More Tragedies And "blunders": What They Warn For Mexico If AMLO Clings To Its "hugs, Not Bullets" Without Facing Violence | Univision News Events

Official crime figures in the first nine months of this year in Mexico point more to "bullets" than to the "hugs" that President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has offered criminals. 22,059 intentional homicides. 116,089 malicious injuries. 726 feminicides. 1,032 kidnappings.

The rage with which these criminals, sometimes linked to drug trafficking and organized crime, have carried out in the last two months ambushes, massacres and clashes with heavy caliber fire has shocked even a country where almost 100 people are murdered every day.

Despite the deadly balance of recent months, AMLO, as the president of the left is known that in December will fulfill his first year in power, defends with nails and teeth a policy that he summarizes as one of "hugs, not bullets ".

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"Lately we have faced difficult situations, but that is not going to divert us, on the contrary, in crises, even if they are transitory, positions are more defined. For example, all this from the violence of Culiacán to the unfortunate facts of the family is killed (the LeBarón and Langford) woke up, encouraged, authoritarian efforts to use force, "the president said the week at one of his morning conferences about the strategy of his predecessors.

"We will not continue along the same trite path as always," said AMLO, who has promised to focus his attention on trying to solve the cystic violence by addressing social problems such as poverty and inequality.

"More tragedies and blunders"

Like López Obrador, security experts recognize the failure of the militarization strategy of Calderón and Peña Nieto and the need to reduce social gaps. However, they criticize the fact that López Obrador lacks a concrete strategy to address his new approach against crime.

"The containment of violence and security in our country is not fought with the reconstruction of social fabrics, with promoting the prevention of criminal incidence (…) There should be no dissociation," said security expert Erubiel Tirado in a conversation with Univision News.

One of the pillars of López Obrador's security strategy has been the creation of a National Guard, a force that seeks to remove the military from the streets but that paradoxically will be mainly composed of soldiers and sailors during its first five years.

This National Guard has so far stumbled at key moments, such as during the disastrous detention of Ovid Guzman.

In Culiacán, he formed the force that embarrassed the government with an operation cataloged by a security expert as "amateur," partly because it was launched without a search warrant necessary to quickly and safely break into Ovid's lair. Guzman

"They were without air support … the communications were not blocked, there was a lot of improvisation of this government, but there was a good intention," said Edgardo Buscaglia, an Columbia University scholar who has advised anti-mafia units in several countries .

In other cases, such as the fierce massacre of the LeBarón and Langford families, the National Guard has been practically absent.

The analyst Tirado classifies it as a "deliberate omission" of the security forces because, although the ambush was perpetrated in a remote area, it is known that there is criminal activity because of territorial disputes by criminal groups. The government said last week that the massacre took place in a context of confrontation between La Línea, a group linked to the Juarez Cartel, and Los Salazar, an organization related to the Sinaloa Cartel.

According to the authorities, the two criminal groups collided in the early hours of November 4, hours before the massacre in which three mothers and six children were killed. The massacre was blamed by the authorities for a confusion, because the family was traveling a dirt road aboard vans like those used by criminals in the area. Members of the LeBarón family have rejected that version and emphasized that one of the mothers was shot even though she left the vehicle with her arms raised trying to stop the shooting.

"Like any other institutional creation, the National Guard is still an embryonic entity and the only thing that has been there are transfers of soldiers and sailors, particularly soldiers, to the new armed body, and that is gradual," said Tirado. This helps explain why that body still seems to operate without proper gear.

"What is observed is that there is no planning or a strategic vision … I am surprised and outraged that the official justification of this state or federal government is that the Sonora tragedy occurs because there is no capacity to monitor this area" he added.

López Obrador has also been criticized for assigning National Guard troops to other actions, such as containing the flow of thousands of migrants trying to cross Mexico to reach the United States, yielding to President Donald Trump's threats to impose tariffs on Mexican products.

Task forces with broad scaffolding are needed

In that context, analysts believe that AMLO's current security strategy does not lead to "anything", since Mexico suffers from "state gaps" and suffers from the lack of institutions that work together to combat, first, criminal organizations that economically support politicians and, second, the hit men or criminals of drug cartels. The Buscaglia expert catalogs it as an "anti-mafia strategy".

"You have institutional gaps that are a Christmas gift, a patrimonial paradise for organized crime that puts money on politicians and businessmen … That makes organized crime, like Sinaloa's, which in the 1990s was in 15 countries, in 2011 according to the Pentagon (in the United States) it was at 56, and now our last estimate gives us 81, "Buscaglia told Univision News.

Such a strategy requires what in the United States is known as a task force with a scaffolding that goes from a judge who monitors that the prosecutor's actions do not violate human rights, a federal intelligence police officer who serves as a liaison , a financial intelligence unit, customs, a tax agency and a state property investigation unit, all "around a table addressing a cause for organized crime," Buscaglia outlined.

"In the LeBarón cause in the United States immediately a task force would have formed, at this point you would have eight federal and state government institutions, which in this case would be the closest state to where the massacre occurred, all around a table providing bits of the network for the control judge and the prosecutor to push the criminal case against the entire network, not only against the two hit men or four who murdered "the nine family members," he said.

"We do not intend for this government to have 45 anti-mafia institutions running. Nobody asks that of any government if it has just arrived, but if you propose to propose even if it is the institution and a government does not even propose it to you … "he said.

In photos: The LeBarón fire Christina Langford, the last victim of the massacre against the Mormon group in Mexico
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