Reality in Michoacán

The actions of the narcoguerrillas in Michoacán have put Mexican President Peña Nieto in a tight spot. He would like to distance himself from his predecessor’s strategy but has been forced to continue it because of what happened.

Armed attacks by the Knights Templar highlighted the inability of the government, both state and federal, to permanently control part of Mexico’s territory. Mexican Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karam tried to divert attention by blaming the action of the drug traffickers on the absence of Governor Fausto Vallejo due to illness. Interestingly, the same official also recognized that at one time the authorities lost control of the territory of Michoacán, only to later declare that the government’s strategy on matters of security “is working.”

It is also worth mentioning within this context a recent statement by Mexico’s president, who said his government “privileges the use of intelligence over force” when it comes to national security.

However, when Tierra Caliente exploded, the government returned—despite its claims about change—to the military strategy of Felipe Calderón, sending in the navy and the army.

The problem is not that this action was necessary to defend people and territories. The issue was that Los Pinos claimed that this administration’s strategy was different from Calderón’s, and tried to explain that security has improved and that the aggressive presence of cartels, like in Michoacán, is a temporary political problem for the state.

The reality of the events, like in this case, exposed the claims and the empty words said during speeches.