The capture of a wanted drug lord and his subsequent release after pressure from the Sinaloa Cartel set a dangerous precedent, revealing President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) and his cabinet to be impotent against the narco-terrorists controlling most of the country. The episode raises serious questions about Mexico’s role as a partner in the U.S. government’s fight against cartels.
This week, gunmen from Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion (CJNG) ambushed and murdered 13 police officers in a show of force with armored vehicles, rocket-propelled grenades, .50 caliber rifles, and other weapons.
The violence comes at a time when AMLO has reassigned most of the country’s Marines to coastal cities–away from violent cartel hotspots. For years, the Mexican Marines earned a reputation as a trustworthy fighting force in a country where large parts of the security apparatus and politicians serve crime lords, according to recent testimony from the trial of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.
The withdrawal of military forces in addition to AMLO’s rhetoric about not fighting cartel “violence with violence” came to a turning point Thursday afternoon when federal forces captured and later released Ovidio “El Raton” Guzman Lopez, one of El Chapo’s 10 sons. Friday, AMLO revealed that his security staff made the decision to release Guzman to preserve the peace after the Sinaloa Cartel deployed hundreds of gunmen to terrorize Culiacan. Regardless, the violence proceeded for hours after the heir’s release.
— Carlos Zúñiga Pérez (@Carloszup) October 17, 2019
The combat experienced in Culiacan is not new. For years, cartels operating in border cities near Texas have morphed into paramilitary forces capable of outgunning authorities. The access to firepower, artillery, and explosives pushes the criminal organizations beyond mere drug smugglers into factions capable of performing terror tactics like seen in Middle Eastern war zones.
During his Friday press conference, AMLO said his government was focused on fighting for social justice and improving the country’s living conditions in the face of the narco threat. The president previously said he would report criminals to their mothers for spankings and even encouraged civilians to yell “Fuchi Guacala” (yuck!) at the sight of gunmen to shame them into improved behavior.
Señor Presidente, Mexico esta en llamas.
Ildefonso Ortiz is an award-winning journalist with Breitbart Texas. He co-founded Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles project with Brandon Darby and senior Breitbart management. You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook. He can be contacted at Iortiz@breitbart.com.