Two non-governmental organizations have rejected President López Obrador’s claim that the security situation in Mexico has broadly improved since he took office.
During his second annual report to the nation on Tuesday, López Obrador asserted that the incidence of many crimes, including kidnappings, femicides, robberies and vehicle theft, have declined since he was sworn in as president in December 2018.
He acknowledged that homicides and extortion have increased but declared that there are no longer cases of torture, disappearances or massacres.
In response to the claims, government watchdog Causa en Común, or Common Cause, said in a statement that the crime rate in the first 20 months of the current government – December 2018 to July 2020 – was 16% higher than in the same period of former president Enrique Peña Nieto’s 2012-2018 administration.
Compared to ex-president Felipe Calderón’s first 20 months in office – December 2006 to July 2008 – the crime rate under López Obrador’s rule is 23% higher, the NGO said.
Causa en Común also said that official statistics show that femicides – the killing of women and girls on account of their gender – increased 5% in the first seven months of 2020 to 566 compared to the same period last year.
The number of femicides so far this year is the highest since federal authorities first recorded national data for the crime in 2015, it said.
“Another crime, whose increase the president didn’t mention, is domestic violence,” Causa en Común said, adding that its incidence is also at a five-year high.
The NGO acknowledged that López Obrador made mention of the rising homicide rate but said that it should be emphasized just how unacceptably high it is – “an average of 99 murders per day.”
It said that the reduction this year in crimes cited by López Obrador, including kidnappings, muggings and burglaries, had more to do with the coronavirus pandemic than anything the government has done.
Both Causa en Común and Amnesty International rejected the president’s claim about torture, disappearances and massacres.
“From January to July 2020, Causa en Común has registered 429 massacres and 404 cases of torture …” the former said.
Amnesty International said there have been 11,653 abductions since López Obrador took office and also noted that femicides have increased.
The president’s claim also drew a sharp response from Adrian LeBaron, who wondered if the massacre of nine members of his family didn’t count. “Has [the president] forgotten that of my daughter and grandchildren …?” he asked on Twitter.
The three women and six children were murdered in an ambush last November near the Sonora-Chihuahua border. López Obrador claimed last week that the case was close to being solved, a claim that LeBaron’s brother Adrian rejected.
López Obrador also claimed in his report that his administration has improved the justice system but Causa en Común said that the government has in fact “abandoned” the nation’s police, prosecutor’s offices and prison system.
“In none of these areas, which are essential for any security policy, is there a plan for reform or the public investment that could support it,” the NGO said.
The veracity of some parts of the president’s address, including his claims about the reduction in crime, was also questioned by some political analysts.
Víctor Manuel Alarcón, a political scientist at the Metropolitan Autonomous University in Mexico City, said that López Obrador’s claim that most crimes have declined by about 30% since he took office “isn’t supported or is of very dubious veracity at least.”
Source: Reforma (sp)