‘We Have Customs, Traditions’: Mexican President Blames US For Fentanyl Crisis


Julianna Frieman Contributor
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Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador blamed the United States for the fentanyl crisis Sunday on “60 Minutes.”

The Mexican president told CBS News’ Sharyn Alfonsi that the United States bears responsibility for the fentanyl crisis, adding that his country’s drug consumption rates are not as high as America’s because of Mexican “customs” and “traditions.”

“The head of the DEA says cartels are mass-producing fentanyl, and the U.S. State Department has said that most of it is coming out of Mexico. Are they wrong?” Alfonsi asked.

“Yes, or rather, they don’t have all the information, because fentanyl is also produced in the United States,” López Obrador said in Spanish, which was translated to English.

“The State Department says most of it’s coming from Mexico,” Alfonsi told the Mexican president.

“Fentanyl is produced in the United States, in Canada and in Mexico. And the chemical precursors come from Asia,” López Obrador pushed back. “You know why we don’t have the drug consumption that you have in the United States? Because we have customs, traditions, and we don’t have the problem of the disintegration of the family.”

“But there is drug consumption in Mexico,” Alfonsi replied.

“But very little,” López Obrador said.

“So why the violence, then, in Mexico?” Alfonsi asked.

“Because drug trafficking exists, but not the consumption,” López Obrador said.

The Biden administration announced a collaborative effort with the Mexican president to crackdown on the fentanyl crisis ravaging American communities in April 2023, NBC News reported. However, López Obrador and other Mexican officials faced criticism for apparently minimizing their country’s role in the drug epidemic prior to negotiating with the White House, according to NPR. (RELATED: CBP Doctor Attempted To Get Fentanyl-Laced Lollipops For Helicopter Trip: Whistleblowers)

“They could say, ‘We are going to close the border.’ But we mutually need each other,” the Mexican president told Alfonsi.

“What would happen to the U.S. if they closed the border?” Alfonsi asked.

“You would not be able to buy inexpensive cars if the border is closed,” López Obrador said responded. “That is, you would have to pay ten thousand, fifteen thousand dollars more for a car.”

Former President Donald Trump recently addressed manufacturing of cars in Mexico at a rally in March, warning the U.S. of what he called an economic “bloodbath” if President Joe Biden were to win the 2024 presidential election. The Republican nominee claimed that Biden’s electric vehicle (EV) policies financially benefit auto making in countries like Mexico and China while weakening the industry in the U.S.

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) seized a record-breaking 27,000 pounds of fentanyl at the border in 2023, an increase from the 14,700 pounds seized in 2022.