What AMLO Really Thinks About Biden

02/02/2021

Source: Foreign Policy

In the weeks between the U.S. election and the inaugural, Mexico’s president took several actions that seemed surprisingly hostile to the United States. Andrés Manuel López Obrador (widely known as AMLO) was one of only three world leaders who did not recognize President Joe Biden’s election victory until after the formal Electoral College vote. In December, AMLO oversaw the approval of a new security law that will greatly constrain U.S. anti-drug operations in Mexico. In early January, he offered political asylum to Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder who faces felony charges in the United Stat­es for publishing classified documents.

Then, in mid-January, his government exonerated a Mexican general and former defense minister, Salvador Cienfuegos, arrested in the United States for collaborating with a drug cartel. (This came after the United States agreed to extradite Gen. Cienfuegos in response to a Mexican demand to preserve effective security cooperation. The Mexican government then publicly released the Drug Enforcement Administration evidence against the general, information provided to Mexico in confidence and protected under the bilateral treaty on mutual legal assistance.)

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Mexico calls for DEA internal probe of ‘fabricated’ case against minister

1/22/21

Source: Reuters

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico said on Friday the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration should carry out an internal investigation into the conduct of its case against a former defense minister, in a new test of bilateral ties with U.S. President Joe Biden’s government.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said the investigation should look into who within the DEA “fabricated” the case against former minister Salvador Cienfuegos, days after Mexico’s attorney general decided to drop charges.

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Mexico’s attorney general escalates fight with U.S. over former minister

1/20/2021

Source: Reuters

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexican Attorney General Alejandro Gertz said on Tuesday he was considering elevating to international courts a dispute with the United States over Mexico dropping an investigation into a former defense minister.

Gertz said the U.S. Department of Justice had effectively declared ex-defense minister Salvador Cienfuegos innocent when it sent him back to Mexico and dropped U.S. charges against him after he was arrested in California last year.

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Mexican president says U.S. gets Mexico stance on ex-defence chief

1/18/2021

Source: Reuters

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico’s president said on Monday the U.S. government understood his administration’s stance on the case of ex-defence minister Salvador Cienfuegos, who Mexico decided not to prosecute after U.S. authorities had built a case against him.

Speaking at a news conference, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Washington understood that Mexico had to defend its authority and prestige in the matter of Cienfuegos, whom U.S. prosecutors had accused of working with drug traffickers.

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Mexico’s president continues to blast US investigation

1/18/2021

Source: The Independent

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador on Monday renewed his attack on the U.S. investigation of a former Mexican defense secretary and warned that the U.S. Justice Department should consider carefully its threat to suspend cooperation with Mexico

López Obrador defended the decision by the Mexican Attorney General’s Office not to pursue charges against retired Gen. Salvador Cienfuegos, and he mocked the results of the seven-year investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

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Mexico publishes heavily edited probe of exonerated general

1/17/2020

Source: The Associated Press

MEXICO CITY (AP) — One day after Mexico angered U.S. officials by publishing an entire 751-page U.S. case file against former Defense Secretary Salvador Cienfuegos, the Mexican prosecutors who exonerated him released their own version — but with so many pages wholly blacked out it was almost impossible to tell what they’d found.

The report released Sunday by the Mexican Attorney General’s Office included a 226-page stretch with every page blacked out, followed shortly thereafter by a 275-page stretch of blacked-out pages.

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Mexico President Backs Decision Not to Charge Ex-Defense Minister Cienfuegos

1/15/2021

Source: U.S. News & World Report

MONTERREY, MEXICO (Reuters) – Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Friday his government supported a decision by his attorney general not to charge ex-Defense Minister General Salvador Cienfuegos, despite U.S. accusations he collaborated with drug traffickers.

Cienfuegos, a member of former President Enrique Peña Nieto’s government, was arrested in October at Los Angeles international airport and accused by U.S. prosecutors of collaborating with a powerful Mexican drug cartel.

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Mexico Exonerates Ex-Defense Chief Who Was Freed by the U.S.

1/14/2021

Source: The New York Times

MEXICO CITY — The authorities in Mexico say they will bring no charges against a former top military official who was arrested in the United States last year on drug-trafficking and corruption charges, only to be sent home at the request of the outraged Mexican government.

The former defense minister, Gen. Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda, had been accused by the U.S. authorities of taking bribes in exchange for protecting drug cartel leaders. He was arrested at the request of the Drug Enforcement Administration in Los Angeles in October.

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U.S. Evidence Against Mexican Ex-Defense Minister Raises Conviction Doubts

12/21/2020

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Explosive U.S. drug-trafficking allegations against Mexico’s former defense minister rely largely on circumstantial evidence, diminishing the chances that the Mexican government could bring a case against him to trial or could convict him in a Mexican court if it did, according to people in both countries familiar with the case.

American agents arrested Gen. Salvador Cienfuegos in October as he arrived in Los Angeles for a family vacation, accusing him of taking bribes in exchange for protecting cartel leaders during his time as defense minister from 2012 to 2018.

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Mexico’s President Pushed Hard for Release of General Arrested in U.S.

12/05/2020

Source: The Wall Street Journal

MEXICO CITY—The October arrest in the U.S. of Mexico’s former defense minister sparked anger among senior Mexican military officers, a key factor that led President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to push hard for the release of the influential general.

Gen. Salvador Cienfuegos, who served as defense minister from 2012 to 2018, was arrested for allegedly taking bribes to protect the operations of a drug cartel. The surprise arrest in Los Angeles, as the general and his wife were starting a California vacation, stirred an outcry among high-ranking Mexican officers.

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