By JESSICA GUERRERO
MORELIA, Michoacán — Figures indicate that an average of 86 people are violently murdered each day in Mexico in 2022. Almost all the causes have a common denominator, and that is the drug violence that prevails throughout the country.
Massacres, forced disappearances and shootings are the daily bread in states like Jalisco, Tamaulipas, Guanajuato, Zacatecas and Michoacán. In the case of Michoacán, that climate of constant violence has caused an unprecedented social phenomenon, the massive displacement of thousands of people.
In the much-touted Support Plan for Michoacán, announced more than a year ago by Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), a comprehensive strategy was contemplated to guarantee the safety of the population. At least 2,080 officers of the Mexican Army would be deployed to the western and southern region of the state, where the highest crime rates are found.
However, since then, things have not changed for the better in Michoacán at all. The president’s national security policy of “hugs, not bullets” seems to have permeated the law enforcement against the criminal groups that plague the state
Consequently, organized crime seems to be getting more organized in the country every day. The National Guard (GN), which in its creation by López Obrador in 2019 promised to be the savior of the Mexican people and the main civil security force of the Mexican state, today seems to be an inoffensive force against criminals.
In 2022, Michoacán ranked fifth in terms of intentional homicides in the country, with 10,119 victims. But the security crisis in the state is even more serious than it seems. According to data from the Michoacán Attorney General’s Office, during 2022, 31 clandestine graves were located, with a total of 104 bodies, of which less than half were identified and claimed by the victims’ families.
The failed security strategy in the state has even been recognized by the federal government itself, when Mexican Secretary of the Interior Adán Augusto López said that states like Michoacán have become a haven for crime.
Despite the high figures that show an ineffective management of the security crisis faced by Michoacán, Governor Alfredo Ramírez Bedolla has affirmed that 2022 was a good year in terms of security, since according to data collected by his own administration, the average daily murder rate in the state went from 9 to 4.5 since the beginning of his government.
Although this may seem like a very local issue, what is happening in Michoacán is just a small sample of the latent security crisis that the entire country is experiencing. An example of this is the forced displacement that has recently been observed in the state of Zacatecas, where up until December 2022 there were just over 4,000 cases of massive displacement, and almost 3,000 people were reported as missing.