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Mexico welcomes Trump’s idea to make drug cartels fund border wall

January 31, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Mexico welcomes Trump’s idea to make drug cartels fund border wall

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On Monday, Mexico welcomed a senior U.S. official’s recommendation that drug cartels could pay for the controversial border wall along the southern border, however, the idea raised eyebrows within the local media.

President Trump has infuriated Mexican government officials by maintaining that he intends to have the country foot the bill for construction of the border wall along the southern frontier with Mexico, though he has yet to specify how.

White House Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus, said that the Trump Administration were considering a “buffet of options” to fund the wall along the 2,000-mile border.

“There is no conclusion on exactly how this wall is going to be paid for by the Mexican government,” he said on Sunday during an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

“It can be through a tax on goods coming across the border. It can be through tax reform and a formula on import and export taxes and credits. It could be on drug cartels. It could be on people that are coming here illegally and paying fines. Or it could be all of the above.” he added.

Paul Ryan, the Republican House Speaker, has determined that the wall could cost anywhere between $12 and $15 billion.

Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray, who was in Washington last week for discussions with U.S. officials, welcomed the proposal that cartels can pay for the wall.

“It’s undoubtedly positive progress they are talking about someone that is not Mexico. Narcos are not Mexico,” Videgaray said. “It’s a signal that — at least how I interpret it — must be welcomed because we already see the discussion changing.”

Videgaray said Mexican and U.S. officials could meet in the next few days, the Digital Journal reported.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto canceled a meeting with Trump set for Tuesday in Washington in protest over his wall plan, but the two leaders later directed their teams to continue the discussion.

Priebus did not elaborate on how the authorities would get funds from the cartels to build the border wall.

Mexico’s Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray photo Joshua Roberts | Reuters

The U.S. Treasury Department has inflicted sanctions that block Mexican drug lords’ U.S. assets.

Courts are also able to seize the money of convicted kingpins.

For example, U.S. federal prosecutors are seeking a $14 billion forfeiture from Sinaloa drug boss Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, who was extradited to New York on January 19th, the night before Trump’s inauguration.

Priebus’s proposal surprised Mexican media outlets.

The national daily Reforma emitted on its front page: “They are analyzing making cartels pay!” and the story described the possibility as “not very conventional.”

The headline in another paper, Excelsior, said: “Now they want narcos to pay.”

A cartoon in Excelsior featured a drug boss sitting on a bag of cash, holding a rifle and asking: “What is Trump smoking?”

 

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