U.S. sees signs of Russian involvement in Upcoming Mexican Election
According to National Security Adviser Gen. H.R. McMaster, the U.S. has seen “initial signs” of Russian “subversion and disinformation and propaganda” in Mexico’s upcoming presidential election. According to a clip of a speech by McMaster obtained by José Díaz Briseño, the U.S. correspondent for the Mexican magazine Reforma, McMaster stated,
“For example, with Russia we are concerned, increasingly concerned, with these sophisticated campaigns of subversion and disinformation and propaganda, the use of cyber tools to do that. As you’ve seen this is a really sophisticated effort to polarize democratic societies and pit communities within those societies against each other and create crises of confidence and to undermine the strength within Europe. You see this most recently with the Catalonia independence referendum in Spain, for example. You see actually initial signs of it in the Mexican presidential campaign already.”
On July 1, Mexicans will vote on a new president, every senator and representative, some governors, and thousands of officials in states across the nation. According to Shannon O’Neill, senior fellow for Latin America Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, Mexico is an appealing target if Russia seeks to undermine the Western world and the US’s role in it, because of the close links between the U.S. and Mexico on things such as the economy, energy, transportation, and national-security issues. Not to mention the approximately 37 million Mexican-Americans and immigrants in the U.S. with roots in Mexico. According to Reforma, Mexico’s National Electoral Institute has expressed concern about disinformation campaigns directed toward the electoral process on social networks. Unfortunately, Mexico lacks the proper agencies equipped to deal with such interference, which could leave Mexico unable to counter misinformation. We will have to wait and see what happens with Mexico’s election and if Russia is truly getting involved in its election.