By MARK LORENZANA
The violence that erupted in the western Mexican states of Guanajuato and Jalisco on the night of Tuesday, Aug. 9, was reportedly the result of retaliatory actions by members of the Jalisco Nueva Generación Cartel (CJNG), in response to the alleged arrest of Ricardo Ruiz, alias “Double R,” and Gerardo González, alias “El Apá,” leaders of the CJNG.
However, on the morning of Wednesday, Aug. 10, Secretary of Defense General Luis Cresencio Sandoval informed Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) during his daily press conference at the National Palace that neither of these two leaders had been arrested. Cresencio Sandoval, however, said that 16 lower-level members of the CJNG have been detained.
In a report by Mexican daily newspaper Reforma, another CJNG leader, Nemesio Rubén Oseguera, alias “El Mencho,” mocked authorities for the failed capture of Ruiz and González.
López Obrador revealed that members of the Secretariat of National Defense (Sedena), in a military operation surprised leaders of the CJNG, who were allegedly participating in a meeting.
“Sedena intervened and also the police from Jalisco and Guanajuato because, apparently, there was a meeting of two gangs. Elements of Sedena arrived, and there was a confrontation, and there were arrests,” AMLO said. “This was what caused the protests, the burning of vehicles, not only in Jalisco, but also in Guanajuato. There are already detainees in both Jalisco and Guanajuato, those who were at the meeting. Apparently, yes, group leaders because there was that very strong reaction after the arrest. The burning of vehicles and Oxxos.”
At least 25 Oxxo convenience stores, two gas stations and at least seven vehicles were set on fire with Molotov cocktails to cause road blockades. Likewise, some pharmacies and neighborhood corner stores known as “abarrotes” were also reportedly attacked.
The violence on Tuesday began around 7:30 p.m. in the municipality of Zapopan of Jalisco when, at gunpoint, a group of men took at least three transport trucks and two private vehicles that they immediately set on fire.
Journalist Manuel Jáuregui, in an opinion piece for Reforma, on Thursday, Aug. 11, criticized López Obrador’s controversial “hugs, not bullets” approach in the aftermath of the violence in Guanajuato and Jalisco.
“After the arson attacks in Guanajuato and Jalisco, will President López Obrador think that more hugs are needed? It does not seem that so much presidential affection has diminished the bloodlust of the cartel bosses,” Jáuregui wrote, sarcastically. “It is clear that the absurd ‘thesis’ (because it is not a ‘strategy’) of ‘hugs, not bullets’ is even less effective than ‘Ambrosio’s rifle,’ and that the federal government’s ‘security’ forces only react to events, but they have not the slightest idea how to prevent them.”