Mexico’s AMLO Undeterred by Cartel Arms Video

The president of Mexico has again refused to deploy the army against the country’s cartels, saying “evil must be confronted with good” in response to a showcasing of firepower by one criminal organisation in a video posted online.

Dozens of the CJNG’s members appear beside armored vehicles, holding automatic weapons and wearing military gear sporting the group’s insignia.Dozens of the CJNG’s members appear beside armored vehicles, holding automatic weapons and wearing military gear sporting the group’s insignia.On Friday, footage surfaced on social media in which the infamous Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG) appeared in a show of defiance against the country’s government.

The video, which has since been widely circulated online, shows dozens of the group’s members standing beside heavy armored vehicles, holding automatic weapons while dressed in military gear sporting the CJNG’s insignia.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said in a broadcasted statement on Monday that his government would continue tackling the systemic causes of crime, rather than pursuing direct confrontation with Mexico’s notorious drug-trafficking syndicates.

“Violence cannot be confronted with violence, fire cannot be extinguished with fire, evil cannot be confronted with evil,” he said.

The current president’s policy of indirect action - simultaneously targeting these organisations’ business assets and corrupt public officials, while stimulating the economy so as to draw young recruits away from a life of crime - stands in stark contrast to the approach of his predecessor, Felipe Calderon, who in 2006 declared an all-out war against the cartels.

While critics attribute the recent surge in the country’s homicide rate - which in March stood at 2,600, the highest monthly figure on record - to Lopez Obrador’s ‘softer’ stance, recent enforcement actions do appear to be gaining traction.

In June, OCCRP reported that the Mexican Finance Ministry’s Financial Intelligence Unit had frozen assets related to 1,770 individuals and 167 legal entities with alleged ties to the CJNG - including several tequila vendors allegedly serving as fronts for a massive money laundering operation.

The sting followed just two months after the authority froze accounts containing some US$60 million allegedly belonging to the CJNG’s fierce rivals, the Sinaloa Cartel.

The country’s military, meanwhile, was recently placed in charge of performing customs checks at borders and seaports, according to the Associated Press.

It is hoped this will enable authorities to slowly cut off the cartels’ life support by seizing shipments of drugs and precursor chemicals, as well as stamping out corruption among officials at the country’s points of entry.