Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the Mexican president, blasted the United States over its so-called democracy. Letting our country know that fentanyl and not his country’s problem. The government took over the leased properties of an American corporation on Tuesday, pouring salt in the wound of the already bad situation.
The seizure of an American company’s quarry facility in Mexico by the Mexican military and local state police has sparked outrage among former and current government officials, as well as appeals for the Biden administration and Mexico’s U.S. ambassador to intervene.
Vulcan Materials, a Birmingham-based company that produces construction aggregates, claims that members of the Mexican navy and local police entered the quarry south of Playa del Carmen, Mexico, in the early hours of March 14. The Mexican-owned cement company CEMEX was forced to load a shipment of cement onto the ship.
Vulcan is used to lease land from CEMEX and provide offloading, handling, and other services at the site. However, the agreement ended last December, and negotiations for a new contract fell apart. According to the company, CEMEX unloaded the forcible shipment on Friday. The company stated that the military and police are still in control of the property, and they have not indicated any plans to leave.
“I am writing to request your government immediately order its forces and officials leave our private property,” Vulcan Chairman, CEO J. Thomas Hill wrote to Esteban Moctezuma Baragan on Thursday two days after the initial seizure.
In a letter to Ambassador Barragan, CEO Hill states:
“The government’s participation in this gross violation of our property rights is another example of the government’s arbitrary, illegal treatment of Vulcan and its investments here in Mexico. This occupation must end immediately.
Tensions between Vulcan Materials, Mexico, and the Mexican government have been evident for some time and only seem to be increasing.
Vulcan was in conflict with Mexico for months following the May 2022 shutdown of the quarry by Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, Mexico’s president. Lopez Obrador accused Vulcan of trying to extract minerals in Mexico without the necessary permits and then shipping them to the U.S.
Vulcan’s customs permits were suspended by the government on May 13th, just days after the closure of the quarry. The company claimed that this has caused a problem in its ability to supply the stone construction aggregates needed to build roads, bridges, and other infrastructure in America. This has prompted lawmakers and the Biden administration to take immediate action.
Despite legal proceedings in Mexico, the quarry remains closed. However, officials from the Biden administration have been trying to work with the Mexican government to find a solution.
According to Reuters these legal proceedings include a settlement for a $1.1 Billion dollar lawsuit brought against Vulcan in relation to the closing of their limestone mine. Vulcan stated to AL.com that they have been involved in NAFTA arbitrations with Mexico about their investments in the country.
J. Thomas Hill, Vulcan Chairman, and CEO expressed concern about the American workers at the facility as well as their families.
The Vulcan statement stated that “Our foremost concern is the safety and health of our employees.” “We have verified that our Vulcan family members remain physically healthy and we are focusing on making sure this continues.”
Vulcan is shocked that Mexico and Cemex, the cement giant, “supported this recklessly and reprehensible armed seize of our private property.”
Katie Britt, a freshman senator from Alabama, had many words to say about the violation of rights.
U.S. Senator Katie Britt condemned what her office called Mexico’s militarized seizure of the Vulcan Materials port facility at Punta Venado, Quintana Roo, which is located in Birmingham.
Britt released a statement Sunday night saying that President Biden should raise the matter directly with President Lopez Obrador to assure the American people that it will not be tolerated.
“This forcible seizing of private property is illegal and unacceptable,” Britt said, “It was shameful that the Mexican president would prefer to seize American assets over the fentanyl which kills hundreds of Americans each day.”
Britt stated that she had discussed the issue of “increasingly, illegal aggression by Mexico’s government towards Vulcan” when she visited Mexico City in February. She also discussed the matter in detail with Marcelo Ebrard, the Mexican Secretary of Foreign Affairs, and senior U.S. Embassy personnel in Mexico City.
Britt stated that Mexico should be more focused on pursuing cartels rather than law-abiding companies and hardworking individuals.
“The ramifications from this illegal seizure extend to the United States. They significantly hamper important American infrastructure, energy, and other construction projects that rely on Vulcan operations in Mexico for materials.”
That’s a good thing. The American government is not strong in supporting its citizens and prefers foreign interests to those of its citizens. U.S. companies that have commercial interests in foreign countries are witnessing the consequences of a breakdown in these relationships, as they face an antagonistic Mexican government and an overreaching Chinese government. More important is the disruption to commerce and production when there is no U.S.-based contingency. This particular situation calls for the maintenance and development of critical infrastructure in our country. Here is where the “American First” policy could work. If Vulcan is not doing so already, it should look into ways that the United States can better meet its needs.