Did the Drug War in Mexico really end?

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Marking the end of 12 years of conflict for drug trafficking, President AMLO declared "there is no war, officially there is no war, we want peace"

Did the Drug War in Mexico really end?

Several fronts have opened in the first months of the government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Teachers, under the banner of a union, have blocked federal access roads; there is a fuel shortage due to the combat against those who steal the hydrocarbon; a clandestine gasoline operation exploded near the Mexican capital; the Governor of the State of Puebla died with her husband in Christmas Eve; and, as if that were not enough, an international rating agency lowered the rating of the oil company that has sustained Mexican finances for many years: Pemex.

Leer en español: ¿Realmente acabó la Guerra del Narcotráfico en México?

Within this adverse panorama, and following the multiple speeches of the Mexican president, the following statement was made: the war against drug trafficking has ended in Mexico. With the phrase "there is no war, officially there is no war, we want peace," President Andrés Manuel López Obrador declared the end to 12 years of internal conflict in Mexico on  Tuesday, January 29, 2019, generating various reactions and speculations nationally and internationally.

However, did the war against drug trafficking in Mexico really end? What does the Mexican president's declaration mean?

The war against the drug cartels has been a constant in the last two presidential terms of the country. Since the arrival of president Felipe Calderón, an armed struggle was launched against the drug trafficking market and its operators, generating a climate of constant violence in Mexican society. Calderón dedicated himself to dismantling and dividing the most powerful drug cartels in the nation, and after him, with the arrival of Enrique Peña Nieto to power, the security plan focused on ending the narcotics market's most internationally searched leaders.

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While the criminal leaders were falling, whether imprisoned or killed in an operation, the goal of pacifying the country as a whole was not achieved. Organized crime evolved and took root in illegal practices of equal or greater severity; fuel theft, extortion, organ trafficking, and human trafficking have increased considerably in recent years. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador received a country with a huge problem of violence, with high homicide rates and with a justice system incapable of punishing the perpetrators of such acts.

With less than three months of government, Mexico's panorama has not changed. The insecurity throughout the national territory becomes unsustainable, local governments are unable to get around the criminal machinery and the militarization of the nation is necessary to sustain the governance of a state that is bleeding after 12 years of struggle. The new ruling party will have the challenge of ending once and for all the hostile environment that torments Mexicans, not with war actions but with deep reforms to the fiscal and justice system that allow the demonetization and the breakdown of criminal organizations that equal that are as powerful as the government.

If the drug war in Mexico is over, the years spent chasing the drug lords and drug cartels have come to an end, however, the Mexican nation faces a new conflict. Organized crime learned that illegality and money laundering is a not so punished act in the country; the improvement of other criminal activities have diversified the fronts of violence in Mexico. The new government must fight various crimes that cost the lives of thousands of Mexicans. Nevertheless, the fight should not be limited to weapons, criminal networks will be weakened only if the three powers of the union (executive, legislative and judicial) work together to punish and prosecute the money of the people involved in criminal activities. In this way, the three axes that should guide the struggle in Mexico will be fiscal, judicial and combat.

The government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador and his National Regeneration Movement has indicated the above. However, it has been limited to statements and plans that do not fully land in reality, derived from the multiple scenarios and conflict fronts that have been unleashed in the country. The new government will have the opportunity to prove its capacity to overcome all the political, economic and social problems that Mexico is going through, without forgetting that the priority for a State must be its very existence, for which an environment of peace and governability must be in first place in the national development plans.

Latin American Post | Jorge Vuelvas Lomeli

Translated from "¿Realmente acabó la Guerra del Narcotráfico en México?