I believe state Sen. Sylvia Allen’s March 23 letter “Hezbollah terror threat on U.S.-Mexico border is real” contains a number of conjectures that are misleading and which are of concern to the government of Mexico.
Contrary to Mrs. Allen’s statement, to this day there are no known terrorist organizations active in Mexico.
The alleged presence of terrorist organizations along the Mexico-U.S. border – with particular references to Hezbollah – and their potential links to transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) operating on both sides of our border have also been a recurring topic in certain political circles in the United States. However, as you are aware, several U.S. federal agencies and high-level officials have stated that there is no evidence whatsoever of any terrorist organization acquiring operational capacity along the southern U.S. border.
Moreover, the U.S. Department of State’s 2010 Country Reports on Terrorism clearly establishes that “no known international terrorist organizations had an operational presence in Mexico and no terrorist group targeted U.S. interests and personnel in or from Mexican territory.” It goes on to say “there was no evidence of ties between Mexican criminal organizations and terrorist groups, nor the criminal organizations had aims or territorial control.” These assertions are shared by Mexico and are congruent with the evidence so far available to both our governments. I believe it is important for your readers to know that I sent the senator a letter stating these facts several weeks ago.
The fact that the United States has not suffered a major terrorist attack since 2001 is in part the result of hard work and collaboration between law enforcement agencies across many borders, including the Mexico-U.S. border. On a daily basis, officials from Mexico and the United States work side-by-side to monitor, evaluate and respond to threats to our common security when necessary. An alarmist discourse is often used to score quick political points, choosing rhetoric over facts for cover or justification. This hampers our ability to objectively and effectively combat the real threats in our neighborhood.
It is therefore crucial that Arizona does not view the border as a threat, but as a cooperation imperative. We must continue working together to ensure that misguided statements do not lead to inadequacies or counterproductive policies that might obscure the multi-layered institutional framework that both our countries have developed over the past years. Strong security cooperation is one of its pivotal components.
If we are to be truly successful in confronting the challenge posed by TCOs, we need to maintain our focus on working together as neighbors and strategic trading partners, under the paradigm of shared responsibility. This will help ensure security along our common border and promote economic competitiveness through secure, efficient and lawful movement of goods and people. That is an essential activity for the economic and social well-being of our two nations and peoples.
– Víctor M. Treviño is the consul general of Mexico