State Rep. Chip Brown (R-Hollinger's Island) joined the chorus of political voices decrying Mexico's seizure of a port owned by Birmingham-based construction firm Vulcan Materials.
According to a letter written to Mexican Ambassador Esteban Moctezuma from Vulcan CEO J. Thomas Hill, Mexican authorities seized control of a Vulcan terminal on the Yucatán Peninsula.
Hill claims that a number of "heavily armed" Mexican military, police and state officials, accompanied by personnel of a Mexico-based building materials company CEMEX, informed Vulcan staff they had the order to bring a CEMEX ship to port and to unload cement.
"CEMEX, the military, and the police forced entry into our private property," Hill said. "They did not possess or present at that time in a court order, warrant or other official justifications for the action. As of today, March 16, we have not been presented [with] a single legal document, court order, or warrant justifying, or ordering this act. Government forces and CEMEX personnel continue to illegally, occupy Vulcan's private property, as CEMEX unloads its ship supported by armed military and police forces."
The seizure drew the ire of several political figures, including U.S. Sens. Katie Britt (R-Montgomery) and Tommy Tuberville (R-Auburn).
Brown, who chairs the House Ports, Waterways & Intermodal Transit Committee, released a statement slamming the "hostile takeover" of the terminal.
"Mexico's armed takeover of the Vulcan Materials port facility is a reminder of the property rights abuses the world witnessed at the height of Soviet Communism, and it must not be tolerated," Brown said. "It is time for the Biden administration to finally show some backbone and defend a respected U.S. company that was operating legally in a country that claims to be an ally, though evidence would indicate otherwise."
He added, "Perhaps if Mexican law enforcement and military forces spent more time combatting the illegal drug cartels that have taken over its streets and less time attacking companies that are operating in good faith under the law, that country would be safer for both tourists and investors alike."
According to Global Cement, Vulcan is currently embroiled in another legal dispute against the Mexican government. It also claims that a local court ruled in favor of CEMEX in the lawsuit over its continued use of the Vulcan terminal on March 5. A high court intervened with an injunction in favor of Vulcan on March 16.
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