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Weekly Report - 09 January 2020 (WR-20-01)

MEXICO: López Obrador promises results

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador confidently asserted in his New Year’s address that his government would reduce the soaring levels of violence in Mexico, which scaled new heights during his first year in office. It was not an auspicious start to 2020, however, with fatal clashes between security forces and a drug trafficking organisation (DTO) in the northern state of Tamaulipas, and a major prison riot in the central state of Zacatecas. López Obrador insisted that his government’s strategy would prevail by addressing the causes of the violence, while dealing with the results of it, especially the numerous mass graves believed to contain the bodies of many of the country’s missing people. His government released a report this week raising the official estimate for the number of ‘disappeared’ since the ‘war on drugs’ began in 2006 by over 50%.

In his opening press conference of 2020 on 2 January, President López Obrador said that the biggest challenge his government faces this year would be “pacifying the country [and] stopping the violence”. He appealed for another year to achieve this. On New Year’s Day itself six people died after a fierce firefight lasting several hours in the border city of Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, between security forces and suspected members of the Cártel del Noreste (CDN), a splinter group of Los Zetas which has been targeting state police officers over the last two months.

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