Mexican Leader Enrique Peña Nieto Under Fire Over Trump Phone Call

Wall Street Journal WSJ-01MEXICO CITY—Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto faced calls on Thursday to disclose details of his recent telephone call with U.S. President Donald Trump after media reports said Mr. Trump criticized the efficacy of Mexico’s war on drug cartels.

During the call last Friday, Mr. Trump is reported to have told his Mexican counterpart that Mexico wasn’t doing a good enough job fighting cartels and that the U.S. stood ready to help.

“You have some pretty tough hombres in Mexico that you may need help with. We are willing to help with that big-league, but they have be knocked out and you have not done a good job knocking them out,” Mr. Trump said, according to a transcript obtained by CNN.

Mr. Trump struck an unapologetic tone over the exchange at Thursday’s National Prayer Breakfast in Washington.

“When you hear about the tough phone calls I’m having, don’t worry about it,” Mr. Trump said at the annual event. “They’re tough. We have to be tough. It’s time we’re going to be tough, folks. We’re taken advantage of by every nation in the world, virtually. It’s not going to happen anymore.” …

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During the last several decades, the United States has invested billions of dollars in trying to help the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean deliver better lives for their citizens. This has meant helping them increase internal security by combating the illicit growing and trafficking in narcotics and the activities of terrorist groups, as well as helping them to shore up their democratic and free market institutions.

Unfortunately, in recent years, continued progress in these areas has been threatened, not least by the elections of radical populist governments in Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador. These governments have instituted retrograde agendas that include the propagation of class warfare, state domination of the economy, assaults on private property, anti-Americanism, support for such international pariahs as Iran, and lackluster support for regional counter-terrorism and counter-narcotics initiatives.

We are a group of concerned policy experts that fear the results of these destructive agendas for individual freedom, prosperity, and the well-being of the peoples of the region. Our goal is to inform American policymakers and American and international public opinion of the dangers of these radical populist regimes to inter-American security.