Small Wars Journal

How Mexico Is Losing the War Against Cartels

How Mexico Is Losing the War Against Cartels by Deborah Bonello – Vice

The automatic gunfire started just after dawn in the tiny, rural town of el Aguaje, southern Mexico. More than 30 gunmen ambushed a group of state policemen out on patrol, killing 14. Walkie-talkie audio later posted on social media depicted a grim picture of the aftermath. One policeman pleads for backup as his colleague groans in pain the background. “I’m dying,” he says. Photos and TV footage of the scene showed police trucks burned out, officers dead on the ground, bits of brain on the road.

Just a few days later, Mexico’s federal government experienced a different defeat when it attempted to arrest the son of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán, Ovidio, in Culiacán, the capital of the state of Sinaloa, heartland of the Sinaloa Cartel. After initially detaining Ovidio, Mexican soldiers were forced to let him go when hundreds of cartel henchman surrounded the house in which the arrest took place. They brought the city to a standstill, burning trucks and firing on government forces. Videos showed civilian gunmen marauding around the city in pick-ups mounted with automatic weapons, firing machine guns into the streets.

Just before the police ambush, Mexico President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (known as AMLO), who coined the motto “hugs, not bullets” as a way of solving Mexico’s security issues, said that the country’s brutal, drug-related violence had reached an inflection point. He was right: the decade-long crime wars had reached a tipping point, but for the worse. The police massacre and the mess in Culiacán have served to amplify AMLO’s poorly defined security strategy, and homicides have spiked since he took power in December - making a joke of his government’s attempts to enforce the rule of law…

Read on.

Categories: El Centro