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By KELIN DILLON

According to a report from Mexico’s Secretariat of National Defense (Sedena) leaked to the public by Guacamaya hacktivists, organized crime groups and cartels operating within Mexico have been directly responsible for 64,910 deaths across the country since Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) assumed the presidency in 2018, the highest number of organized crime-related deaths seen in Mexico since it began keeping track of cartel killings in 2007.

In spite of López Obrador’s controversial implementation of a “hugs, not bullets” policy against cartel violence upon entering office, the Mexican executive’s peace-first approach has not discouraged Mexico’s violent streak in the slightest; the 64,910 homicides perpetrated during the first half of AMLO’s term is a 41.8 percent increase from the previous three-year period of former Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s administration, which experienced 45,760 cartel-related deaths throughout the second half of the executive’s term.

Mexico’s present-day landscape is rife with cartel-caused destruction, including the disappearance of three members of the press in the Tierra Caliente region while on assignment last December that remain missing in purported cartel custody, and the fallout from the arrest of infamous cartel leader Joaquín “El Chapo” Archivaldo Guzmán Loera’s son Ovidio Guzmán that is continuing to wreak havoc across the country – including the theft and burning of more than 300 vehicles in the state of Sinaloa.

The leak also revealed that Mexico had a massive 22,005 deaths caused by organized crime in 2020 alone, the largest volume of killings per year seen on Sedena record. Meanwhile, estimates put 2022’s year-end total at a minimum of 31,127 cartel-perpetrated  homicides.

With these numbers in tow, AMLO’s administration is well on its way to having the most violent presidency in Mexico’s recent history – something long predicted by experts from the security sector.

While Peña Nieto and former Mexican President Felipe Calderón each oversaw a respective 69,614 and 66,363 cartel-related murders throughout their six-year presidencies, the 64,910 homicides that occurred in just three years of AMLO’s presidency bode poorly for his administration’s pending death toll once he leaves office in 2024.

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