Mexico irked by Pope Francis' choice of word 'Mexicanization'

Story highlights

  • The Pope sent an email to a friend lamenting drug trafficking in his native Argentina
  • Mexico contacted a Vatican diplomat over the Pontiff's choice of terms

(CNN)The choice of a word by Pope Francis has drawn ire from Mexico's government. And on Wednesday, the Vatican told Mexico that the Pontiff meant no offense.

In a private email to a friend, Francis had lamented increased drug trafficking in his native Argentina, using the term "Mexicanization."
    "Hopefully, we are still in time to avoid the 'Mexicanization.' I was talking to some Mexican bishops and it's a terrible situation," Francis allegedly wrote.
    Mexico's chief diplomat took offense and said he would send a note of protest to the Pontiff over the term.
    "We would like to express our sadness and concern about the statements made regarding a private letter from Pope Francis," said Foreign Minister Jose Antonio Meade.
    The ministry also contacted a Vatican diplomat.

    Diplomatic response

    The Vatican's secretary of state responded Wednesday and admitted to Pope Francis' choice of words but said, "The Pope did not in any way intend to offend the Mexican population, for whom he holds special affection, nor to underestimate the commitment of the Mexican government in its fight against narco-trafficking."
    The secretary said the expression was part of a "private and informal email" to a someone "who had used this phrase."

    Drug battle

    Mexican authorities have battled drug cartels for nearly 10 years, and more than 60,000 people have died in that fight, Human Rights Watch has said.
    Mexico is the main supplier of marijuana and methamphetamine in the United States, and 90% of cocaine arriving in the country is trafficked through Mexico.
    In recent years, according to Foreign Policy magazine, Mexican drug cartels have expanded their activities into Argentina.