The Biden administration has been silent on the issue of Mexico’s unprecedented move to seize a Caribbean facility owned by an American company, leaving Republicans to call for a defense. Vulcan Materials Company, the owner of this facility, is outraged and demanding answers from both governments as legal proceedings play out in Mexican courts.
The Mexican military and local police seized a quarry facility owned by an American company in Mexico, stoking outrage among former and current government officials. The Biden administration and the U.S. ambassador to Mexico have been appealed to to intervene.
In the early morning hours of March 14, members of the Mexican navy, local police, along with federal investigators entered the quarry just south of Playa del Carmen in Mexico’s Quintana Roo state, according to Vulcan Materials, a Birmingham, Alabama-based company and the largest producer of construction aggregates in the nation. They then forced the shipping company to let a Mexican materials company, CEMEX, unload cement from the ship.
Here’s security footage provided to FOX News of Mexican officials entering the quarry:
Previously, Vulcan leased land and provided offloading and handling services to CEMEX at the site, but the agreement expired last December and renegotiated terms could not be reached. CEMEX completed unloading the forced shipment on Friday, according to the company. According to the company, the military and police remain in control of the property and have not indicated any plans to leave.
Vulcan Chairman and CEO J. Thomas Hill wrote in a letter to Mexican Ambassador Esteban Moctezuma Barragán on Thursday, two days following the initial seizure, “I am writing to request that your government immediately order its forces and officials to leave our private property.”
Hill added, “The government’s participation in this gross violation of our property rights is yet another example of the government’s arbitrary and illegal treatment of Vulcan and its investments in Mexico. This occupation must cease immediately.”
Vulcan has been at odds with Mexico since Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador shut down the quarry’s operations in May 2022. During his campaign, Lopez Obrador accused the company of extracting minerals from Mexico and shipping them to the United States without the necessary permits.
Just days after shutting down its quarry, Vulcan’s customs permits were suspended by the government on May 13, which, according to Vulcan, has affected its ability to provide stone construction aggregates for roads, bridges, and other infrastructure in the U.S., and lawmakers have urged the Biden administration to act quickly.
Although Biden administration officials have been working with the Mexican government to find a solution, the quarry remains closed amid legal proceedings in the Mexican courts.
On Twitter, former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe called for Vulcan to be defended by the Biden administration after the apparent seizure, saying, “The Biden administration needs to engage immediately to defend a U.S. company and to protect U.S. interests.”
Tennessee Congressman Tim Burchett reacted to the security footage, saying, “The Mexican government illegally sent in its military and police to seize control of an American-owned facility because they know our president won’t do a thing about it. This is exactly what happens when we have a weak leader in the Oval Office.”
Cliff Sims, a former official in the Trump administration, also expressed shock over the Mexican Military’s apparent seizure.
The situation at Vulcan Materials Company’s Caribbean facility is emblematic of a larger problem facing American businesses abroad – namely, that their interests are not adequately protected when they are operating in foreign markets. Unless President Biden takes steps to safeguard American companies from such seizures, it could have a chilling effect on future investments overseas and leave many businesses vulnerable to similar actions taken by other countries. It is imperative that this issue is quickly resolved so that corporations can once again operate in foreign markets without fear of unjustified government intervention.
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