Q&A – Are Mexican Cartels Terror Groups

Today’s entry: Your thoughts on President Trump’s proposed declaration of Mexico Cartels as Terrorists? 

Bottom Line: In case you tuned out the noise over the long Thanksgiving weekend, this might be new news to you. President Trump indicated that his administration is in the process of designating Mexican drug cartels as FTO’s, or Foreign Terror Organizations. It’s an official designation.

Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) is a designation for non-United States-based organizations deemed by the United States Secretary of State, in accordance with section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 (INA), to be involved in what US authorities define as terrorist activities.

First, the Secretary of State makes a recommendation of a group it feels may be an FTO. The Secretary of State consults with the Attorney General and Secretary of Treasury to review facts. If the facts satisfy the official designation, Congress is notified, and it becomes official policy after seven days. The FTO’s retain thirty days to legally challenge the designation, though it’s likely safe to say that ZETA and friends aren’t likely to come to Washington to challenge this designation if it goes through. What changes at that point? 

Any “material goods” flowing from any US entity to an FTO is cut off. Currently, I’m not aware of anything that may fall into this category. Additionally, US financial institutions are to freeze any funds/assets connected to an FTO. It’s possible this may come into play. The biggest immediate change would come in the form of foreign government’s affairs. Should any government, most notably Mexico’s, maintain relations with FTO’s rather than assist the efforts to eliminate the threat, they could face sanctions from the US.

There are currently 63 FTO’s as determined by the US government world-wide. Of the current FTO’s, here’s a breakout of designation by each administration:

  • Clinton:18
  • Bush:16
  • Obama:26
  • Trump:3

First, would you have guessed that the Obama administration was the most aggressive in the use of the designation? Second, would you have guessed the Trump administration would have been the least? Clearly the Trump administration has been judicious in using this designation. Can you ever recall this being a controversial process previously? Is there anyone who wants to argue that Mexican cartels like the ZETA’s and those who murdered the Americans recently are terrorists? This shouldn’t be controversial in my view and clearly the problem is getting worse, not better in Mexico and by extension the United States. 

Submit your questions using one of these methods. 

Email: brianmudd@iheartmedia.com

Twitter: @brianmuddradio

Facebook: Brian Mudd https://www.facebook.com/brian.mudd1

 

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