Cartels Terrorize Jalisco Municipality after AMLO’s ‘Peace Pact’ Rhetoric

Vehicle burnings in Teocaltiche, Jalisco. Photo: YouTube screenshot


Hours after Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) issued a controversial statement on the morning of Tuesday, May 30, during his daily press conference, saying that he is considering entering into a peace pact with organized crime groups and drug cartels in the country, alleged members of the Sinaloa Cartel and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) — which have been engaged in turf wars for several years now — terrorized citizens in Teocaltiche, Jalisco, with blockades and vehicle burnings.

The comments from López Obrador regarding a peace pact with drug groups came after Delia Quiroa, an activist who has been searching for her missing brother, published an open letter directed at 10 organized crime groups calling for them to stop the practice of forced disappearances, in which people abducted by the groups are not just killed, but also completely eradicated — their bodies either dissolved in acid or incinerated.

“I agree and I hope we achieve peace — that’s what we all want,” said López Obrador. “Violence is irrational and we’re going to continue looking for peace, to achieve peace and that is what we’re doing. And if there is an initiative of this kind, of course I support it.”

Quiroa’s brother, Roberto, has been missing since March 10, 2014, which prompted her to speak directly to the drug traffickers through an open letter.

“Mexico has been submerged in a spiral of violence that has left a deep mark on society,” wrote Quiroa in her letter to the drug groups, including the CJNG and Sinaloa cartels. “Reality has surpassed fiction, and the number of missing persons in our country is impossible to count accurately.”

When asked by the press during the news conference about the possibility of an agreement with the cartels, AMLO said that he would “support anything that would mean stopping Mexico’s ongoing violence.”

“I approve of everything that means putting aside or not using violence,” he said. “Cartel members should assume responsibility and behave like good citizens.”

Since López Obrador took office in 2018, he has pushed a controversial “hugs-not-bullets” policy against organized crime and drug cartels, with little to no results.

A report by Mexican daily newspaper El Universal on Wednesday, May 31, even showed that arrests made by Mexico’s National Guard (GN) last year dropped by 63 percent — the lowest operational figure since its deployment in 2019 for public security tasks.

​The GN was created by presidential decree in March 2019 as part of López Obrador’s strategy to combat organized crime in the country.

Journalist Salvador Garcia Soto, in a Wednesday column for El Universal, said he believed that the peace pact AMLO is planning to make with organized crime is “naive and absurd.”

“The approach that López Obrador made Tuesday so naive and absurd, when he talked about his willingness to negotiate peace with criminal cartels, ‘to not act violently’,” wrote Garcia Soto.

“Until now, neither in recent history nor in the history of human civilization, has there ever been any criminal group — especially in the bloody drug business — that does not use violence as its strategy of operation, protection and expansion of illicit businesses. The ‘good and humanized narcos’ only exist in the mind of the president of Mexico and in the series of Netflix and Epigmenio Ibarra. The real drug traffickers who threaten, murder, torture and kidnap not only their rivals, but also innocent citizens who are disappeared or displaced and forced to abandon their lands, their homes and their origins, are the ones that Mexicans know.”

Until late Tuesday night, residents of Teocaltiche still reportedly heard the noise of rifles and drones with explosives, which were used in the criminal attack. Various social media posts likewise showed the violence that the residents were subjected to, chief among them vehicle burnings.

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