Saturday, June 15, 2024

Tortilla shops, schools reopen after extortion threats in Zihuatanejo

Tortilla shops and schools have reopened in Zihuatanejo, Guerrero, after closing last week due to arson attacks and threats from organized crime.

Tortillerías – most of which closed last Thursday after receiving calls and messages demanding payments in exchange for not setting their businesses on fire – reopened Saturday, while students returned to classes on Monday. Tortilla shop owners also received death threats, the newspaper Reforma reported.

A Zihuatanejo hotelier told Reforma that public transit services – which partially shut down last week after two vehicles were torched – are also returning to normal.

State and federal security forces have ramped up their presence in the Pacific coast resort town amid calls from residents and politicians for more to be done to combat criminals, who also set a Zihuatanejo beer store on fire last Thursday.

Two public transport vehicles were burned in the wave of violence that swept the city last week.
Two public transport vehicles were burned in the wave of violence that swept the city last week. Twitter / @General_Beltran

Federal Deputy Ivonne Ortega said that a new security strategy is needed in Zihuatanejo and other parts of the country because President López Obrador’s so-called “hugs, not bullets” approach – which favors addressing the root causes of violence over combating it with force – is not working.

“It’s clear that the ‘hugs, not bullets’ thing has no validity for [organized] crime and only provides impunity to the criminals to harass and attack citizens,” the Citizens Movement party lawmaker said.

“More and more regions of the country are at the mercy of those who violate the law. A real security strategy is urgently needed, not just propaganda,” Ortega said.

Manuel Añorve, an Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) senator and president of the upper house’s justice committee, said it was regrettable that organized crime had partially shut down Zihuatanejo and declared that federal security forces “must strengthen their presence” in the popular tourism destination.

The National Guard, the army and the navy patrolled the city’s streets over the weekend alongside state police.

Añorve said that the federal forces must maintain a permanent presence in order to ensure security in a destination that “generates thousands of jobs for Guerrero.”

Zihuatanejo, a municipality that includes the resort town of Ixtapa, is the southern state’s second most popular coastal destination after Acapulco, located 250 kilometers to the south. It is currently governed by PRI Mayor Jorge Sánchez Allec, while the Morena party, founded by López Obrador, has been in power in Guerrero since October.

With reports from Reforma 

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