Without effectiveness, AMLO’s strategy against cartels

More than three years after President Andrés Manuel López Obrador pledged to make Mexico a more just and peaceful society with his “hugs, not bullets” strategy, his administration has avoided large-scale operations against cartels and cooperation between the US and Mexico on the matter has decreased to levels not seen for 15 years, which points to a continued threat from criminal groups for both countries, says a recent report from the United States Congress.

The document entitled “Mexico: Organized Crime and Drug Trafficking”, prepared by the Investigation Service, warns that the administration of President López Obrador, who upon coming to power expressed that he would not wage a war against drug trafficking, but would address the social conditions that they allow criminal groups to prosper, a strategy he summed up as “hugs, not bullets,” has not effectively weakened criminal groups.

The report notes that after three years in office, López Obrador has avoided large-scale police action against the cartels, while continuing the militarized security strategy of the two previous administrations by authorizing the Mexican Armed Forces to carry out security duties for the remainder of his term.

Continued revelations of corruption at the highest levels, including public officials, Morena politicians and members of the police forces, with criminal groups, and their apparent control of Mexican territory, show that the cartels are more entrenched than ever, indicates the analysis.


The report adds that some analysts question President López Obrador’s commitment to fighting corruption in a way that could help curb persistent violence related to organized crime in Mexico. In addition to the fact that some analysts maintain that progress to implement the anti-corruption system has not materialized under the López Obrador administration.

In addition, it is noted that, in 2022, cooperation between the United States and Mexico is the weakest in the last 15 years.

The study adds that President López Obrador entered office in 2018 with broad promises to fight corruption, reduce violence and promote socioeconomic programs, but due to the crisis of the Covid-19 pandemic, many observers questioned whether the social objectives of López de López Obrador are achievable.

This by noting that some time ago, the Mexican president announced that he would move away from the Mérida Initiative and join the Joe Biden administration in a new security approach, through the Bicentennial strategy, which continues to be developed in 2022.

While the growing criminal cells stemming from the cartels, the continuing high global demand for narcotics, and poor cooperation between US and Mexican security forces point to a continuing threat to both the United States and Mexico.

It was also said that the broad coverage of the cartels and their control of large territories in Mexico is described as “alarming” by the US State Department.

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