Mexican President asks people to refuse gifts from drug cartels

MEXICO CITY — Mexico’s president on Tuesday urged Mexicans not to accept gifts and presents from drug cartels during the holiday season, after videos posted online showed colorful pickup trucks handing out gifts while Passers-by described the drivers as members of the Jalisco drug cartel.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador confirmed that some drug cartels are looking to continue such gift-giving practices — often seen years ago — to win the support of the local population.

López Obrador said at a morning news conference that local residents in some communities have tried to protect traffickers, prevent drug seizures or oppose the establishment of Force bases. National Guard to fight drug trafficking.

Authorities have not confirmed the source of the gifts – mostly toys – from a December 21 distribution in a low-income residential area in the city of Guadalajara, the capital of Jalisco state.

A convoy of trucks loaded with inflatable Santa decorations and Christmas lights raced through the neighborhood, playing “drug corridors” songs praising the Jalisco gang and a known local leader of the gang. comes with the alias “RR”.

One bystander is heard in a video clip saying: “All of RR’s people. Who says they don’t give you anything? Why doesn’t the government do the same?”

When asked about Tuesday’s videos, López Obrador admitted that the activity is resurfacing; In the 2010s, such gangs’ Christmas giveaways were common in the northern border state of Tamaulipas. López Obrador says this is part of a strategy by criminal gangs to win public support.

“Since the beginning of this administration, we’ve known, clearly, in the public record, that criminal gangs depend a lot on the social base, on the people in the community,” said the general. system said. “They use people as (human) shields.”

“Recently, some groups are trying to revive this (gift-giving) method by asking people to support them,” said López Obrador. “When there is a cocaine seizure, communities stand up to traffickers, even attempting to kidnap members of the military and the (National) Guard to prevent the seizure of cocaine. “

Local residents in three states also held protests against the construction of barracks for the National Guard. López Obrador attributes what he describes as “three or four instances” of local opposition to gang influence. In the case of protests in Mexico City, however, residents said they considered barracks unnecessary, harmful to the environment, or likely to increase violence in the vicinity.

Mexico’s biggest display of local support for criminal gangs is fuel theft gangs that drill into government pipelines to steal gasoline and diesel. Because fuel thieves to locals also collect gas from illegal taps, many communities have resisted police and military raids.

But López Obrador said his campaign against fuel theft has undermined that kind of cooperation with criminals.

“Having this kind of support, all that stuff is gone because people know it’s illegal and they shouldn’t be protecting criminals,” the president said. “What I tell people is they shouldn’t let themselves be manipulated, they shouldn’t protect these gangs.”


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