Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador made a bold statement recently stating that his country was now safer than the United States of America. This statement was made in the wake of the kidnapping of the Mayor of Matamoros, Mario Alberto Lopez Hernandez, who was taken captive along with his wife and several other family members in October 2019.
Matamoros is a border town that sits just across the Rio Grande from Brownsville, Texas. It is known for being a major hub for transnational criminal organizations such as drug cartels and human smugglers. The kidnapping of the town’s mayor is just the latest in a series of violent incidents that have plagued this area for decades.
Despite this backdrop of violence, President Obrador’s statement has raised some eyebrows. Many people would argue that the United States has far greater resources and technology with which to combat crime and keep its citizens safe. However, if we look a little deeper into the situation in Mexico, it becomes clear that Obrador’s statement is not as outlandish as it may first appear.
One of the key factors that has contributed to the rise in violence in Mexico over the past few decades is the country’s reliance on the drug trade to fuel its economy. Drug cartels are a major source of income for many people in Mexico and therefore these organizations enjoy a great deal of power and influence. This has made it difficult for the government to combat these groups effectively.
This is where Obrador’s presidency comes into play. Since taking office in December 2018, he has put forward an ambitious plan to tackle the country’s crime problem. He has focused on changing the underlying economic conditions that have led to the rise of organized crime in the first place. This includes creating more jobs and opportunities in the formal economy, as well as investing in education and social programs.
Another key part of Obrador’s strategy has been to tackle corruption head-on. This has involved cracking down on public officials who are suspected of having links to organized crime or who have engaged in corrupt practices. Obrador has also sought to reduce the influence of large corporations and vested interests in Mexican politics.
Obrador’s approach has been controversial in some quarters but it is beginning to show results. While the rate of violent crime in Mexico remains high, there are encouraging signs that the situation is improving. According to data from the Mexican government, the number of homicides in the country fell by 3.5% in the first half of 2019 compared to the same period in the previous year. This is the first time that there has been a reduction in homicides for several years.
It is worth noting that the United States, despite its vast resources, has struggled to tackle its own crime problems effectively. There are high levels of gun violence in many urban areas and there is a growing problem with opioid addiction in many communities. The United States also faces challenges similar to those faced by Mexico in terms of corruption and the influence of large corporations on politics.
So, is it fair for Obrador to claim that Mexico is now safer than the United States? It is difficult to make a definitive judgement on this question. Both countries have their own unique challenges when it comes to crime and both are still struggling to find effective solutions to these problems. However, it is clear that Mexico, under Obrador’s leadership, is making progress and is on the right track.
Ultimately, the safety of any country depends on a complex set of factors, including economic development, social stability, and effective governance. The role of the state is crucial in maintaining law and order, but it is ultimately up to individuals and communities to work together to create environments that are safe and secure. As Mexico continues to make progress in combating organized crime and corruption, it is important that its citizens remain vigilant and work together to ensure that their country remains on the path to greater safety and prosperity.