Mexico's leader has blasted Washington for believing it's the "government of the world" after report alleging human rights abuses
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has bristled over his government being accused by the US State Department of human rights abuses, dismissing his country's neighbors to the north as "liars."
Speaking at a press briefing on Tuesday in Oaxaca, Mexico, Lopez Obrador responded angrily to Monday's State Department report on human rights. President Joe Biden's administration claimed there were credible reports of unlawful killings by Mexican authorities, as well as forced disappearances, torture and otherwise inhumane treatment of civilians. The US also chided Mexico for corruption, rampant crime and low rates of offenses being prosecuted.
Asked by a reporter about the accusations, Lopez Obrador said, "It's not true. They're liars." He added, "It's not worth getting angry about."
Lopez Obrador made his comments before a scheduled meeting later on Tuesday with former US Secretary of State John Kerry, now Biden's climate envoy. Relations with Washington have soured in recent weeks amid a spate of kidnappings of US citizens in northern Mexico, including a case in which two people were killed by a group associated with a drug cartel.
The Mexican president has suggested that an "anti-Mexico" conservative element in the US government has inflamed tensions between the countries and used the fatal kidnapping incident to make attacks on his country's safety record. "Mexico is safer than the United States," he told reporters last week in response to the controversy.
State Department spokesman Vedant Patel responded to Lopez Obrador's criticism on Tuesday by defending the US allegations against Mexico's government. "The reported involvement of members of Mexican police, military and other government institutions in serious acts of corruption and unlawful arbitrary killings remain a serious challenge for Mexico, and that's why they were highlighted in our report."
The State Department is mandated by Congress to produce its report on Mexican human rights annually, Patel said, adding that the US has domestic challenges of its own. "We have never been ones to indicate that we are the government of the world or some kind of edict like that."