From Drug Lord For The United States To Decorated For Mexico: AMLO Recognizes The Work Of Cienfuegos

This Thursday, López Obrador defended the former head of the Mexican Army accused of drug trafficking by the US, Salvador Cienfuegos .


Photo: EFE/Sáshenka Gutiérrez


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Leer en español: De narco para Estados Unidos a condecorado para México: AMLO reconoce la labor de Cienfuegos

The president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, defended this Thursday the former head of the Mexican Army Salvador Cienfuegos (2012-2018), accused in the United States for his alleged links with drug trafficking and whom he decorated on Wednesday for his work as director at the College Military.

"The underlying disagreement is because we intervened in the face of an action that we considered a violation of our sovereignty by the DEA (United States Anti-Drug Agency) and it was shown that they fabricated crimes against the Secretary of Defense of the previous Government, we were able to verify that it was revenge and that there were no elements,” he said during his morning press conference.

The president thus responded to criticism about the decoration he gave on Wednesday to Cienfuegos, detained in October 2020 at the Los Angeles airport due to a DEA investigation that accused him of having links to organized crime during his period in front of the Secretariat of National Defense (Sedena).

After his arrest, López Obrador first expressed that the arrest was “an unequivocal sign of the decomposition of the regime," but days later he accused the DEA of "fabricating" the crimes against Cienfuegos.

For this reason, in November 2020, López Obrador negotiated with the then president of the United States, Donald Trump, the delivery of Cienfuegos to Mexico, where the Attorney General's Office (FGR) exonerated him in January 2021 after reviewing in less than two months the file that the DEA put together since 2017.

“Those from the DEA, their representatives, because they are involved everywhere, they were very angry, they would like to have a Mexican Army, Mexican Armed Forces, weakened, sitting in the dock so that they can do and undo in Mexico as (former President Felipe) Calderón (2006-2012) allowed them,” the president now reiterated.

Decoration to Cienfuegos

López Obrador maintained that the decoration he awarded to Cienfuegos was during a “very important ceremony” because “200 years have passed since the creation, the birth, of the Military College” and clarified that this recognition “was given to all those who were directors.” 

“That was the reason, then, without saying the setting in which the ceremony takes place, all those who are against us are launched,” he added.

Likewise, the Mexican president defended Cienfuegos regarding his possible participation in the disappearance of the 43 Ayotzinapa normal students in September 2014.

“He is going to begin to respond about this, there is nothing in the investigation where General Cienfuegos of Ayotzinapa is directly accused, so that it is also clear,” he noted.

The Armed Forces gained increasing power in the Government of López Obrador, who has granted them tasks of public security, construction of infrastructure, immigration control and administration of customs and airports, tasks previously reserved for civilians.

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