The drug war is over and arresting drug lords is no longer a priority, President López Obrador told reporters yesterday.
“We are no longer at war,” he announced after a reporter asked if the government had captured any crime bosses since anti-fuel theft operations began in December.
“We haven’t detained any cartel leaders because that’s not our principal function. The government’s foremost responsibility is to ensure public security; our strategy no longer includes capturing drug lords.”
As for the drug war, launched in 2007 by former president Felipe Calderón and continued by his successor, Enrique Peña Nieto, the president replied, “There is officially no more war. We want peace, and we are going to achieve peace.”
López Obrador said his strategy will focus instead on reducing homicides, which he claims is seeing progress. He expressed satisfaction over a report that said Tuesday’s homicides totaled just 54.
The daily average during 2018, a record year for homicides, was 90.
The president said what was important to him was reducing the number of homicides, robberies and kidnappings.
The president’s announcement drew skepticism from security consultant Alejandro Hope, who told the AFP news agency there was “a clear contradiction” in Wednesday’s statements.
“His anti-crime strategy barely changes anything, it’s not different from that of previous governments, and even accentuates the use of the armed forces for public security.”
A priority for former president Peña Nieto was locking up cartel capos, which his administration did. It arrested more than 100, including Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, Dámaso López, Miguel Ángel Treviño, Omar Treviño, Héctor Beltrán, Servando Gómez, Vicente Carrillo, Nazario Moreno and Enrique Plancarte.
But instead of curbing violence, it only became worse as the cartels fragmented and traffickers began to broaden the range of their criminal activities.