Mexico’s president Andrés Manuel López Obrador has defended his country’s security record, claiming that Mexico is safer than the United States, despite the recent kidnapping of four Americans in which two were killed near the border.
Speaking at his daily press conference on Monday, López Obrador said that Mexico’s tourism boom, especially in the resort city of Cancun, was evidence that the country was safe for travelers.
“Mexico is safer than the United States. There is no issue with traveling safely through Mexico,” he said.
He also criticized the US government and media for focusing on the negative aspects of Mexico, such as drug violence and corruption, and ignoring the positive ones, such as culture and history.
López Obrador’s comments came after four Americans were kidnapped by armed men in a highway near Nuevo Laredo, a border city in the state of Tamaulipas, on February 28. Two of them were later found dead, while the other two were rescued by Mexican authorities.
The incident sparked outrage and concern among US lawmakers and officials, who urged the Biden administration to take a tougher stance on Mexico’s security situation and to pressure López Obrador to cooperate more with the US in fighting drug cartels.
López Obrador, however, has maintained his strategy of “hugs not bullets”, which prioritizes social programs and dialogue over military force and confrontation. He has also resisted US interference in Mexico’s internal affairs, saying that he respects the sovereignty of both countries.