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For the second year in a row — and the second in Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) first two years of his six-year term — Mexico has registered more violent deaths than during any previous administration.

According to official figures released in a report Thursday, Jan. 21, by the government’s own Executive Secretariat of the National Public Security System (SESNSP), in 2020 more than 35,000 people were murdered nationwide, a drop of just .4 percent compared to the previous year, which ranked at the most violent in the country’s history.

Despite AMLO’s claims of having curbed violence thorough government crackdowns on organized crime with the mobilization of nearly 100,000 National Guard troops and costly “hugs-not-bullets” social programs aimed at providing the nation’s youth positive alternatives to violence, the number of murders and femicides in 2020 were sadly similar to those in 2019, even though experts had predicted that covid-19 lockdowns would would lead to a significant reduction in crime.

On average in 2020, 97 Mexicans were murdered every 24 hours, among which at least 10 were women and three were children or teens, according to SESNSP figures.

The state with the highest incidence of murders in 2020 was Guanajuato, where the total number of violent deaths in the year increased compared to 2019.

According to the SESNSP, in 2020, there were 35,484 murders nationwide, of which 969 were classified as femicides, or gender-based killings.

That figure constitutes a .4 percent drop compared to 2019, when there were 35,615 murders.

During 2018, the last year of AMLO’s predecesor, Enrique Peña Nieto, there were 34,655 murders and in 2017, the comparable figure was 29,636 murders.

The SESNSP report indicated that 69.3 percent of the 2020 murder victims died from gunshot wounds.

The report did not indicate what percent of the murders were believed to be drug-related.

However, since taking office in December 2018, AMLO has had a tumultuous record in trying to rein in organized crime, having both ordered the release of detained alleged fentanyl trafficker Ovidio Guzmán López, son of the notorious notorious Sinaloa Cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán and his criminal heir apparent, in October 2019, and later, in March 2020, having gone out of his way to greet Guzman’s mother, María Consuelo Loera, subsequently defending his action by saying that she was “a woman worthy of respect.”

More recently, AMLO courted the rancor of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) when he released without charges Mexico’s former defense secretary, Salvador Cienfuegos, after the U.S. government had arrested him in Los Angeles, California, on allegations fo drug dealing and money laundering, and later returned him to Mexico to stand trial.

…Jan. 22, 2021

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