By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS
While newly inaugurated Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) was busy celebrating his elaborate and elongated, multi-sited inaugural ceremony, entertaining more than 20 foreign heads of state – including the likes of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro (a shining pillar of Latin American democracy, justice and respect for human rights, at its very best), Bolivian President Evo Morales and Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez – and regurgitating a now-tedious, 100-point campaign speech to a massive crowd of mostly campesino and indigenous supporters in the open-air forum of the capital’s central plaza Zócalo on Saturday, Dec. 1, life (or should I say, death) in one of the most lethal countries on Earth went on as usual.
According to Mexican police figures from across the country, the official murder toll for Saturday was at least 31, spread out across nine separate states.
Mexico’s continuing onslaught of homicides began in the early morning hours in the northern state of Chihuahua, where the Fiscalía General there reported that several armed suspects entered an establishment known as Álamo’s and shot five men dead.
Also in the early morning, two other men were killed in Chihuahua city’s Colonia Azteca in a drive-by shooting involving at least two vehicles.
Meanwhile, in Chihuahua’s Colonia Hidalgo, two other people were shot dead later in the morning, and a similar execution was carried out in the La Cuesta neighborhood, while an as-yet unidentified woman was found dead as a result of a firearm on the outskirts of that state’s capital and another man was discovered murdered near the Cerro Grande suburb.
Moving on to Mexico’s central state of Guanajuato, the murder toll for Saturday was six, according to local authorities.
In the coastal state of Veracruz, authorities reported five early-morning murders, as well as a case involving the bodies of two men found shot inside a car parked in front of the Melchor Ocampo primary school and the remains of five dismembered bodies in plastic garbage bags outside the capital city.
In Oaxaca, a state police officer was shot to death Saturday by a group of armed assailants on the Juchitán-El Espinal highway, near the Istmo de Tehuantepec region, and in Morelia, Michoacán, the bodies of a man and a woman, both in their early 20s, were discovered in an abandoned parking lot.
Closer to the nation’s capital, in Toluca, State of Mexico (Edoméx), two men were shot to death while driving in their car.
Police in the cities of Tijuana, Baja California, Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas, and San Juan del Río, Querétaro, each reported one murder on Saturday.
Notably, during his profuse, daylong discourse on how he was going to improve Mexico and make life better for all (or at least, the underprivileged 42 percent of the nation’s population that still lives below the national poverty line), AMLO did not make mention of Mexico’s serious drug cartel problem, nor the country’s skyrocketing homicide rate, which last year soared to a record level of more than 23,000 violent deaths, according to the Executive Secretariat of the National Public Security System (SESNSP), including the unprecedented deaths of at least 60 journalists and 27 Catholic priests.
Today, Sunday, Dec. 2, AMLO has stated that he is taking the day off to recover from the exhausting agenda of his inauguration ceremony, but promised to be back at work full-speed-ahead come Monday, Dec. 3.
My question is: What will Mexico’s death toll be for today, while the country’s new president catches up on his beauty sleep?