- The Sinaloa Cartel has yet to formally claim responsibility for the call.
- AMLO has defended the newspaper while rebuking violence against journalists and media houses.
- Murders are up in Mexico despite the coronavirus ravaging the country.
Mexican newspaper Reforma has received a bomb threat from a man claiming to be from the Sinaloa Cartel, Mexico’s biggest drug trafficking network. The anonymous caller reportedly warned the newspaper against publishing negative news related to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
The newspaper had published a few clips that showed him urging the public to go out. This is while downplaying the severity of the coronavirus crisis. The caller threatened to blow up the publisher’s offices if such coverage continues. The following is an excerpt from the warning issued by the caller.
“This is serious: you’re now overstepping the line. Your company posted a video denigrating, almost mocking the president of the republic. That’s why we’re making this call because what you are doing has already overstepped the line.”
The Sinaloa Cartel has yet to formally claim responsibility for the call. López Obrador has defended the newspaper while rebuking violence against journalists and media houses. He has underlined that the ideological differences that exist in the nation should never lead to violence. The following is an excerpt from AMLO’s statement:
“We reject any act of violence, we’re against violence, we’re pacifists. We condemn any threat that is made, even in our own name. We already know that we have differences with Reforma and we’ll continue to have them because we think differently.”
The US ambassador to Mexico, Christopher Landau, has said that criticism of coverage in Mexico isn’t new, but the use of violence to silence the media would be unfortunate.
There has been an increase in cartel enforcement in Mexico, especially since the onset of the coronavirus crisis. The Sinaloa Cartel, which was once led by drug lord Joaquin EL Chapo Guzman, was recently reported to be enforcing a curfew in the state of Sinaloa, where it is based.
The cartel warned that people found outside beyond designated timelines would be “boarded” and fined. The syndicate is historically known for its violence, especially against rival cartels. Most of the clashes occur in lucrative trafficking zones to the United States.
Currently headed by Ismael El Mayo Zambada and EL Chapo’s sons, it has been able to wield serious authority in areas in which it has a presence. In October last year, the cartel was able to force the authorities to release Ovidio Guzman, one of the organization’s leaders, after he was captured during a raid on a residence in Culiacan.
The standoff caused the government to capitulate, leading to an uproar over the handling of the operation. President Lopez Obrador’s mantra in fighting the cartels has been “hugs not bullets,” a policy that many believe has emboldened the cartels and led to an increase in violence.
He recently ordered the military back on the streets to keep law and order after the country saw an upsurge in the murder rate. March was the deadliest month this year, even with the coronavirus ravaging the country. More than 2,500 murders were reported.