Mexico says Trump shows ‘solidarity’ after suspect freed

MEXICO CITY — Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Saturday he received a phone call from U.S. President Donald Trump to express “solidarity” over the events this week in the northern Mexican city of Culiacan, where the government backed off from an attempt to arrest a drug suspect in the face of extraordinary cartel violence.

López Obrador thanked Trump in a Twitter message for showing “respect for our sovereignty and his willingness to maintain a good neighbour policy.”

Speaking later in the day at a public event in the southern state of Oaxaca, López Obrador elaborated on the call, saying he explained to Trump that “we Mexicans have to resolve in a sovereign and independent way” matters as delicate as those in Culiacan.

The gunfight in the city of roughly 800,000 residents was triggered Thursday by an attempt to arrest Ovidio Guzmán, son of convicted drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera, in response to a U.S. request for extradition.

López Obrador’s government came under heavy domestic criticism for releasing the son after gunmen took soldiers hostage and waged open battle in the streets for hours, with cartel foot soldiers patrolling with machine-guns mounted in truck beds. Five attackers, a member of the National Guard, a civilian and an escaped prisoner died in the gun battles.

The elder Guzmán has been sentenced to life in prison in the U.S. Ovidio Guzmán was indicted in 2018 in Washington, along with a fourth brother, on charges of trafficking cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana.

The government said it decided to drop the operation Thursday to avoid further loss of life. Critics say it ceded territory to a cartel.

“We are not dictators, we are not tyrants,” López Obrador said Saturday. “We will always respect the life of all human beings, and that way peace can be achieved.”

Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard told reporters Saturday that López Obrador and Trump agreed by phone the two countries will work together to “freeze” the flow of weapons into Mexico.

The high calibre, military-grade weapons deployed by cartel members on Thursday are not legal for civilian use in the country and Mexican authorities believe most of them came from the U.S.

Ebrard said that he will meet with his U.S. counterparts in the coming days to advance efforts to stem the illicit entry of weapons into Mexico.

Mexican officials estimate that more than 200 civilians would have died had they not turned over Ovidio Guzmán on Thursday. The cartel enforcers had positioned themselves in front of a housing complex where wives and children of soldiers live.

“Mexico has abandoned the idea of collateral damage,” said Ebrard.

Just Posted

National security officials objected to stopping Ukraine aid

WASHINGTON — The view among the national security officials was unanimous: Military… Continue reading

Morales says he’s headed for Mexico as clashes rock Bolivia

LA PAZ, Bolivia — Former Bolivian President Evo Morales said Monday he… Continue reading

Winds fan ferocious fires in Australia’s most populous state

CANBERRA, Australia — Ferocious wildfires were burning at emergency-level intensity across Australia’s… Continue reading

Police, protesters face off in renewed clashes in Hong Kong

HONG KONG — Police fired tear gas at protesters who littered streets… Continue reading

Two N.S. constables guilty of criminal negligence in death of intoxicated inmate

HALIFAX — Two special constables with the Halifax police force have been… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Wednesday Pain 101 class — learn to take control of your chronic… Continue reading

Opinion: Kenney plainly explains why Alberta deserves a fairer deal

By David Marsden It had been expected that Premier Jason Kenney would… Continue reading

Sportsnet cuts ties with Don Cherry in aftermath of poppy controversy

TORONTO — Sportsnet has cut ties with “Hockey Night in Canada” broadcaster… Continue reading

Family: Life is what happens …

As we crunch through November it seems the question on everybody’s lips,… Continue reading

National security officials objected to stopping Ukraine aid

WASHINGTON — The view among the national security officials was unanimous: Military… Continue reading

Morales says he’s headed for Mexico as clashes rock Bolivia

LA PAZ, Bolivia — Former Bolivian President Evo Morales said Monday he… Continue reading

Winds fan ferocious fires in Australia’s most populous state

CANBERRA, Australia — Ferocious wildfires were burning at emergency-level intensity across Australia’s… Continue reading

Police, protesters face off in renewed clashes in Hong Kong

HONG KONG — Police fired tear gas at protesters who littered streets… Continue reading

Most Read