By MARK LORENZANA
For Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), the recent acts of violence in the Mexican states of Baja California, Chihuahua, Guanajuato and Jalisco that left hundreds of people dead and property destroyed is but “an act of propaganda by criminal groups that my political opponents are taking advantage of.”
In his daily morning press conference on Tuesday, Aug. 16, López Obrador insisted that despite the cartel-related homicides, blockades and burnings, the country is still safe and that everything is under control.
“There is stability, there is safety in the country. But because of propaganda, because my political opponents are magnifying things, the perception is different,” AMLO said. “Burning of vehicles, burning of Oxxos, and the country is on fire, right? That is in the interest of our adversaries, that this country burns in hell. The conservatives, they are magnifying things. The journalists doing tabloid journalism, they are sensationalizing things.”
A report by the Mexican daily newspaper Reforma, however, belies these claims by López Obrador: Between Tuesday, Aug. 9, and Friday, Aug. 12, when the violence in the aforementioned four states occurred, 260 murders were reported.
Likewise, the leaders of the New Generation Jalisco Cartel (CJNG) — Ricardo Ruiz, alias “Double R,” and Gerardo González, alias “El Apá” — managed to escape the military operation that Mexican authorities conducted in Jalisco, which allegedly triggered the violence.
Meanwhile, in the last three and a half years, the López Obrador administration had allocated a combined 544 billion pesos for both the Secretariat of National Defense (Sedena) and the Secretariat of the Navy (Semar), as well as 103 billion pesos for the National Guard (GN), to strengthen public security.
However, as evidenced by the recent cartel-related violence, and the fact that the murder rate as a whole in Mexico has not ebbed — under the AMLO administration, there have been more than 34,000 murders per year on average — the Mexican armed forces have been found wanting in fulfilling their obligation of providing public security.
According to figures from Mexico’s Executive Secretariat of National System of Public Safety (SESNSP), since the start of López Obrador’s term until June of this year, a total of 121,441 murders and femicides have been registered. In contrast, under former Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s watch, the country recorded a total of 125,000 murders at the end of his six-year term.