Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray said the U.S. must take responsibility for much of the violence which fuels Central American migration.
Speaking Thursday at a banking conference in Acapulco, Mexico, Videgaray said that the U.S. is the main source of arms and money for the drug cartel violence in the so-called Northern Triangle — comprising El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala — which has forced thousands to flee northwards.
"It's the financial flow that allows (these) criminal organizations to function," said Videgaray. "And, of course, 94 percent of the weapons that arrive in Mexico arrive across the United States border."
Videgaray added that the U.S. is by far the main source of demand for the drugs at the heart of the multibillion-dollar illegal industry.
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Videgaray's comments come as tensions between the U.S. and Mexico continue to rise over U.S. President Donald Trump's plans to build a wall on the southern border and his racist stoking of unsubstantiated fears regarding a so-called “crisis" of unauthorized migration.
According to the Washington Office on Latin America, the number of migrants crossing the U.S. southern border was at an all-time low even before Trump's election, with Central American refugees increasingly claiming asylum in Mexico.
Given the Obama administration's crackdown on migration, WOLA reported a 1,200 percent increase in asylum claims in Mexico between 2008 and 2014.
As part of taking responsibility, Videgaray argued, the U.S. must make an “explicit" commitment to support development in the Northern Triangle.
"The United States has to make a commitment as someone who has a natural and evident interest in the region. Invest, and we are willing to do it jointly with the United States," he said.