Some Mexicans worry that cartels are tightening control of politics

Last month, Silvano Aureoles, the outgoing governor of the violent state of Michoacán, Mexico, sat on a plastic stool outside the National Palace for several hours, waiting in vain for a meeting with the president.

In his hand, he held a pile of documents that he wanted to hand him. Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador He said this supports his claim that there is a link between the President’s Morena Party and organized crime. He said these relationships put Mexico on the path of becoming a “narcotics.”

Critics view this spectacle as a political gimmick by a politician whose democratic revolutionary left party is in June 6 midterm electionsIn contrast, Morena has won 11 of 15 state elections and controlled almost the entire Pacific coast of the country, including the fortresses of drug cartels.

Some media commentators and opposition politicians seized on Morena’s victory in the Pacific, saying they implied the ruling party Reach an agreement With organized criminal gangs violence People are increasingly worried about whether the government can fulfill its promise to curb violent crime.

Experts say that it is ridiculous to imagine the boss of the Sinaloa Cartel or the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG). MexicoThe most powerful criminal group ordered people to vote for Morena across the Pacific coast.

However, they emphasized that this does not mean that organized criminal groups did not participate in elections. Traditionally, elections are transactions between powerful local crime, business, and political bosses.

“tide [among organised crime groups] Has turned to support Morena,” said senior analyst Falko Ernst. International Crisis Organization, A think tank focused on armed conflict, cited criminal groups in the violent Tierra Caliente area of ​​Michoacán.

“They think they are a better bet on power because public opinion is still on Morena’s side, so for some people, Morena is a more relevant tool.[to support]… But this does not mean collusion. “

Aguilia, a small town in Michoacán, has become a major flashpoint for cartel violence ©Alan Ortega/Reuters

Aureoles didn’t believe it. “It’s a coincidence that they won the grand prize… Pacific Corridor. Who would let them?” he told the Financial Times after a few days of sit-in.

“Morena is becoming a drug party, and when people’s most important issue is security, the president is looking for another way, which is very dangerous…. Morena has become a tool of organized crime,” he Say.

Lopez Obrador denies such allegations. He refused to meet with Aureoles and stated that the governor should file a claim with the relevant judicial authorities. Aureoles faces similar accusations of ties to criminal groups, but he denies this accusation.

The President of Mexico rejected a recent U.S. estimate that showed 30-35% Mexico is controlled by organized criminal groups.

The continued power of cartels is often reminded.Recently putative CJNG members procession They have military firepower in the town of Agilia in Michoacán, which has become a major flashpoint.

Other brutal attacks include an attack in the northern state of Tamaulipas last month. 19 people died After the gunmen apparently fired at civilians at will, Lopez Obrador’s strategy became more intense as the government worked to reduce the level of record homicides.

14,243 Homicide case In the first five months of this year, there was almost no change from the 14,673 cases in the same period in 2020. Last year was the second deadliest murder on record, with 34,554 murders, compared with 34,681 in 2019.

The president said he would not give up his”Hugs are not bullets“Methods-trying to help disadvantaged young people study and work to avoid joining the cartel.

More than 30 political candidates were killed before Mexico’s mid-term polls last month ©Armando Solis/AP

Some of the actions of López Obrador provoked criticism of the cartel’s laissez-faire approach.he Released the son Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, the boss of the Sinaloa Cartel sentenced to jail; met and shake hands Guzman’s mother; and Public apology Because of using the nickname of the drug lord. The day after the election, he said that organized criminal groups “behaved well.”

“Every president tries to negotiate with drug dealers… Politically, you have to deal with these people,” said Benjamin Smith, a professor at Warwick University in Coventry, UK, who recently published an article History of Mexico’s drug trade.

Romain Le Cour Grandmaison, the project coordinator of the non-profit organization Noria Research in Mexico and Central America, said that to say that Morena was colluding with criminal groups is “fetched”, “because it is far beyond Morena’s scope”, and the alliance continues Variety.

“If you want to stay in power or win power, you have to talk to a local strongman-it may be a drug lord, a businessman or a mayor… You have to make deals to win elections, sometimes with the narco, and violence is at the centre of the game,” he added.

However, to date, Lopez Obrador has not succeeded in solving this problem.

Stephanie Brewer, the director of Mexico for the Latin American Office in Washington, used the nickname of the president to say, “It is commendable that Anlo admits that he must change course” and has taken a hard line on organized crime from the past.

“But the Mexican federal government does seem to abandon its strategy-establishing a capable civilian police force and strengthening criminal investigations. If criminal groups can continue to go unpunished, it will continue to be a huge driver of violence.”

Ernst of ICG is less hopeful: “It seems to have now accepted that this is an unsolvable problem.”

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