On Monday, U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville and most of Alabama’s congressional delegation met with Mexican Ambassador to the United States Esteban Moctezuma Barragán, at the Mexican Embassy in Washington, D.C. to discuss Mexico’s illegal occupation of a Vulcan Materials-owned port facility in the Mexican Yucatan at Punta Vanado. Sen. Tuberville reported on Monday afternoon that the Mexican military had left the Vulcan Materials port facility in Mexico. Mexican law enforcement is also no longer present at the facility.
U.S. Senator Katie Britt also released a statement responding to the day’s events.
“I am happy to hear that Mexican governmental forces have now heeded our request to withdraw from Vulcan’s port facility, following a nearly two-week unlawful takeover,” said Sen. Britt. “There was never a legitimate reason for Mexican military and law enforcement personnel to forcibly occupy this Alabama company’s private property. I personally reiterated my objections to this unacceptable behavior to Ambassador Moctezuma today at the Mexican Embassy in Washington, D.C., and asked him to convey to President López Obrador that aggression towards American interests will not be tolerated.”
The Mexican government seized control of the facility after the Birmingham-based company’s agreement with Mexican conglomerate CEMEX lapsed. CEMEX employees were with the heavily armed Mexican Navy and police forces that breached the port facility in a before-dawn attack. The CEMEX employees then unloaded a CEMEX ship.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has been in a dispute with Vulcan for several years. President López Obrador needed the dock to get cement, crushed stone, and other materials into the area to finish the tourist train known as the Train Maya. The president shut down Vulcan’s stone quarries last May, citing environmental concerns and claims that the company had extracted or exported stone without approval.
The seizure of the port facility had been declared illegal by a Mexican district court judge. The entire Alabama delegation has vigorously protested the seizure of the Punta Venada Port.
Congressman Gary Palmer had led a letter by the entire congressional delegation to the Mexican ambassador demanding the meeting that took place on Monday.
“This action by the Mexican military is unprovoked and unacceptable,” said Rep. Palmer. “The Mexican government needs to immediately recall their troops from Vulcan Materials’ port and ensure it will not happen again. The Alabama delegation and I have requested a meeting with the Mexican Ambassador, preferably at the earliest possible time. I look forward to receiving a prompt response from Ambassador Esteban Moctezuma.”
Senator Britt this afternoon joined members of Alabama’s congressional delegation in a meeting at the Mexican embassy in Washington, D.C., with Ambassador of Mexico to the United States, Esteban Moctezuma. The meeting came upon the congressional delegation’s bipartisan request and letter sent last week.
Tuberville said he will continue to advocate for the Vulcan facility in Mexico to reopen as the company continues to undergo the arbitration process.
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