Mexican President's Response to Horrific Cartel Attacks: 'Hugs, Not Bullets'


One might think the brutal, broad daylight, mass murder of nine foreign citizens — six of them children under the age of 10 — might signal to a nation’s leadership that its crime prevention strategy is not working.

Apparently in the case of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, however, there is simply no tragedy horrifying enough to signal such a reality.

According to Fox News, in light of a likely drug cartel-related ambush that killed nine dual U.S.-Mexican citizens Monday, López Obrador is recommitting himself to — of all things — a national crime policy of “hugs not bullets.”

He has “used the catchy phrase — ‘abrazos, no balazos’ in Spanish — in his promise to clear out violent drug cartels, not by waging war, but instead changing communities by tackling what he said is the root of the problem: extreme poverty,” Fox reported.

López Obrador doubled down on that stance in a Tuesday news conference.

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“This is no longer a war,” he said. “This is no longer about force, confrontation, annihilation, extermination, or killing in the heat of the moment. This is about thinking how to save lives and achieve peace and tranquility in the country using other methods.”

“[War is] not in agreement with our convictions,” the Mexican president also said, according to The Hill. “The worst thing is war.”

That’s right. According to López Obrador, war is the single “worst thing.”

Reuters reports that this year violent crime has surged at a record rate throughout Mexico, with 14,603 murders taking place by the end of June and an all-time high of 29,111 projected to take place by year’s end.

Yet the Mexican president holds firm in his belief that an honest effort to stem the rising tides of violent criminality once and for all through the use of militaristic force would, somehow, be worse than the problem itself.

And such a premise might even be agreeable — if Mexico were a nation teetering on the edge, without an ally or any hope of facing the problem without destabilizing and impoverishing itself.

This is not Mexico, however, and such a premise is entirely incomprehensible under the present circumstances.

The state is already destabilized, and the Mexican people are already impoverished and under constant threat of violence.

Ever-growing smuggling rings and criminal cartels are even attaining levels of power that far surpass that of the Mexican Federales in several provinces.

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These cartels attack U.S. Border Patrol agents, engage in public shootouts with armored vehicles and leave behind scores of butchered bodies everywhere from city centers to desert locales.

Mexico isn’t teetering on the edge of stability. It’s teetering on the edge of failed statehood.

And local allies — namely, the U.S. — are seeking to lend a hand in any way they can.

President Donald Trump was quick Tuesday morning in reaching out to López Obrador to offer America’s support, tweeting, “If Mexico needs or requests help in cleaning out these monsters, the United States stands ready, willing & able to get involved and do the job quickly and effectively.”

“This is the time for Mexico, with the help of the United States, to wage WAR on the drug cartels and wipe them off the face of the earth,” Trump continued. “We merely await a call from your great new president!”

But López Obrador is sticking to his peace-and-love strategy.

Do you think it's time Mexico waged war on the cartels?

In other words, the Mexican president is content to continue doing nothing about this problem.

In a world commanded by force, the president of a nation already under warlike conditions and occupation is choosing to fight an enemy with no regard for human life with kind words and vague policy.

It’s a shame several months of those kind words and vague policies haven’t even created conditions in which three women and 13 children could travel the highway safely in broad daylight.

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Andrew J. Sciascia was the supervising editor of features at The Western Journal. Having joined up as a regular contributor of opinion in 2018, he went on to cover the Barrett confirmation and 2020 presidential election for the outlet, regularly co-hosting its video podcast, "WJ Live," as well.
Andrew J. Sciascia was the supervising editor of features at The Western Journal and regularly co-hosted the outlet's video podcast, "WJ Live."

Sciascia first joined up with The Western Journal as a regular contributor of opinion in 2018, before graduating with a degree in criminal justice and political science from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, where he served as editor-in-chief of the student newspaper and worked briefly as a political operative with the Massachusetts Republican Party.

He covered the Barrett confirmation and 2020 presidential election for The Western Journal. His work has also appeared in The Daily Caller.