Mexican ambassador: Fast and Furious “poisoned” opinion of U.S.
Ambassador Arturo Sarukhán’s comments underscore the seriousness of the drug war in Mexico.
Mexico’s ambassador to the United States said this week that the Fast and Furious gun-walking scandal “poisoned” public opinion of his country’s northern neighbor.
The Hill’s Jordy Yager reports from Ambassador Arturo Sarukhán’s appearance on Capitol Hill Thursday:
Ambassador Arturo [Sarukhán] told a room of reporters on Capitol Hill that the failed Operation Fast and Furious, which has been the focus of a Republican investigation in the House for more than a year, “put a lot of strain” on U.S.-Mexico relations.
“Fast and Furious has poisoned the well-spring of public opinion in Mexico as it relates to the cooperation and engagement with the United States,” [Sarukhán] said.
“It does put a lot of strain on the huge strides that we’ve achieved with two successive administrations in the United States,” he said.
Often lost in the coverage of the Fast and Furious gun-walking scandal, which has mostly focused on the Republican investigation into the Obama Justice Department, is the diplomatic fallout it triggered with Mexico.
Whereas the Fast and Furious story has mostly taken a back seat in the United States, the issue of narcotrafficking is arguably the top national issue in Mexico, which holds its presidential election in exactly one month. The government’s war against drug cartels has led to the deaths of over 50,000 since it began in 2006 and many in Mexico have expressed frustration over the flow of weapons from the United States that have been used by cartels.
Some conservatives, who have pressured Obama over the scandal, cheered Sarukhán’s comments. But it’s worth noting that Sarukhán and Democrats favor tighter gun laws to restrict the movement of firearms into Mexico. Republicans investigating the administration do not favor such an approach.
(Photo: Flickr, The Aspen Institute)