pharma Knew Its Opioids Were Widely Abused“, the New York Times noted, “A confidential Justice Department report found the company was aware early on that OxyContin was being crushed and snorted for its powerful narcotic, but continued to promote it as less addictive”.
The Times wrote:
“Purdue Pharma, the company that planted the seeds of the opioid epidemic through its aggressive marketing of OxyContin, has long claimed it was unaware of the powerful opioid painkiller’s growing abuse until years after it went on the market.
But a copy of a confidential Justice Department report shows that federal prosecutors investigating the company found that Purdue Pharma knew about “significant” abuse of OxyContin in the first years after the drug’s introduction in 1996 and concealed that information.
Company officials had received reports that the pills were being crushed and snorted; stolen from pharmacies; and that some doctors were being charged with selling prescriptions, according to dozens of previously undisclosed documents that offer a detailed look inside Purdue Pharma. But the drug maker continued “in the face of this knowledge” to market OxyContin as less prone to abuse and addiction than other prescription opioids, prosecutors wrote in 2006.
Based on their findings after a four-year investigation, the prosecutors recommended that three top Purdue Pharma executives be indicted on felony charges, including conspiracy to defraud the United States, that could have sent the men to prison if convicted.
But top Justice Department officials in the George W. Bush administration did not support the move, said four lawyers who took part in those discussions or were briefed about them. Instead, the government settled the case in 2007.”
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