Former US Ambassador To Mexico: Cartels Control Up To 40 Percent Of Mexican Territory

Former US Ambassador To Mexico: Cartels Control Up To 40 Percent Of Mexican Territory


Christopher Landau, U.S. ambassador to Mexico during the Trump administration, said during a roundtable event with former diplomats last week that drug cartels control between 35 and 40 percent of Mexican territory.

“I think there is no doubt that they play a broad role in the governance of Mexico,” Landau said.

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, he added, has taken a passive approach to the cartels. “He sees the cartels as his Vietnam,” Landau said, noting that López Obrador has tried to avoid open conflict, and instead adopted a “laissez faire attitude towards the cartels.”

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In comments Wednesday, López Obrador dismissed Landau’s assessment, saying, “It’s not like that,” and boasting, somewhat implausibly, that he travels all over Mexico without bodyguards.

But after a string of high-profile attacks and assassination attempts by cartels last year, along with a dramatic string of indictments and intrigue among top former Mexican officials, it’s hard to argue with Landau’s assessment.

Last June, in

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