U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar. Photo: U.S, Embassy


Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) may have thought that he was going to get away with continuing to ban U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents from operating in the country without any reprimand from Washington.

But on Saturday, Oct. 9, just one day after the first U.S.-Mexico High-Level Security Dialogue was held in Mexico City with no public mention of the matter, U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar made it clear that the Joe Biden administration was not going to sit still on the issue.

In a press release, Salazar said Saturday that Washington has formally requested that the Mexican government allow its agents, including those from the DEA, to operate in Mexico.

Last year, Mexico waived criminal immunity for foreign agents and imposed strict limits on their contacts with their Mexican counterparts.

U.S. security analysts have said that that inevitably affects the DEA’s ability to collect intelligence on drug cartels in the country. 

Salazar said that Mexico has committed to fighting drug cartels under the new bilateral security Bicentennial Framework announced on Friday, Oct. 8, to replace the Merida Initiative.

“We are going to receive cooperation from the Mexican government, which was agreed upon yesterday, to ensure that the public order and security resources that we have operating here in collaboration with the Mexican authorities have the capacity to do so,” Salazar said in the press release.

“So, yes, that includes our request, and we are working with the Mexican government to have the opportunity to bring back agents, including from the DEA, but we are doing it in a way that we are in partnership with Mexico.”

Salazar also spoke of the need for “a regional response” to the tens of thousands of migrants who are in Mexico in route to the United States, another issue that was not publicly discussed during the Friday meeting.

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