MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – A video depicting a huge military-style convoy of one of Mexico’s most powerful drug cartridges Friday saw President Andres Manuel López Obredor visit the group’s heart.
FILE PHOTO: Mexico’s President Andres Manuel López Obredor held a news conference at the National Palace on March 17, 2020 in Mexico City, Mexico. REUTERS / Henry Romero /
In the two-minute clip, members of the fearsome Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) stand in exhaustion with a seemingly endless procession of armored vehicles.
“Only the mencho men,” the cartel members shout, pumping their fists and flashing their long guns. Ro was a salute to their leader, Nemcio “El Mencho” Oseguera, one of the country’s most wanted drug lords.
The release of the video marked Lopez Obredor’s meeting with some of the cartel’s strongholds in the states of Guanajuato, Jalisco and Colima.
“They are sending a clear message … that they basically rule Mexico, not Lopez Obredor”, said Mike Vigil, a former head of international operations for the US Drug Enforcement Administration.
A spokesperson for Lopez Obredor’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
It was not clear when the video was filmed, but it appeared to be authentic, Vigil said.
The CJNG is considered to be Mexico’s strongest gang, along with the Sinaloa cartel formerly led by the javelin kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. It is often credited with infiltrating poorly paid and trained police departments across the country to protect its broader criminal rackets.
In late June, the cartel was fingered as a possible culprit in a barbaric attack on Mexico City security chief Omar Garcia Harfuch, which took place in broad daylight in a posh area of the capital.
Unlike his predecessors, López Obredor has taken a less confrontational stance on security, preferring to attack through social attacks to mention root causes such as poverty and youth unemployment.
But many security analysts say the strategy is branded by López Obrador as “embracing, not bullets”.
Vigil said “the president’s approach” only inspires these cartoons to operate with greater dexterity. ”
Reporting by Julia Love; Editing by William Mallard