Last Wednesday, President of Mexico Andrés Manuel López Obrador publicly condemned the United States government for launching an investigation into his failed 2006 presidential campaign on the suspicion that he had received funding from drug cartels.

The news of this investigation was brought forward by independent journalists last week.

“It is completely false, it’s slander,” López Obrador said during a presser on the 31st of January. “I am not complaining about the journalists … I’m complaining about the US government, for allowing these immoral practices that violate political ethics.”

“It’s not the journalist, it’s higher up,” López Obrador added, without naming any specific agency. American investigators were unable to find any concrete evidence, and the 2010 probe was subsequently dropped.

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The investigation was reportedly conducted by the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) based on claims from a drug trafficker in a witness protection program, who coincidentally also served as a campaign adviser to López Obrador. He told the US federal government that the Beltran Levya drug cartel supplied funds to close associates of the left-wing Mexican politician in 2006.

López Obrador lost by less than one percent of the vote to the right-of-center Felipe Calderon, who launched a brutal war on the country’s drug gangs. Upon learning of the results, López Obrador argued that the election was stolen. In the months that followed, his supporters seized part of downtown Mexico City and formed a kind of autonomous zone, holding a mock ceremony where he crowned himself the true president.

Workers repair the entrance of City Hall riddled with large bullet holes in Villa Union, Mexico. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)

López Obrador interpreted the new reports as attempts to throw dirt on his reelection chances, in light of the upcoming presidential election on June 2nd. He is running on a ticket with Morena (short for “Movimiento Regeneración Nacional,” or National Regeneration Movement), the political party he founded. Morena is explicitly far-left and anti-“neoliberal,” favoring strong labor unions and regulated markets. The party did not embrace the more socially liberal positions (abortion, same-sex marriage, feminism, etc.) associated with its progressive forerunner, the PRD, in an attempt to not alienate key constituents who are also susceptible to the welfare state.

Officials are fretting over López Obrador’s outburst, worrying that attempts to form a diplomatic bilateral solution to the border crisis have been put in jeopardy.

“It’s just terrible, it’s going to mean more drugs heading to the United States and more violence in Mexico,” said former DEA leader Mike Vigil to the Associated Press. “It’s worse than when Cienfuegos was arrested … Now, if we thought the relationships with Mexico were bad, they are going to go from worse to almost nonexistent.”

The timing and aggressive nature of the three reports—released almost simultaneously by ProPublica, Insight Crime, and Germany’s Deutsche Welle on Tuesday, January 30th—has caused Morena partisans to speculate that a “powerful entity” was behind it.

President López Obrador has been notorious for his noncompliance on the border issue, at one point attributing America’s fentanyl crisis to “lack of love, of brotherhood, of hugs.”

“There is a lot of disintegration of families, there is a lot of individualism,” he said of American society, adding that US officials “should be dedicating funds to address the causes.” He also blamed American sanctions on Cuba and Venezuela for the increase in migration, arguing they have impoverished the socialist nations and have therefore forced their citizens to emigrate.

Just two weeks ago, he called for an investigation into how Mexican drug cartels are acquiring US military-grade weapons such as machine guns, rocket launchers, and grenades.

“The (Mexican) Defense Department has warned the United States about weapons entering Mexico that are for the exclusive use of the US army,” Foreign Relations Secretary Alicia Bárcena said at the time. “It is very urgent that an investigation into this be carried out.”

 Shane Devine is a writer covering politics, economics, and culture for Valuetainment. Follow Shane on X (Twitter).

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