AMLO’s Cynical Response to Mexico’s Spiraling Violence
By JESSICA GUERRERO
MORELIA, Michoacán — In recent weeks, various episodes of extreme violence and brutality have taken place in Mexico, capturing unfavorable media attention around the global and spurring growing outrage at home.
Given the magnitude of these events, the response of the presidency of Mexico has been lukewarm at best, and indifferent at worst.
On Feb. 27, the presumed murder of 17 people (the bodies were later collected by the perpetrators so no official count was made) by armed groups in the town of San José de Gracia located in the northeast of the state of Michoacán after attending a funeral took place in broad daylight. The videos that rapidly spread on social networks showed images of firing squad executions and perverse mutilations.
The federal government initially questioned the veracity of the event, despite the existing videos and the testimonies of residents who witnessed the horror.
The stone passivity with which Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) addressed the issue in his morning conference the day after generated great discontent and numerous questions from the media and society.
In essence, his reply boiled down to: “If there are no bodies, there were no murders.”
But video evidence continued to circulate on social media, proving that this violent incident did indeed take place.
The federal government finally had no choice but to acknowledge the events that occurred in Michoacán, begrudgingly agreeing to investigate them and present a detailed reconstruction of the crimes, which it then presented in López Obrador’s morning conference two days later.
Notwithstanding, López Obrador’s sarcastic and blasé attitude toward the mass murders — the largest mass killing in Mexico so far this year — stood out in his speech to the media as he chose to avoid responding to any direct questions from journalists about the event, instead making crass comments and calling on the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) to change its name, “so as not to affect the image of the state of Jalisco.” This, while every Mexican was waiting with bated breath for his condemnation of this terrible incident.
AMLO’s cruel indifference was on display again this week.
Following the violent riots that broke out on Saturday, March 5, at the Corregidora Stadium in Querétaro, where fans of the local Gallos Blancos FC soccer team allegedly brutally attacked fans of the opposing team, Atlas FC, during a soccer match, AMLO couldn’t be bothered to show compassion for the victims.
The initial unofficial version of the events reported that at least 20 people had died in the mayhem. This number seemed reasonable considering the numerous videos filmed and posted on social media by people at the stadium, underscoring the ruthless attacks and showing what appeared to be lifeless bodies on the ground.
But according to the Querétaro government, there were no fatalities, just 26 wounded persons who were currently receiving medical attention.
This “official version” contrasts dramatically with the images and the testimonies of those who attended the match, some of whom have even confirmed to the media the deaths of their loved ones after the brawl.
Once again, López Obrador has turned a blind eye and remained silent for the most part, except to say that “these types of incidents are the vestiges of previous neoliberal governments,” adding that the local government would investigate the matter further.
This sort of abominable indifference and callous shirking of responsibility contrasts sharply with the so-called political and social ideological purported by AMLO’s leftist National Regeneration Movement (Morena) party, which has proclaimed itself to be an empathetic and fraternal movement.
AMLO’s harsh disregard for human life in the face of Mexico’s spiraling violence is evidence that he is self-involved and out of touch with the people he is supposed to represent.
AMLO is well past the midpoint of his six-year term, but he is still resorting to the same old discourse of blaming previous governments for the growing problems that the country is facing.
Just one month before the national referendum for the revocation of López Obrador’s mandate, AMLO’s silence and disdainful apathy for a Mexico that is hurting says more volumes about who he really is.