Cartels control a third of México: Financial Times

Monday 27 May, 2024
2 mins read


México CITY (apro).- Drug trafficking cartels in México control more territory than ever before, equivalent to around a third of the country, according to an estimate by the US military cited by the British newspaper Financial Times.

In a comprehensive article titled “México’s drug cartels are thriving,” the European media outlet takes up President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s phrase that he would address the issue of security with the policy of “hugs, not bullets.”

Five years later, he highlights, “the violence is worse than ever.”

The text signed by Michael Stott and Christine Murray points out that the problem of organized crime in México has worsened dramatically during the five and a half years of presidency of the “leftist populist” López Obrador and has become so serious that it threatens the future of the country, of according to security experts cited by his report.

“The cartels control more territory than ever before, around a third of the country, according to an estimate by the US military,” the report says, highlighting the international expansion of the Cartel. Sinaloa and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG).

“The battles between local affiliates of the CJNG and the cartel Sinaloa have turned previously peaceful Ecuador into one of the most violent countries in the world,” says the Financial Times.

Control of the narrative

Even though the text points out that the power of organized crime now represents a serious risk not only for the population but also for companies and the economy, it also highlights that the government has avoided paying a serious political price for the deterioration of security, judging by the 65 percent approval rating in the polls.

“The government has been trying above all to control the narrative; security policy has been diluted to the point of turning it into a public relations exercise for electoral purposes,” says Falko Ernst, senior México analyst at Crisis Group, quoted in the report.

The text also includes the opinion of Eduardo Guerrero security expert at Lantia Consultores, who says that López Obrador’s policy of “hugs and not bullets” had the unintended effect of expanding the geographical presence of organized crime to new areas, “precisely because the army was not confronting the criminals.”

Another aspect that the Financial Times mentions is how criminal groups are interfering more blatantly in the elections.

“This year’s campaign, which includes elections for federal and state congresses, governorships and mayors, has been the deadliest in history. So far, 36 candidates and another 45 people linked to the elections have been murdered, 15 more kidnapped and dozens more threatened, according to the Electoral Laboratory think tank,” explains the FT.

The British media exposes that López Obrador’s six-year term will be the most violent in the history of México in terms of total murders, with more than 175,000 murdered so far. Likewise, citing experts, the murder figures do not include the record number of people reported missing, almost 115 thousand last year, 43 thousand of whom disappeared during López Obrador’s presidency.

“Sheinbaum would continue the strategy”

Described as “López Obrador’s chosen successor,” presidential candidate Claudia Sheinbaum would broadly continue López Obrador’s strategy of avoiding direct confrontation with the cartels, as well as relying on a military-led National Guard, notes the Financial Times.

It is also expected to incorporate elements of the strategy she used as head of Government of México City, executing programs for young people to keep them off the streets and promoting research capacity.

The text cites analysts who are not convinced of the proposal and point out that Sheinbaum’s academic training and upbringing in a middle-class suburb of México City have not prepared her to deal with brutal cartel wars.

“Given how serious the situation has become, many wonder if México’s next leader will be able to make a big difference,” says eThe text of the British newspaper.

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Source: La Redacción from Proceso on 2024-05-22 05:47:33

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