U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Arturo Valenzuela on Wednesday qualified controversial comments made by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that Mexico’s drugs war resembles the Colombia-style insurgency that the Andean nation went through 20 years ago.
“These drug cartels are showing more and more indices of insurgencies. It’s looking more and more like Colombia looked 20 years ago, when the narcotraffickers controlled certain parts of the country,” Clinton said during a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington on Wednesday.
Valenzuela said that Clinton’s comment, which sparked controversy in Mexico, should not be “misinterpreted,” after the administration of Mexican President Felipe Calderon rejected the U.S. leader’s comparison of Mexico with Colombia.
“What we are concerned about is the fact that you see the development of phenomena of car bombs that can affect innocent people and these are terrorist acts, you can define them as terrorist acts,” Valenzuela said.
“But the term insurgency should not be viewed in the same way we would refer to a Colombian insurgency. Not an insurgency of a militarized group within a society that is attempting to take over the state for political reasons,” the assistant secretary of state continued.
Valenzuela stressed that Mexico is seeing “an increase violence but not under the terms of an insurgency”.
There is increasing evidence of links between Colombian and Mexican drug traffickers.
Mexican narco-trafficker Edgar Valdez Villareal, alias “La Barbie,” claimed to have links to Colombian criminals when he was arrested in Mexico last week.
Mexican authorities released a tape on which La Barbie says “I have investments in Colombia in my field of work,” which he then admits is “drugs.”
Following the capo’s arrest, Colombian authorities arrested eleven people accused of shipping drugs from the FARC to La Barbie’s Beltran Leyva cartel. Among those detained was Julio Cesar Piña Soberanis, alias “Julio,” a Mexican believed to be La Barbie’s representative in Colombia.
In Colombia 20 years ago infamous drug kingpin Pablo Escobar was at the height of his bloody reign as the world’s most wanted narco-trafficker, waging war against the Colombian state with a bombing campaign and assassination of top politicians. Escobar was shot and killed in Medellin in December 1993 after a years-long game of cat and mouse with Colombian and U.S. authorities.