AMLO government breaks historic homicide record in Mexico

From January to June 2023, 15,082 homicides were recorded in the country, according to preliminary data published by the National Institute of Statistics and Geography. Thus, the president has accumulated 160,594 deaths during his four and a half years in office, the highest figure since 1990, the year official records began.

This Tuesday, the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI) of Mexico announced a prior registration of homicides in the country between January and June 2023, during which 15,082 murders were recorded. With this, the government of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) added 160,594 homicides in its first four and a half years of its six-year term and broke the death record achieved in the administration of his predecessor, Enrique Peña Nieto.

David Saucedo, a political analyst specializing in public security in Mexico, explains that organized crime This was not the priority of López Obrador, from facing the elections During the presidential and legislative elections of June 2, he responded to other demands. “The federal budget now focuses on the dispersion of social assistance, for the construction of major infrastructure works like the Maya Train, the airport, social programs, Benito Juárez scholarships, programs for the elderly. Other problems, such as insecurity, are background », Explains the expert.

Claudia Sheinbaum greets Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador on the day she was chosen by the ruling party as its presidential candidate, September 7, 2023. Photo: Reuters

Another report, “End of six-year mandate, inability to achieve security objectives is confirmed”, prepared by the National Citizen Observatory, marks another calculation, emphasizing that in AMLO’s management the figure of 171,000 intentional homicides . The report highlights that other crimes committed during his term, such as extortion, rape and corporate theft, also set new records, and warns that López Obrador’s government will be in debt in terms of crime reduction, for which he will be remembered as the most violent six-year period in history .

“Perhaps the president’s main incentive to pay attention to insecurity is Pressure from Washington . In the United States, we continue to see a significant increase in deaths linked to fentanyl use. Fentanyl that is processed from Mexico to the United States, in part due to the cartel wars that exist in various parts of the country. This local media pressure and international pressure from Washington are forcing President Andrés Manuel to temporarily focus on the issue of insecurity, but in reality he has focused all his attention on the electoral process,” Saucedo believes.

The figures have been on an upward trend since the mandate of Felipe Calderon (2006-2012), which gave start of the war against drug trafficking , which began almost immediately after he took office. Thus, Saucedo considers that the The figures the currents are “compound” and they do not show the true number of intentional homicides, because many victims’ bodies are hidden by organized gangs dedicated to these crimes.

President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa during the inauguration of the Estela de Luz monument on Reforma Avenue in Mexico City on January 7, 2012. Photo: Presidency

“Drug cartels bring corpse hiding strategy , dismember them, dump them in bodies of water, cremate them or bury them in drug graves. These are clandestine narcocemeteries where drug traffickers leave corpses,” explains Saucedo.

Tyler Mattiace, a researcher for the NGO Human Rights Watch in Mexico, recognizes that it is likely that many intentional homicides are not included in the death toll from disappearances caused by cartels. “The disappearances could coincide with homicides in which the person has not been identified or who is in clandestine graves », Speculates Mattiace. Until October last year, 5,698 clandestine graves had been recorded, according to data from the National Research Commission (NBC).

The Commission found that the majority of clandestine graves (2,863) were located during the administration of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador; while from 2006 to December 1, 2018, 2,835 were counted.

During the mandate of Enrique Pena Nieto (2012-2018), the number of homicides was 156,066 , as recorded by Inegi. Until this new report, the record under Peña Nieto’s administration was the highest achieved in Mexican history, now surpassed by the administration of López Obrador, who represents the highest figure since 1990, when official records began.

Enrique Peña Nieto, former president of Mexico, during the G20 Leaders’ Summit, November 30, 2018. Photo: Presidency

Both analysts agree that the high homicide figures have not harmed AMLO’s government, since the majority of Mexicans do not blame him for this long-established reality in the country. Saucedo even points out that This benefited AMLO and his National Regeneration Movement party (Brunette) . “The truth is that the President’s party did not do badly electorally, with the insecurity. The president began his six-year term in 2018 with only two or three governorships under his belt. He closes the six-year term with more than 20 governorships, out of a total of 32 to his credit. The violence helped Morena’s candidates use this speech to erode and exhaust opposition governors and also at predecessors of López Obrador,” he explains.

For Mattiace, it is rather a question of perception of Mexican citizens, who, according to him, do not criticize AMLO’s strategy in this matter, because they have lived with this reality for a long time and understand that the problem existed before the inauguration of López Obrador. “It’s like blaming the president because it’s winter and it’s cold,” compares Mattiace.

A current report from Oraculus, a survey aggregator in Mexico, shows that until January 18 69% of Mexican citizens approve of the management of President López Obrador, while only 28% failed. At the end of 2023, AMLO finished his fifth year in government with 56% citizen approval and 44% disapproval, as revealed by a national survey by El Financiero. On matters of public security, his government obtained 24% favorable opinion and 63% unfavorable opinion.

In 2019, AMLO created the Mexican National Guard , as a strategy to combat organized crime in the country. Initially, this initiative would be civilian in nature and replace the defunct Federal Police, but the president quickly declared that military institutions were necessary in the fight against crime. In July 2023, four years after the birth of the National Guard (GN), the organization already militarized has performed poorly in security, all amid the highest rates of disappearances and homicides, according to a report by the Observatory of the National Guard and Militarization of Mexico and the organization Causa en Común.

Part of the Mexican National Guard delegation, received by the deputy director of the Carabineros at the time, General Esteban Díaz, in April 2022. Photo: Archive

The Human Rights Watch researcher explains that there was a great political struggle between the government and civil society after the creation of the National Guard, because although it is a government institution and would depend of the Ministry of Security and Citizen Protection and National Defense, most of its employees are military who still receive their base salary as a soldier, even if they don’t see results.

“The Guard has no investigative capacity. They arrested very few people for serious crimes like homicide or things like that. The Attorney General’s Office is the one that has the capacity to investigate, but the current Attorney’s Office has been very inactive, you could say. What emerges from the Guard’s reports is that its primary objective has always been immigration control . The National Guard arrests many migrants and transfers them to the custody of immigration authorities,” explains Mattiace.

Saucedo says the Guard is still training. “For now, the National Guard is only patrolling, dissuasive presence , but does not have police investigation capabilities. It is an institution which is in training and which therefore does not produce results. The National Guard does not make arrests of high-profile drug traffickers, does not dismantle criminal networks . In reality, they only hold paramilitary parades in various regions of the country, but they have no real performance in the fight against insecurity. It’s a The president’s strategy “, considers the analyst.

The report published this Tuesday by Inegi indicates that the homicide rate between January and June was 12 cases per 100,000 inhabitants nationally. The main means used to commit homicides was assault with firearms, at 71.3%. Next come the use of knives, with 9.1%, and hanging, strangulation and suffocation, with 6.7%. For men, the rate was 21 homicides per 100,000 people, while for women it was 2.6 per 100,000 people.

Although the figures are preliminary and could vary when the report is published next semester, it was already clear in June 2023 that the government of López Obrador would surpass the homicide record, a year and a half from the end of his mandate . Indeed, last December, the consulting firm TResearch gave a concise overview: During AMLO’s six-year term, 95 murders were recorded daily, or one every 15 minutes.

Paradoxically, on September 1, 2022, almost four years after becoming president, the president wrote on Twitter: “From the first years of our government We have contained the number of homicides and it is decreasing “. In 2022, according to the results of the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (Inegi), 31,895 people were murdered in Mexico.

Source: Latercera


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