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AMLO discusses fentanyl with 60 Minutes, wildfires in 20 states, migration agreement with Colombia and Ecuador, airline lawsuit

Lauren TerMaat

President López Obrador acknowledges Mexico's fentanyl production on 60 Minutes, migration agreement extended to Colombia and Ecuador, 147 forest fires burn in 20 states, Mexicana airline facing a $841 million lawsuit. (Week of 03/24/2024-03/30/2024)

Week of 03/24/2024 - 03/30/2024

President López Obrador’s interview with 60 Minutes

In an interview with 60 Minutes that was aired on Sunday (03/24), President Andrés Manuel López Obrador acknowledged, for the first time in the five-and-a-half years he has been in office, that fentanyl is produced in Mexico. Throughout his administration, AMLO has been adamant that Mexico does not produce fentanyl. He assured, however, that Mexicans do not consume fentanyl, and that as well as consuming the drug, Canada and the United States also play a role in its production, and the ingredients for the drug come from Asia. 

In addition to fentanyl and drug trafficking, President López Obrador also discussed his plans for migration in Mexico, especially at the US-Mexico border, security issues, and the cartels. 

147 forest fires in 20 Mexican states

As of Thursday night (03/28), Mexico’s National Forestry Commission (CONAFOR) reported 146 active forest fires in 20 different states across the country. On Thursday alone, there were 21 new fires, since CONAFOR reported 126 active fires on Thursday morning. Experts point to the ongoing drought and strong winds as likely causes for the rapid growth of the fires. 

Overall, more than 14,770 hectares of land (almost 36,500 acres) have been burned, and four deaths have been confirmed, all four of which occurred in Mexico state. CONAFOR has reported that 8,865 firefighters have been dispatched to combat the blazes across the country. The situation is ongoing, and CONAFOR is releasing a report on the fires each day with the most up-to-date information. 

New agreements on migration with Colombia and Ecuador

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced on Thursday (03/28) that a migration agreement made with Venezuela last week would be extended to include Colombia and Ecuador as well. This program, called Vuelta a la Patria (Return to the Homeland), is intended to facilitate the return of migrants to their country of origin, and will do so by providing a monthly stipend of $110 for six months and guaranteeing employments for those migrants who return to their country of origin. This plan will cost $4 billion, according to President López Obrador, but he did not specify where these funds will come from. 

President López Obrador highlighted the importance of combating migration, especially the high numbers of migrants at the US-Mexico border, by addressing its root causes. He expects that the financial support from the program will decrease the number of migrants that come to Mexico from Venezuela, Colombia, and Ecuador, and he urged US President Joe Biden to also designate resources to address root causes of migration in Latin America. 

Mexico’s state-owned airline sued by Texas company for $841 million

On Wednesday (03/27) Mexicana de Aviación, Mexico’s state-owned, military-run airline was sued for $841 million in a New York court by SAT Aero Holdings for a breach of contract. When the airline was created by President López Obrador in August 2023, the Texas company SAT had assisted with initial purchases of aircraft, training of pilots and airline personnel, and maintenance of aircraft. 

According to the lawsuit, the agreement was that SAT would be reimbursed by the Mexican government for their expenses, but the Mexican government has not yet paid SAT the $5.5 million in deposits for aircraft and has refused to sign certain documents with financial institutions. SAT seeks the full amount of the contract, $838.5 million, in damages, in addition to $2.4 million in other costs.

About the Author

Lauren TerMaat

Lauren TerMaat

Staff Assistant Intern, Mexico Institute
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Mexico Institute

The Mexico Institute seeks to improve understanding, communication, and cooperation between Mexico and the United States by promoting original research, encouraging public discussion, and proposing policy options for enhancing the bilateral relationship. A binational Advisory Board, chaired by Luis Téllez and Earl Anthony Wayne, oversees the work of the Mexico Institute.   Read more