LOCAL NEWS

Political Expert Says Morale For Fighting Mexican Cartels Down, Justice For Victims Could Be Hard To See

Nov 7, 2019, 10:52 PM
There's a heavy military presence in the Mexican town of La Mora on Nov. 7, 2019, during the funera...
There's a heavy military presence in the Mexican town of La Mora on Nov. 7, 2019, during the funerals for the US citizens who were killed in an ambush earlier in the week.

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — While many still try to process the brutal ambush that took the lives of nine women and children in Mexico, they question whether the Mexican government will be able to find and prosecute the killers.

Mexico’s new president brings a new approach to the table but an expert in Latin American studies said it has been a slow process and predicted justice for victims will be hard to find.

“He won on a campaign to reduce violence,” said Dr. Claudio Holzner Director at the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Utah.

Holzner was referring to the new government of Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

“He’s very popular,” Holzner shared. “People are willing to give him the benefit of the doubt partly because the policies of the prior presidents have not worked.”

Lopez-Obrador said a major concern for Mexicans during the last elections was dealing with the cartel violence that has plagued the country.

“They are immensely frustrated with the violence,” Holzner said.

The president embraced a new non-violent approach to dealing with cartels, often coined “abrazos y no balazos.”

“Lopez Obrador ran on a campaign to change the government’s policies to fight drug violence and drug cartels. There is a general sense that the direct confrontation with cartels hasn’t worked,” Holzner said. “He is proposing alternative policies like legalizing marijuana, reforming the criminal justice system, reducing corruption, these non-violent tactics to solve the root problems of drug cartel violence, not going after drug cartels directly.

“He is promoting general policies of social welfare support, creating the conditions where higher wages and good jobs so people are not tempted to join cartels.”

But it isn’t having the impact hoped for.

“This year Mexico’s going to break records in terms of the amount of violence and homicides that occur in the country,” Holzner said.

Cartel violence is rampant in Mexico as family members of the victims have expressed.

“These things have happened to people throughout Mexico for years and they’ve never had a voice,” said Laif Langford, a family member of the victims, during a CNN interview.

Cartels also seem more powerful and morale is dropping among Mexicans. Last month the president’s newly created cartel fighting force failed to capture El Chapo’s son during a stand-off in which they were overpowered in Culiacan, Sinaloa.

“One of his major reforms was to create a new national guard of a domestic police force that would be trained and specialized to deal with drug cartels,” Holzner said.

“One of their first operations was to capture El Chapo’s son who people think is now leading the Sinaloa cartel. They arrived at his house. Tried to arrest him. A gun battle ensued. There were 12 people killed and in order to minimize additional violence, the national guard pulled back and allowed El Chapo’s son to escape.”

Holzner said when it comes to the ambush in La Mora, it will be hard to see justice for the victims.

“One of the biggest problems with Mexico’s political system is a really weak criminal justice system. About 90% of crimes go unsolved in Mexico,” Holzner said. “This particular case is a higher profile case so it might get more attention but I’m pessimistic.”

The victims’ family members said they believe the attack was targeted.

“They stop and surround our vehicle, then they recognize who we are because they keep an eye on every single person,” Kendra Miller said.

Holzner also said it’s doubtful Mexico will welcome U.S. intervention.

“His [Lopez-Obrador] rejection of Trump’s offer fits in with his policies that he does not want to fight the cartels head-on,” Holzner said.

According to Holzner, 90% of drugs that go through Mexico are destined for the U.S. He thinks that curbing cartel violence boils down to economics. Lowering U.S. demand for drugs will reduce cartel influence in Mexico.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

...
Matt Gephardt & Sloan Schrage

Get Gephardt: What can you if you pay someone to do work but they disappear with your money?

Imagine paying a deposit only to have them take your money and ghost you.
1 day ago
...
Debbie Worthen

Father outraged over ‘lack of security’ at high school

A father in Granite School District is outraged over what he calls a “lack of security” at Olympus High School.
1 day ago
...
Angie Denison

I AM The Journey Features Artists from Many Backgrounds

In January 2020, the Center for Latter-day Saint Arts announced a new program of grants for artists and scholars from diverse communities.
1 day ago
Courtney Hillburn, models the swimsuit just one month after her double mastectomy....
Shelby Lofton

Utah clothing company creates swimwear for breast cancer survivors

Breast cancer survivors and sisters from Utah will launch a swimwear line for women who have had surgery.
1 day ago
FILE PHOTO (KSL TV)...
Larry D. Curtis and Mike Anderson, KSL TV

Investigators say former Utah County therapist is ‘threat to children’ for ‘egregious crimes’

Former therapist David Lee Hamblin, 68, was said to be "a threat to the children and citizens of Utah County" in court documents that also request he be held without bail for "egregious crimes against a child."
1 day ago
David and Bonnie Kenison talk about their volunteer work with the Red Cross in Crescent City, Flori...
Jed Boal

Orem couple volunteers for Red Cross in path of Hurricane Ian

A married couple from Orem is in Florida right now among the trained disaster volunteers from the Red Cross of Utah. They’re already helping out in an evacuation shelter as Hurricane Ian closes in.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Ask these questions before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Cloud storage technology with 3d rendering drawer with files in cloud...
PC Laptops

How backing up your computer can help you relieve stress

Don't wait for something bad to happen before backing up your computer. Learn how to protect your data before disaster strikes.
young woman with stickers on laptop computer...
Les Olson

7 ways print marketing materials can boost your business

Custom print marketing materials are a great way to leave an impression on clients or customers. Read for a few ideas to spread the word about your product or company.
young woman throwing clothes to organize a walk in closet...
Lighting Design

How to organize your walk-in closet | 7 easy tips to streamline your storage today

Read our tips to learn how to organize your walk-in closet for more storage space. These seven easy tips can help you get the most out of your space.
Types of Computer Malware and Examples...
PC Laptops

5 Nasty Types of Computer Malware and Examples | Everything You Need to Know to Keep Your Computer and Family Safe

Here are the different types of computer malware and examples that could potentially infect your computer.
tips how to quit smoking...

7 Tips How to Quit Smoking | Quitting Smoking Might be One of the Hardest Things You Ever Do but Here’s Where You Can Start

Quitting smoking cigarettes can be incredibly difficult. Here are 7 tips how to quit smoking to help you on your quitting journey.
Political Expert Says Morale For Fighting Mexican Cartels Down, Justice For Victims Could Be Hard To See