López Obrador asks Mexicans not to be manipulated by drug traffickers

MEXICO CITY (HPD) — President Andrés Manuel López Obrador asked Mexicans Tuesday not to let themselves be manipulated or accept gifts from drug trafficking groups, after videos of suspected criminals distributing gifts from trucks with Christmas decorations while passers-by described the drivers as members of the Jalisco Nueva Generación cartel.

During his morning conference, López Obrador confirmed that some criminal groups are trying to resume the practice of giving gifts to win the support of the population and specified that in some communities they have tried to protect drug traffickers, stop drug seizures and oppose the installation of National Guard bases.

Authorities have not confirmed the origin of the gifts – mostly toys – that were delivered on December 21 in a poor neighborhood in the city of Guadalajara, capital of the western state of Jalisco.

A convoy of pickup trucks, festooned with large St. Nicholas dolls, inflatable penguins and reindeer, and Christmas lights, drove through the neighborhood to the sound of “narcocorrido” songs praising the powerful Jalisco cartel and a local leader of the group, known as the alias of “RR”.

In one video, a passerby is heard saying: “All the HR people. Who says they don’t give them anything? Why doesn’t the government do the same?

When asked about the videos, López Obrador admitted that some criminal groups want to reactivate these practices, which were used in the 2010s when the cartels distributed gifts during Christmas in the northern state of Tamaulipas, near the border with the United States. Joined.

“Since the beginning of the government, we verified, and it was notorious, in the public domain, that the criminal gangs relied a lot on the social bases, on the people of the communities,” said the president, acknowledging that they seek to manipulate the population to use the people as a “shield”.

López Obrador also complained about some communities that he assured that they go out to “protect the traffickers” and seek to “retain elements of the Army, the Guard” to prevent the action from being carried out, “so that the cocaine is not confiscated.” .

Residents of three states have held demonstrations against the construction of local headquarters for the National Guard. López Obrador has attributed some of these protests to the influence of the cartels, despite the fact that in the case of the demonstration that occurred in Mexico City, residents indicated that the barracks were unnecessary, harmful to the environment or could encourage violence. in the locality

The most widespread support for criminal groups in Mexico has been in the case of fuel theft gangs, which drill into government pipelines to steal gasoline and gas. Because fuel thieves allow the local population to get gasoline from illegal taps, many communities attack the police and the Army during operations against these criminal groups.

López Obrador maintained that the campaign against fuel theft has weakened the protection of these criminals.

“All this has been disappearing because people know that it is illegal and that crime should not be protected,” he added.

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