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Soldiers went on parade Thursday in Culiacán, Sonora, to mark the opening of military exhibition in the city. Soldiers went on parade Thursday in Culiacán, Sonora, to mark the opening of a military exhibition in the city.

Parallel narco-governments need to be stopped, warns US ambassador

If organized crime continues to expand it is a threat that is going to get worse: Christopher Landau

Criminal organizations function as parallel governments in parts of Mexico and their power will only increase unless an effort is made to stop them, United States Ambassador Christopher Landau warned on Thursday.

“We’ve already seen that in several parts of Mexico there is . . . a parallel narco-government . . . where on the surface it appears that everything is normal, right?” Landau said at a symposium in Monterrey, Nuevo León.

“People go to school, to the movie theater, but they don’t meddle with the narcos – [who] really have the power. The territory where they have this kind of power cannot be [allowed] to continue expanding through the republic. It’s very important for the future of Mexico. If we don’t combat it now, it will get much worse,” the ambassador said.

Referring to the unprecedented show of cartel strength in Culiacán, Sinaloa, last month that was triggered by an operation to capture a son of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, Landau asked:

“If Culiacán doesn’t wake us all up to the reality of the situation, I don’t know what we are waiting for. If [organized crime] is not stopped, this is a threat that is going to get worse.”

Drug demand in US among causes of violence in Mexico, ambassador admits.
Drug demand in US among causes of violence in Mexico, ambassador admits.

He added: “We have to confront these security challenges; it’s extremely important for the future of Mexico. It cannot be that there are groups of criminals that have control of part of the territory, that’s basic to sovereignty. It must be the army that has the monopoly.”

The ambassador acknowledged that the demand for drugs in the United States and the trafficking of U.S. arms to Mexico are causes of the violence plaguing the country.

“. . . It’s an embarrassment that there are so many drugs in my country. I don’t understand why this happens in a nation that provides so many opportunities,” Landau said.

He said that United States authorities are investigating 200 cases of arms trafficking to Mexico and that 19 people were arrested in connection with one case related to a weapon found in Guadalajara, Jalisco.

The ambassador emphasized the need for cooperation between Mexico and the United States on three binational issues: organized crime, the illegal trafficking of weapons and drugs, and illegal immigration.

“Neither of our countries is safe if the other one isn’t, neither country can face up to organized crime on its own. This is a shared responsibility,” Landau said.

After the massacre of nine members of a Mormon family on November 4, United States President Donald Trump said the U.S. was prepared to help Mexico “wage war” on drug cartels but President López Obrador declined the offer.

Concluding his address, Landau said he didn’t want to be an ambassador who only makes speeches but rather one who plays a role in achieving successful security cooperation between Mexico and the United States.

The ambassador, who took up his position in August, also said that a prosperous Mexico is important for the economy of the United States.

Source: Milenio (sp) 

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