Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Andrés Manuel López Obrador: "Peña Nieto is the new Calderón"

In Tamaulipas: "They confront violence with violence, but never address the root causes" - AMLO

Guadalajara -
The voice of Mexico's ultra-Left - two time presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador - was quick to respond yesterday to the administration's announcement that the federal government will greatly expand its role in fighting organized crime near the Texas border, where narcotics traffickers have rendered the region a virtual war zone. Feds announce security plan for bleeding Tamaulipas.

Referring to the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) government of president Enrique Peña Nieto, and its predecessor, the National Action Party (PAN) administration of president Felipe Calderón Hinojosa (in office 2006-2012), López Obrador said, "they're the same thing."

"They want to resolve the problem of insecurity with violence, with coercion. The want to fight fire with fire, confront violence with violence, evil with evil, but they never deal with the underlying issues," said López Obrador in public statements Monday.

Calderón initiated Mexico's 89 month old drug war in December 2006, when he first dispatched federal troops and police to his home state of Michoacán. Fiasco in Michoacán suggests little has changed under new government.

President Peña Nieto has followed Calderón's so-called National Security Strategy to a T, even expanding upon the use of military troops to fight Mexico's dozens of drug cartels and organized crime gangs. In Mexican drug war, Enrique Peña Nieto = Felipe Calderón Hinojosa.

López Obrador founded Mexico's most left wing political party, the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA), in September 2012. It was officially recognized several months ago, and its rancorous candidates are sure to appear on local and national ballots in coming elections.

López Obrador twice lost bids for the presidency, in 2006 - the closest election in Mexican history - and again in 2012, a race which he called "very dirty, a national shame." On Cinco de Mayo, PRD celebrates its 25th birthday.

In recent months the fiery leftist has become increasingly strident in his remarks about the current administration, calling Peña Nieto a "traitor" and demanding that he be arrested and prosecuted for his energy reform legislation. Far Left pol files criminal complaint against EPN for treason. López Obrador has announced that he will make an unprecedented third run for the nation's highest office. Mexico already looking ahead to 2018 presidential election.

López Obrador demanded yesterday that the government give a detailed explanation of exactly what is proposes to do in Tamaulipas, where the Los Zetas and the Gulf Cartel have been locked in vicious combat for years.

"It would appear that Peña is really Calderón II, because PRI's strategy is the same as was PAN's," he told the media.

"Enrique Peña Nieto's mentality is one of reaction. He wants to quickly resolve any security problem with the use of force," added López Obrador.

AMLO has long argued that the lack of opportunities for young people, an anemic labor market and weak economic growth are the root cause of Mexico's domestic insecurity.

"Until the government deals in depth with the real issues, it will be very difficult to achieve peace in this country," he said.

López Obrador also specifically criticized security advice given to president Peña Nieto by his former Colombian drug war adviser. Gen. Óscar Naranjo, who fought cocaine traffickers in his own country for years, was hired immediately after Peña Nieto was elected on July 1, 2012. He was supposed to unveil an entirely new strategy for combating Mexican cartels, but it turned out to be anything but. Security consultant elaborates on "new" Mexican drug war strategy - but is it?

One piece of Naranjo's advice the PRI administration did quickly embrace was the creation of an elite national gendarmerie of 40,000 paramilitary units, modeled after Colombia's and those used in several European countries. Plagued by funding, recruiting and training delays, the first 5,000 members will finally debut in July. Officials announce delay in arrival of federal gendarmerie units, as Peña Nieto claims major progress in drug war.

López Obrador's apparent opposition to Naranjo's gendarmerie plan was based upon his objection to further military based solutions in Mexico's drug war. But the government insists it is fighting 60-80 drug cartels and hundreds of local and regional gangs, and has no realistic security alternative.

Naranjo abruptly left the Peña Nieto team in January and returned to Colombia, with curious and less than convincing explanations offered for his departure. Peña Nieto's top domestic security adviser resigns.

May 14 - A PAN senator today acknowledged that Peña Nieto is following the same drug war path as Calderón, and justified it as necessary to avoid the further expansion of citizen militias - not only in Tamaulipas, but in other states like Oaxaca, he said.

Jan. 7, 2013 - Peña Nieto: no option but to follow Calderón strategy
Apr. 23, 2012 - Economic inequality is the primary cause of Mexico's insecurity, says López Obrador

Gen. Óscar Naranjo
Mar. 6, 2013 - Peña Nieto's drug war czar says no to Mexican militias
Oct. 8, 2012 - Peña Nieto's Colombian drug war consultant is a U.S. informant, Mexican journal claims, with orders to cut a deal with cartel bosses

As the reins of power changed hands on Dec. 1, 2012, both presidents knew that Mexico was still confronting the same enemy - and there was no quick or easy strategy by which to defeat it.

© MGR 2014. All rights reserved. This article may be cited or briefly quoted with proper attribution or a hyperlink, but not reproduced without permission.

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