Coronavirus
Both soldiers and sicarios distribute care packages in Mexico. Both soldiers and sicarios distribute care packages in Mexico.

Organizations charge narcos’ help for needy shows authorities’ failure

Organized crime has taken advantage of the absence of the government to position itself as a benefactor

A coalition of more than 30 nonprofit organizations has demanded that the government increase the distribution of food to those most affected by the coronavirus and not leave the task to criminal organizations.

In recent weeks organizations such as the Jalisco New Generation and the Gulf cartels have seized on the marketing strategy of handing out boxes of food, emblazoned with their brand, stepping into a role the coalition argues that the government should be filling.

The coalition, composed of groups including Common Cause, Mexico United Against Crime, Mexicans Against Corruption, and even the Michoacán Chess Clubs Association, says that cartels have donated “narco-pantries” to the needy in at least 12 states across the country.

“There is no antecedent in the country’s history of media campaigns of such intensity, and they are the result of regional and even national coordination between organized crime to carry out propaganda competition with local and federal governments,” they said in a joint statement containing 140 signatures. 

Organized crime has taken advantage of the absence of the government to position itself as a benefactor, both in rural and urban areas of the country, they said.

A representative of Alejandra Guzmán delivers a box of supplies.
A representative of Alejandra Guzmán delivers a box of supplies bearing the image of her father, convicted drug lord El Chapo.

“These criminal groups take advantage of the dismantling of social support programs and institutions and the worsening of the economic crisis to reinforce an image of sensitive and effective benefactors,” the statement continued. 

The coalition denounced the lack of official condemnation of the cartels’ community handouts, calling them deceptive measures to garner support ahead of the violence, kidnapping and extortion that occur when a cartel infiltrates a town. 

The coalition demands that “governments build true networks of economic and social support that allow all Mexicans to glimpse a different horizon than that of ineptitude, irresponsibility, indolence and organized crime.”

At a press conference on April 20, President López Obrador acknowledged that cartels have been distributing groceries. “This does not help,” he said, urging criminals to stop delivering food items and instead focus on love for their fellow man.

The National Defense Ministry reports that since April 6 it has delivered 517,508 care packages of food in Baja California Sur, Campeche, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Guanajuato, Nayarit , Quintana Roo, Sonora and Yucatán.

Source: Reforma (sp)

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