AMLO’s Term Poised to Be Bloodiest in Mexico’s History
By MARK LORENZANA
In just over four years, and with still 17 months to go, the administration of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) is on track to be the bloodiest six-year presidential term in the history of Mexico.
To date, there have been 154,000 homicides under López Obrador’s watch, practically the same number registered in the previous six-year term of former President Enrique Peña Nieto, which registered 157,158 murders between 2012 and 2018.
“During the government of Felipe Calderón, during the so-called Drug War, the country had experienced 121,613 homicides, then the bloodiest six-year term at that time,” wrote journalist Héctor de Mauleón, in his Wednesday, April 26, opinion column for Mexican daily newspaper El Universal.
Needless to say, murders under López Obrador’s watch have already exceeded Calderón’s entire six-year term by a whopping 22 percent.
“The figures presented by the National Citizen Observatory (ONC) are devastating,” continued De Mauleón. “According to Francisco Rivas, director of the ONC, in this six-year term ‘all records were already broken for the majority of violent crimes.’”
To make things worse, the ONC report showed that the five most violent states in Mexico are currently governed by AMLO’s leftist ruling party, the National Regeneration Movement (Morena). They are Colima, Baja California, Zacatecas, Sonora and Michoacán.
According to De Mauleón, the ONC demonstrated that increased militarization throughout the country did not manage to mitigate the violence and that, in the words of Rivas, there has been “a failure of the government’s security strategy.”
National security experts throughout Mexico have managed to explain that contradiction: While there has been increased militarization in the country, AMLO’s controversial “hugs not bullets” approach to fighting crime has made it hard for the military, the police and even the National Guard (GN) to stave off violence, especially from organized crime and drug cartels.
The ONC report also points to what it described as a “triumphalist narrative sustained by the president” that “makes it difficult to implement public security policies that would have reduced violence.”
And the violence is not slowing down anytime soon. During the first quarter of 2023, there had been a murder victim in Mexico every 20 minutes.
Still according to De Mauleón’s column, and citing the ONC report, the state of Colima has the highest rate of homicide between January and March 2023 and that “in the first quarter of 2023, there was a victim of extortion every hour.”
Extortion has also reared its ugly head in the State of Mexico (Edoméx), which grew 18.71 percent in the first quarter of this year compared to the first quarter of 2022 — a rate reportedly five times higher than the national average.
In addition, commuters experience some form of robbery in public transportation every 30 minutes, with Mexico City and Edoméx leading the pack. The Mexico City borough of Cuauhtémoc, in particular, exceeded by 16 times the national average in terms of robbery in public transportation.
In the states of Chihuahua, San Luis Potosí and Baja California Sur, crime grew 494.9 percent, 337.24 percent and 194.4 percent, respectively, according to the ONC report. And in particular — almost throughout the country — drug dealing skyrocketed: at least 19 Mexican states registered increases in the rate of drug trafficking.
At the same time, the disappearance of 41,291 people has been registered between December 2018 and March 2023.
“The ONC’s report is once again a wake-up call to a harsh reality that is pressing on the necks of millions of Mexicans and of a failure that one does not want to see,” De Mauleón wrote, “a failure that, if not accepted, will only make it worse for everyone in Mexico in what remains of López Obrador’s six-year term.”