[MOST PEOPLE CAN'T REMEMBER AMLO AFTER 3 MONTHS IN OFFICE, STATED THAT CRIME ACTIVITY HAS BASICALLY BEEN STOPPED, BEFORE THE ALL-TIME HIGH HOMICIDES IN MEXICO. HE RESOLVED THAT THE MISSING 43 IN AGUILA WAS HIS PRIORITY AND HE WOULD GET TO THE BOTTOM OF THE CRIME IMMEDIATELY. WHETHER VISITING CHAPO'S GRANDMOTHER IN BADRIGUATA, HUGGING, SHAKING HANDS DURING THE ON-SET OF THE CORONIVIRUS. YOU JUST HAVE TO WONDER ABOUT THIS GUY. CAN HE JUST BE THIS STUPID OR ONLY HAVE A POLITICAL AGENDA FOR POPULIST APPEAL TO THE SENIORS AND THE POOR. NOW THIS GOOD NEWS! IT'S ABOUT TIME. THERE IS NO COLLUSION BETWEEN THE NARCOS AND GOVERNMENT ANYMORE!! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?]
President López Obrador has expressed confidence that violence will be brought under control because there is no longer any collusion between authorities and organized crime.
“We have a lot of confidence that we’re going to control violence. Do you know why? Because there is no longer complicity; the … dividing line between crime and the government is now well defined,” he told reporters at his morning news conference on Wednesday.
The president asserted that his administration is making progress towards pacifying Mexico despite a dire security situation it inherited from previous governments. López Obrador said his government works every day to eradicate violence and that has not changed as a result of the coronavirus crisis.
“The special operation we’ve had since the start of this government is to work every day from six in the morning,” he said.
López Obrador noted that homicides decreased last month – preliminary figures show they were down 3.6% compared to March – and that the security situation had improved further in the first week of May.
However, he acknowledged that violence levels remain stubbornly high in Guanajuato. One-fifth of the 76 homicides recorded across the country on Tuesday occurred in that state.
López Obrador conceded that Guanajuato is problematic but stressed that security officials are not responding to the situation with their “arms crossed.”
“We have thousands of [National Guard] elements in Guanajuato but the problem is deeply rooted; they [past federal governments] allowed it to grow,” he said.
The state was the most violent in the country last year, with more than 3,500 homicide victims. A bloody turf war between the Jalisco New Generation Cartel and the Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel over control of fuel theft, extortion and kidnapping is considered the main driver of violence in the state.
While López Obrador says that his administration is already responding to the situation, the head of a citizens’ group believes that the federal government needs to do more.
Municipal and state governments can’t combat the high levels of violence on their own, said José Antonio Ortega Sánchez, president of the Citizens Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice.
“They need the help of the federal government to break up all the gangs that cause the violence in Guanajuato,” he said.
Security operations in the state should not just focus on arresting José Antonio “El Marro” Yépez Ortiz, leader of the Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel, but also “all his operational chiefs,” Ortega said.
“Obviously, impunity needs to be eliminated; if crimes of murder and malicious injury are not punished … violence will not go down. We have to punish [criminals], apply the law in order to be able to really overcome [the violence crisis],” he said.
Ortega also said that the government’s social programs have failed to stem the violence that plagues not just Guanajuato but many other parts of the country.
The López Obrador administration has spent three times more on crime prevention and welfare programs – part of the president’s so-called hugs not bullets strategy – than the governments of Felipe Calderón and Enrique Peña Nieto yet violence persists, he said.
There are more becarios, or scholarship holders, now but there are still many sicarios, or hired killers, Ortega said.
The public security activist also charged that the National Guard, a new federal security force formally inaugurated last June, lacks a clear strategy to combat the high levels of violence.
“A clear strategy is needed; it should coordinate with state and municipal forces and be a support for the [states],” Ortega said.
[WOW. I CAN'T BELIEVE THE POLICIA, POLITICOS, CJNG AND THE MARINAS HAVE ALL COME TO AGREEMENT. BUT NO. ANOTHER FALSE FACT, SCAPE-GOATING THE PREVIOUS ADMINISTRATIONS, LYING ABOUT VIRUSES, ACCLAIMING THE SUPERHUMAN FACTS OF THE MEXICAN POPULACE. ONLY ANGLING FOR ANOTHER ELECTION. MEXICO, DESERVES BETTER]
Source: Infobae (sp), Reforma (sp), AM (sp)
[FROM AN OPINION WRITER BASED IN MEXICO PUBLISHED YESTERDAY]
Look, I’m no purist.
I believe in redemption. I believe that most “bad” people can get mostly better, become model citizens even. As a rule, I give everyone the benefit of the doubt until they have absolutely, unequivocally, proven me foolish, which is something that doesn’t happen nearly as often as the pessimists among you might suppose.
But what the hell is going on here? Seeing members of drug cartels openly carrying their illegal weapons as they hand out charity to those in need is just too much to handle. It produces in me a visceral no before my brain has even had a chance to fully reason over it.
Is this where we are now, really? The Mexican government machine is so weak that absolutely nothing can be done about murderous criminals becoming an actual shadow state? Please tell me that narco gangs haven’t been allowed to take over the nation’s role in supporting poor citizens through these difficult times. It feels like a nightmare.
I have a feeling the government would have said, “No, no, thank you, absolutely not!” if they’d been asked their opinion on the matter, but they didn’t get asked about their opinion, as far as I can tell. This, of course, is another problem. If criminal gangs are being charitable with impunity, there’s not much hope of controlling any other aspect of their efforts.
My biggest fear here is that the “What’s the harm? They’re doing good work!” narrative will take over among enough people that it makes it seem like a valid side to take, which it is not.
It feels like a sexually abusive parent trying to insist over and over that when he’s not terrorizing his child, he’s giving it a loving and caring home. It’s just too much, and it fills me with a kind of dread that I’m (thank heaven) not very familiar with.
To be clear, they are not doing “good work.” They are doing manipulative work aimed at getting ordinary and often desperate citizens on their side.
Their actions accomplish several things: first, it gives them legitimacy and respect. If push comes to shove and there’s an attempt to run them out of town, who will come to their defense and insist that their crimes are “no big deal” compared to all the good they’ve done? You guessed it.
What especially worries me is that this isn’t the first time that something like this has happened. Remember that time when the Cartel del Noreste (CDC) played Santa Claus, handing out gifts to children? Then there was the Children’s Day celebration put on by the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG). Or how about the time that the CJNG handed out bags of supplies to stricken residents after Tropical Storm Priscilla?
This is diabolically successful way for them to influence the hearts and minds of young people, who will remember them as yes, perhaps a bit scary, but mostly as men who did the right thing when it was time to do the right thing.
And that’s what I keep coming back to: what on earth must children think? I can’t even imagine the collective sociological trauma and confusion that will come from children growing up and being shown more kindness from their society-wide abusers than their country.
What’s the particular power these groups hold over the government? I’m sure in some part it’s simply their weapons. But to what extent is it a real respect? After all, a very large percentage of police officers are not even certified to be police officers in the first place. I often wonder what kind of training they get for dealing with those in drug cartels. Perhaps none, and I am being unfair.
Might any of the gang members truly be helping from the heart? Sure, it’s possible. Humans hold all kinds of conflicting dualities inside of them, and those working in the criminal organizations are, indeed, human.
But for goodness’ sake, Mexico, beat them to the do-gooding! AMLO: your whole schtick has been to transform society by ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to develop their full potential and the ability to live a dignified life, no matter how “low-skill” one’s job might be.
You’ve been trying hard to accomplish that while at the same time embracing a non-violent approach to gang violence, and this is what we get: government officials and police twiddling their thumbs and whistling while avoiding contact with criminals with automatic weapons getting to show off how good and vital they are to the community. Few things both scandalize and outrage me, but this scandalizes and outrages me.
To the Mexican government: get out there and do something about this! You’re a half a thread from losing complete control of this country. Please.
[WHY WOULD YOU HIDE REAL NUMBERS AMLO BEHIND CORONAVIRUS? . . SO YOU CAN GET REELECTED? PROVE YOU ARE IN CONTROL?]
Mexico is severely — and maybe purposely — undercounting its coronavirus deaths
By some estimates, Mexico’s coronavirus cases are 17 times higher than officially reported.
By Alex Ward@AlexWardVoxalex.firstname.lastname@example.org May 13, 2020, 1:40pm EDT
The coronavirus has killed thousands of people in Mexico. But suspicions swirl that President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s administration is severely — and perhaps purposely — undercounting Mexico’s Covid-19 deaths.
As of May 13, Mexico reported more than 38,000 infections and nearly 4,000 deaths. Those are by no means small numbers (even if they’re leaps and bounds less than America’s). But the problem, experts say, is that the real totals are likely orders of magnitude higher. How high, though, is anyone’s guess.
“The numbers do not appear to reflect the death toll for certain,” Donna Patterson, an expert on Mexico’s health care system at Delaware State University, told me. “At the federal level, the numbers aren’t being reported accurately.”
Indeed, Mexican mayors, doctors, funeral home directors, and even former officials have said in recent weeks that they have reported death toll numbers only not to see them reflected in official federal government counts.
While the Mexican government itself has effectively acknowledged an undercount — saying it assumes the number of actual coronavirus cases is eight times higher than the numbers it has — its estimate is still far below what other experts contend.
It’s not clear if the case-counting disparity comes from inefficiency, incompetence, or deliberate obfuscation, but it’s a damning state of affairs. Some experts, like Dr. Laurie Ann Ximénez-Fyvie, the molecular genetics lab chief at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), think the undercount might be a deliberate decision by the federal government.
“If Mexico is good at anything, it’s hiding numbers,” she told me.
Recent media investigations, including by the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and Spain’s El País, appear to support those claims. In fact, El País says that Mexico likely has between 620,000 and 730,000 coronavirus cases — about 17 times higher than the official count.
On top of that, Mexico also has one of the lowest testing rates among developed countries, and it doesn’t appear that it’ll increase anytime soon. Combined with the undercount, some experts say, the nation is flying blind as to the extent of its true coronavirus woes.
“The numbers are really not the problem,” Ximénez-Fyvie said. The issue is that “we don’t even know who the sick people are, and we don’t know where they are,” meaning Mexican health officials can’t identify clusters of infection that may overwhelm the nation’s health care system.
It’s also not good news for North America in general. The US has a major crisis of its own, with roughly 1.3 million cases and more than 80,000 deaths as of May 13. Having a southern neighbor with similar issues will only make the disease in both countries — and throughout Central America — harder to quash.
For those and other reasons, experts want Mexico not only to ratchet up its coronavirus response but also to come clean with its statistics. Otherwise, former Mexican Health Minister José Narro Robles tweeted last month, the government will further foment “distrust and uncertainty.”
“We can’t keep up”
It’s important to note that most countries are likely missing (and therefore undercounting) pandemic-caused deaths. But all it takes to realize that Mexico has a bigger problem on its hands is to listen to what local leaders are telling the media.
Jesús Roman, the mayor of Chimalhuacán, a city near the nation’s capital, told Al Jazeera on Sunday that the federal government “counted us as having 24 dead, but we had 87 — more than three times more than that.”
Mayor Maricela Serrano of the central city of Ixtapaluca also told the outlet that “up until [Saturday] night, we had 54 people die of Covid-19. ... And in the daily roundups from the state and federal government, they’ve only registered 16 deaths.”
Those dealing with the bodies have been overwhelmed in recent weeks. “We are working triple what we usually do. We can’t keep up,” José Jardines, a crematorium official near Mexico City, told Al Jazeera. “Before, we cremated one to three bodies a day. Now, it’s up to 15 or 20.” Cremation centers are so overworked that staff sometimes leave bodies at hospitals for an extra day because they don’t have the space.
Even the president’s allies are aware of the problem.
Mexico City’s mayor, Claudia Sheinbaum, suspected the federal government’s data was wrong and had staff call public hospitals in the capital to get their death counts, the New York Times reported. They found that the hospitals’ numbers were about three times higher than the federal government’s. However, she has yet to lambaste President López Obrador because of their close political ties.
Despite what local political and medical leaders say, the federal government isn’t listening. And that’s only likely to make Mexico’s coronavirus recovery efforts much, much harder. “Maybe Mexico will be the textbook case of what happens when the government just did nothing,” UNAM’s Ximénez-Fyvie told me.
The major problems in Mexico’s coronavirus response
To understand how Mexico got into this mess, you need to understand two things: how slowly the government responded, and its current, controversial strategy.
Even as the coronavirus made its way into the country, Mexico’s president — who goes by AMLO — made repeated statements to assure the country that everything was fine.
“Live life as usual,” he said in a video posted to Facebook on March 22, six days after US President Donald Trump first debuted his “15 days to slow the spread” plan. “If you’re able and have the means to do so, continue taking your family out to eat … because that strengthens the economy,” he said in the video, seated outside at a restaurant.
In fact, he proceeded to hold political rallies, kiss supporters, and request that Mexicans go out shopping to keep the nation’s businesses humming. Only 250 cases had been reported by the end of March.
AMLO’s dithering delayed Mexico’s reaction to the growing crisis, and gave thousands of Mexicans a false sense of security. Recent Google mobility reports, which track how often people in a country roam around outside, showed that Mexicans observed social distancing measures less seriously than nations in Europe or even the US.
However, an important caveat is that nearly 60 percent of Mexicans work in the “informal economy” as street chefs, artists, construction workers, and the like. Their livelihoods depend on working outside to sell their goods and services. Without doing so, their ability to purchase food and necessities for themselves and their families becomes near impossible.
Without a major intervention from AMLO and his government, then, a major coronavirus spread was going to be the likely outcome.
The government did, eventually, start to counter the disease in March. But as Ximénez-Fyvie told me, the three phases of Mexico’s initially promising coronavirus strategy quickly faltered.
The government’s “Phase 1” plan, she said, was to test imported cases of coronavirus and track their contacts. That made sense as a start, she said, as the only way the disease was likely to get into the country was from abroad. In her mind, Mexico’s government responded appropriately and well.
But the strategy broke down in “Phase 2.” Using the Sentinel surveillance program at more than 250 labs around Mexico, the government could track local transmissions of Covid-19. This system, which is also used in the US and Canada, allowed health officials to estimate the number of coronavirus cases in the country.
That’s all well and good, but the problem is the government had no idea who, exactly, these people were, if they were symptomatic, or if they were isolating. The only way to do that would be not just to estimate the number of cases, but to confirm them with a widespread testing and tracing program. But since Mexico had (and still has) the lowest testing rate per 1,000 people among developed nations, its ability to figure any of that out was next to impossible.
So the government started to guess what the scope of the outbreak really was. On April 8, Hugo López-Gatell Ramírez, Mexico’s Covid-19 response chief, told CNN he and his team would multiply the total of confirmed, tested coronavirus cases by eight. He said he arrived at that number because the estimates from the Sentinel program were eight times higher than the confirmed infections total.
Such a back-of-the-envelope calculation, experts say, isn’t typical for governments, though all countries must do some educated guesswork during a pandemic. What’s more, Ximénez-Fyvie told me, López-Gatell’s own numbers from March and April show that Sentinel estimates were about 24 to 31 times higher than the tested, confirmed cases.
López-Gatell has yet to amend his government’s estimation plan. In fact, he’s defended the unknown spread in Mexico because he claims it will lead the country toward a herd immunity against the disease faster.
“How many [cases] are there? A lot, a lot. Hundreds of thousands,” he said during a May 7 press conference. “If only it were millions, because that’s what would stop the epidemic: to have a lot of infected people.”
Importantly, however, the science is still not clear if a country can achieve herd immunity from the coronavirus, and any attempts to achieve such a status puts the most vulnerable people in danger.
López-Gatell 7-may: “en la medida en que hay enfermedad, infecciones, contagios […] siempre puede regresar a un país. Excepto que alcancemos un elemento que técnicamente se llama «inmunidad de rebaño».”
The situation is likely to get worse now that Mexico has been in “Phase 3” of its coronavirus plan since late April. The goal is to prevent hospitals from getting overrun with sick patients and no longer emphasize tracking the estimated number of cases through the Sentinel program.
There’s a good reason for this focus: Mexico’s health care system is in poor shape. It has about 1.4 hospital beds per 1,000 people, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, just over 2,000 ventilators in the entire country, and few coronavirus tests.
But on its own, boosting health care would be a major undertaking for Mexico. AMLO has severely cut the health care sector in an effort to control government spending. In 2019, for example, around 10,000 health professionals were laid off due to a 44 percent cut to a public health and welfare agency. That’s led to delays in surgeries for children, reductions in staff, and cancellations of many forms of treatments for patients.
The bigger issue, though, is that prioritizing hospital capacity won’t do anything to stop the spread of infection, which has been poorly tracked and may end up overwhelming medical facilities in the long term.
“It’s like your house was flooded because you left your faucet on, and you decided to solve the problem by grabbing a bucket to scoop the water out. The house will continue to flood until you turn the faucet off,” said Ximénez-Fyvie.
Parro, as an FYI - Mexican Presidents can not be re-elected. They are limited to 1 term.
Chava, I certainly didn't know that. Why hide the facts then? Just for your party? Assumption of control?
Know I'm not supposed to ask a question on a post, but why?
You can ask all the questions you want within an existing post or posts.
The problem is don’t START a post as a question.
This post was updated on .
In reply to this post by Parro
I must admit that I didn't read all of your above posts, Parro (no offense, only so many hours in the day, lol) --- so not sure where it's hidden? In the articles? Or AMLO being AMLO?
Everyone knows (or should know) that Mexican Presidents are limited to one 6 year term. (speaking of Mexicans)
Similar to the United States where they are limited to 2 - 6 year terms. Or maybe not everyone knows that either.
EDIT: I see you are questions hiding the facts of the virus. There are no real numbers, never will be. People who die at home aren't counted, and who tests the bodies at the funeral homes?
I believe that the U.S. is overstating, IMHO. No more deaths from vaping any longer? No one dying from pneumonia any longer? I'm pretty sure you could fall from a 10th floor window and sneeze on the way down, and be counted as a virus death.
Bill sombody 45 thousand to put them in a ventilator ?I say theyre making a killing !all you have to do is doctor the death certificate.whos gonna audit them ??it's encouraged by top officials nobody knows why ??
deelucky, tell me where you know about the $45k payment to the docs. AMLO stated they were in it only to become rich and backed off, after the mexicanos went off. Do you have the source or not? Just trying to understand your opinion.
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