The Mexican government describes the blockades and massacres as “criminal propaganda” by the narco

The Mexican government describes the blockades and massacres as “criminal propaganda” by the narco

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s security cabinet has held an unusual press conference with all its members to explain the chaos the drug trafficker caused for four days last week. Organized crime besieged entire populations of Jalisco, Guanajuato, Baja California and Ciudad Juárez, in Chihuahua for hours from Tuesday to last Friday, with roadblocks, the burning of shops and vehicles, buses and gas stations, in addition to the close-range killings of a dozen innocent neighbors. “The federal security strategy is working,” was the mantra repeated by all cabinet members. As if the citizens hadn’t seen five corners of the country ablaze, with no more authority or uniform than that of the assassins. “That’s just criminal propaganda,” the group of officials judged.

Images of entire cities across the country being torched and cornered by drug dealers blew up in the President’s office this Monday. Security remains a major priority for his government, which inherited extremely high levels of violence from its predecessors and has only stemmed the upward trend in homicides. But Mexico supports unsustainable dates for a country not officially at war. They kill 100 people a day, more than 100,500 have disappeared, including more than 33,000 during the current government. The dead and the demonstrations of power by the narcos are piling up in front of the National Palace. And the cabinet this Monday tried to put out all the fires, literally and figuratively, in the image of a country with a government parallel to the state.

The cabinet has concluded that drug attacks on the population are in response to the results of the federal security strategy. This crime is weakened by the tasks of the government and therefore wants to draw attention to “being strong with advertising messages”, said Defense Minister Luis Cresencio Sandoval. An official statement that does not reassure the victims, the cornered population, and only sends a political message to their opponents. The official group has not clarified how it is possible that organized crime, when reduced, is able to subjugate entire communities in this way, and whether the multiple attacks are related. If the results are as effective as they suggest, why should the public pay for the narcos’ anger without government agencies preventing it?

After Friday's day of violence, Mexican soldiers were deployed in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico, on Saturday.Mexican soldiers were deployed in Tijuana, Baja California state, Mexico, on Saturday following Friday’s day of violence. Joebeth Terriquez (EFE)

Undersecretary for Security Ricardo Mejía has announced 36 arrests over the past week in connection with the attacks. Many of them are prosecuted for federal crimes, carrying weapons for exclusive use by the army, and drug trafficking. General Sandoval this year added a list of hits against drug traffickers across the country, which includes seized kilos of cocaine, fentanyl, marijuana and methamphetamine alongside long guns. Although none of these sums have managed to stem the power of the drug trade, as the attacks that began Tuesday last week have shown.

Minister Sandoval explained that it all started last Tuesday with an almost impromptu operation in a community in Jalisco’s Ixtlahuacán del Río. The National Guard and Army soldiers spotted a strong movement of more than 20 vans with gunmen and decided to go after them. Not knowing where they were going, the military entered the lion’s den, the official version says. A meeting between capos of the powerful Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG). She was shot at. According to the official, one suspected criminal was killed and six others arrested after the clash. No sign of the capos who are believed to have met or wanted to be present at this meeting – the general hasn’t clarified it because they found out after the confrontation – Double R and Apá, two of the Jalisco leaders who are in control reserve the central area of ​​the country.

After the attack in Ixtlahuacán, the drug traffickers’ terror spread to other communities in Guanajuato and Jalisco, where the cartel bosses attacked the army. They burned down 28 shops, set fire to 19 vehicles, barricades were erected on the streets. Chaos and panic once again gripped the two states that have endured the horrors of drug violence for at least five years.

More than 1,500 kilometers from there, on the northern border, Ciudad Juárez was burning with the same greed two days later, on Thursday. The only common denominator is that the power of the drug dealers in this area would do the same without any authority preventing it. In this case, the fuse was lit at a state penitentiary where two local gangs backed by the major cartels — Sinaloa and Juarez — clashed, killing two inmates and leaving more than twenty injured. Hours later, the prison’s mismanagement spread to the streets of Juárez, with a pattern similar to that in Jalisco and Guanajuato: burned buildings, gas stations, and Molotov cocktails fired at grocery stores. But in this border town, organized crime also shot dead nine citizens unrelated to their internal struggles.

The next day, at the eastern end of the border, in Tijuana, Tecate, and Mexicali, the narco also displayed dominance. 25 cars were set on fire, including private individuals and public transport buses. Panic spread among the thousands of citizens trying to get home after work. The streets of these cities became theaters of war, as had happened previously in Juárez, Jalisco and Guanajuato. A show of force by organized crime that contrasts with the government’s declaration of “mitigated” crime. “It was an effect to attract attention, to draw the attention of the authorities and to create a feeling that there was a lack of security,” the defense secretary said.

The citizens of these five states became clear who ruled their cities, at least in those hours. No criminal leader has been arrested, nor has a gang been dismantled. No action has been taken to give guarantees to citizens that something like this will not happen again in their country. Also, no member of the cabinet has taken responsibility for the fact that thousands of citizens have once again suffered the terror of drug dealers at the doors of their homes. If so, “criminal propaganda” has a more powerful message than any government action.

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