A law passed by the US Congress last year is raising strong concerns in Mexico in the weeks leading to the annual drug-certification process. The initiative, the Drug Kingpin Act of 1999, was signed by US President Bill Clinton last December. Since the law was only approved at the end of 1999, this is the first year in which its provisions will be tested.
The legislation aims to cripple the financial operations of international drug cartels by freezing their US assets. It requires the US Treasury Department to issue an annual report on the world's most prominent drug traffickers, similar to the certification exercise submitted for Mexico, Colombia, and dozens of other countries each year.
The report will be compiled with assistance from the Attorney General's Office, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the State Department, and the Department of Defense.
The Treasury list is to be submitted to the White House by June 1 each year. The president would then have the authority to designate people on the list as "threats to the national security," which would trigger restrictions …