The photo of Xóchitl Gálvez with Felipe Calderón in Spain revives the ghost of the ‘war on drugs’ | Mexican elections 2024



A photograph of Xóchitl Gálvez, presidential standard bearer of the opposition coalition of the PAN, PRI and PRD, with former PAN president Felipe Calderón, both in Spain, has shaken the electoral campaigns in Mexico. Calderón, who has lived outside the country since the trial in the United States for drug trafficking against his former Secretary of Security, Genaro García Luna, is considered by many to be the father of war against drugs, a security strategy consisting of the frontal combat against drug cartels with the use of the Armed Forces, which has plunged Mexico into a cruel spiral of violence, murders and disappearances. Almost two decades have passed since the beginning of that stage, three presidents from different parties have governed—Calderón, from the PAN; Enrique Peña Nieto, of the PRI, and Andrés Manuel López Obrador, of Morena—and the results of violence persist. The solutions have been insufficient and, at times, a mere continuation of what came before.

The candidate of Morena, the party in Government, Claudia Sheinbaum, has questioned her opponent about whether her commitment to security is the same as that of Calderón. In reality, Gálvez proposes a gradual return of the military to their barracks and converting the National Guard into a totally civilian body. “The photo with Felipe Calderón draws attention. I think that what it reflects is that the security policy of the Front [la coalición opositora] is going to be the war against drugs again,” said Sheinbaum. “We cannot forget that Calderón decreed the war against drugs and also put in front [de la estrategia] to a drug trafficker who is currently imprisoned in the United States [García Luna]. So, the image speaks more than a thousand words, that Calderón-Xóchitl image shows where the Front’s policy is going, and Mexico has already experienced that and the people of Mexico do not want it. That’s why they are where they are in the polls,” the candidate added.

The war against drugs It is a ghost that plans the elections and no one wants to take charge of either the beginning of that stage or its effects. Gálvez herself, who has made a visit to Spain to meet with some politicians, has criticized López Obrador’s security policy, without dedicating a single word to Calderón. “I see a Mexico with insecurity like never before, it is the most violent six-year period in history, 175,000, close to 180,000 people murdered. A Mexico where extortion is daily bread. Criminal gangs extort merchants, transporters and producers alike. “We have a country where the president of the Republic decided to give hugs to criminals and shoot citizens,” she said at an event in Madrid this weekend.

In recent days, the issue of the narco-state and the coexistence between cartels and the Government monopolized the public conversation. Some journalistic publications, made from leaks from the DEA, the US anti-drug agency, indicated that emissaries from the Sinaloa Cartel contributed illicit resources to López Obrador’s 2006 presidential campaign. López Obrador rejected the allegations and protested against the Government US. By the way, in his last book, Thank you! (Planeta, 2024), which began to circulate last week, once again brought up the accusations of drug trafficking against García Luna and accused former President Calderón, whom he accused of committing the “idiocy,” the “blunder.” , to unleash the war against drugs to legitimize his Government, which he arrived through “fraud” in the 2006 elections.

As a result of the DEA leaks, López Obrador’s critics launched a digital campaign on networks to accuse his Administration of being a “narco-government.” “Look how smart they are in the PRI, in the PAN, wanting to introduce the idea that in Mexico there is a narco-state, when today they fight drug trafficking and there is no complicity, there is no corruption,” stated the leader of Morena, Mario Delgado, in defense of López Obrador. “Their whole idea of ​​the narco-state, well, falls apart with this.” [la foto entre Gálvez y Calderón]. The person who turned Mexico into a narco-state was Felipe Calderón, and here is the PRI and PAN candidate celebrating in Spain, very close together,” he added.

López Obrador has had a contradictory stance regarding militarization. When he was in the opposition, he used to criticize it and offered a gradual return of soldiers to the barracks. Already in the Government, he opted to address the causes of violence through social programs and the creation of a new police force controlled by the Army, the National Guard. Although the upward curve of homicides has stabilized, there are still thousands. Sheinbaum has offered, if he wins the elections, to convert the National Guard into a “peace corps” with its own investigative powers. The candidate is not talking about quartering the troops, but rather about extending their presence throughout the country as “a local police corporation.”

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