Foto: SinEmbargo Mx

Accusations of narcotrafficking financing political campaigns, including those of President López Obrador, have generated tension in Mexico during its largest electoral process to date, exacerbating violence and political polarization.

The alleged financing of drug cartels to Mexican politicians’ campaigns has brought the issue to the national forefront, particularly as the primary accusation is directed towards the President of the Republic, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who is in his final year of office.

On January 30, three reports were published in international media by Tim Golden in ProPublica, Anabel Hernández in Deutsche Welle, and Steven Dudley in InSight Crime, alleging that the Sinaloa Cartel supposedly financed AMLO’s campaign in 2006, with the source of all being the US government agency Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Weeks later, an exclusive investigation by the Mexican outlet Latinus presented a statement from a criminal leader indicating that «Los Zetas,» one of the most brutal criminal groups in the country, provided money to López Obrador’s presidential campaign and «even supported him electorally.»

On Sunday, June 2nd, Mexico will hold its largest elections in history, as 20,367 positions will be elected, including the Presidency of the Republic, as well as those who will comprise the Congress of the Union (128 senators and 500 federal deputies), in addition to the participation of the 32 states where eight governorships will be elected, as well as the Head of Government of Mexico City, Local Congresses, Municipal Councils, Municipal Boards, and Mayoralties.

Read: X-ray of violence in Veracruz: the raw and incredible crime figures that hit this state

Given the violence that has erupted against aspirants and pre-candidates for public office in various parts of the country, experts anticipate that 2024 will be positioned as the most violent year, due to the number of positions in dispute at the local level, the proliferation of criminal organizations, and the diversification of illicit markets.

Dirty War?

The Presidency of the Republic labeled as false the reports about the alleged narco financing of AMLO’s presidential campaign in 2006.

In its argument, it pointed out that these reports are only based on anonymous interviews and did not present conclusive statements, but rather the account of agents whose investigation was suspended by their own agency.

Another point of clarification was that they omitted to mention that the DEA conducted the investigation in collaboration with the government of then-president Felipe Calderón Hinojosa and his Secretary of Public Security, Genaro García Luna, who is currently imprisoned in the United States, and that the main source of the DEA’s investigation is Roberto López, lawyer of the Beltrán Leyva cartel -one of the main Mexican cartels-, known as ‘Jennifer’, who has been a protected witness since 2010.

Elizabeth García Vilchis, director of Networks at the General Coordination of Social Communication and spokesperson for Quién es Quien en las Mentiras in the presidential morning conference, pointed out that none of the alleged revelations provide evidence against President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

«Moreover, Mike Vigil, former head of DEA operations, made a media tour and stated in interviews, in these interviews, that when he read Tim Golden’s article for ProPublica, he realized that there was no evidence of what they were trying to say, that there was not a single piece of evidence. It is evident that this is a campaign, which shows synchronized swimming. But this not only appeared since January 30, it continues until today, they did not stop. Almost all the media…», she declared.

Likewise, the federal official accused journalists of «inflating» the #Narcopresident trend, and noted that less than half of the accounts using this hashtag, i.e., the 42 percent that drove this trend to number one in Mexico, reside in the country; the rest, i.e., 58 percent, are accounts from abroad, which means the use of bots or robots to maintain the trend for several days.

In that sense, she highlighted Argentina with 29 percent and Spain with 14 percent for the volume of tweets, followed by Colombia, the United States, and the Netherlands.

On his part, the national president of Morena, Mario Delgado, accused the «PRIAN» of creating a digital mafia on social networks to affect the movement, as both opposition parties allegedly orchestrated a coordinated campaign from the social network X (formerly Twitter), which coincided with Xóchitl Gálvez’s visit to the United States, in an attempt to link the transformation movement to illicit activities.

«They are determined to try to link us to illicit activities without evidence. We have a very solid investigation of what happened in the last few days with a coordinated campaign on Twitter, on the digital network X, which is directly aimed at attacking our president and our candidate,» Delgado stated.

According to his version, this digital campaign has been orchestrated with over 161 thousand fake accounts and bots from more than 50 countries (such as the United States, the Philippines, India, Japan, or China), in addition to another 147 thousand accounts directly linked to the PRI and the PAN. On average, 53% of the total attacks against the movement are part of a false conversation.

«We already know perfectly well who initiates the hashtags, with the attack ideas. From there they launch and all the bot accounts start to act, start to interact to generate trends. […] It was monitored until February 10th and, on average, we have that more than half of the conversation is false. The other half is driven by accounts that are part of the digital mafia that the PRI and the PAN have integrated,» he added.

Mario Delgado ensured that the funding for these fake accounts has cost approximately one million dollars weekly. «This is not a voluntary action, for example, to convince some people in Japan to join these trends, or to talk to people from those 50 countries. No, this costs money and in the estimate we have is that they are already investing one million dollars a week in financing these fake accounts, in financing this dirty war to try to affect us.»

Finally, the president of Morena asserted that in the transformation government, they combat drug trafficking and have eliminated corruption.

Presidential arguments

On his part, President López Obrador considered that the accusation against him arose after he revealed that there was a second shooter in the assassination of the PRI presidential candidate, Luis Donaldo Colosio Murrieta, perpetrated in 1994, and that the individual worked at the Center for Research and National Security (CISEN).

«Why did they get so angry? I have been searching for an explanation for the attack on an issue that supposedly arose in the 2006 election and was dismissed many years ago. Why bring it up? Furthermore, I would like the journalist to clarify, because he could help a lot. Furthermore, he is a two-time winner of the World Journalism Prize. Let him tell me who hired him or how he was contacted because he was, it seems, in Israel and they brought him,» he publicly stated.

He even went further to suggest that the American journalist, author of one of the articles, had links with opposition politicians.

«I didn’t know, I received a report that this journalist was running with Salinas, I mean, he was a correspondent for the New York Times. Yes. And he used to go running with Salinas, very close to Calderón (…) Not Calderón, but Otto Granados, Carreño Carlón, surely Castañeda, I mean, all of this group. But that’s why it would help us a lot if he, as a journalist, gave us an account, when he knew about the case, who he spoke to, who invited him to come to Mexico to discuss the case, when he arrived, how long he stayed, and, as the late Chico Che would say, ‘who was behind it’,» he commented.

And regarding the accusations made in an interview by Celso Ortega, the current leader of the criminal group Los Ardillos, suggesting that Los Zetas had financed and supported López Obrador, the president asserted that it was a setup.

«Loret now went to interview a leader of a gang who told him that I had received or been given resources, or had contributed to the campaign in 2006. And a whole big media campaign. Evidence. Where is the evidence? And why this setup? In a ridiculous way, a hooded person. But also, who has to cross mountains —they tell me, right?— to reach where the camp of this group and the leader of the group is. I think he did that where he has his estate, here in Valle de Bravo he must have like, what are they called?, the sets. It’s sets, right?, of television from there from Televisa,» he retorted.

The voice of the opposition

In this regard, the national president of the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), Jesús Zambrano Grijalva, warned that during the elections to be held in Mexico on June 2, the opposition coalition (Institutional Revolutionary Party, National Action Party, and the Party of the Democratic Revolution) will face a «state election and a security crisis in the hands of organized crime.»

Likewise, he insisted that the security of a federal election, the largest in the history of Mexico, is fundamentally the responsibility of the Federal Government, demanding that it not evade its responsibility.

«Today there are not sufficient guarantees for these elections, it is not enough for some candidates to be assigned a bodyguard or protection,» he asserted.

The party leader emphasized the security situation facing the country and pointed out that «we are drowning in blood and in the National Palace, they are locked in a bubble, they do not see, they do not hear, and they do not take into account what is really happening.»

«He wants us to forget about the very serious accusations about his ties to organized crime, which portray him as a narco ruler. He wants us to forget about this, but we are not going to overlook the accusations,» he asserted.

For his part, the president of the National Action Party (PAN), Marko Cortés Mendoza, opined that beyond whether he received money from drug trafficking for his presidential campaign in 2006 or not, the facts unequivocally show that Andrés Manuel López Obrador turned drug cartels into the favored proteges of his regime.

«In a country bathed in blood, with almost 180,000 dead, drug cartels expanded, grew larger, stronger, and more immune under the policy of hugs, not bullets,» he said.

He also recalled that during this government, there have been 120,000 intentional homicides more than those recorded during Vicente Fox Quesada’s government; 60,000 more than during Felipe Calderón Hinojosa’s six-year term, and 24,000 more than during Enrique Peña Nieto’s administration.

Cortés Mendoza explained that, with the government’s complacency, paid or not by drug money, cartels share political power because in many regions of the country, residents turn to local bosses to ask for peace at a party or to obtain permits for trading.

«In many parts of the country, drug lords are more powerful than López Obrador, and, to make matters worse, today we know that the DEA investigated the delivery of two million dollars from the Sinaloa Cartel to López Obrador’s driver for the 2006 presidential campaign. We also know that the Secretary of National Defense warned the Attorney General in 2019 about the appointment of one of López Obrador’s bodyguards to a high-ranking position in the SEIDO, despite being linked to the Beltrán Leyva Cartel,» Cortés denounced.

He considered that with the «complicity» of the government, paid or not, drug traffickers strip entire communities of their land and livestock, set prices and trade basic products, collect protection money, impose terror by shooting innocents in the street, enter prisons to take out prisoners, set up roadblocks on highways, and even give mothers of the disappeared permission to search or not in territories under their control.

«The empire of the cartels has caused such a large exodus in many states, especially in Guerrero, Chiapas, Michoacán, Tamaulipas, and Zacatecas, that, in this six-year term, according to press investigations, more than 300,000 displaced Mexicans have sought asylum in the United States and nearly 28,000 in Canada. Therefore, López Obrador, due to all his actions and omissions, has earned the label #NarcoPresident,» he concluded.

Meanwhile, the coordinator of PAN senators, Julen Rementería del Puerto, said that the president must clear his name and that of Mexico from the accusations against him, and announced that he will propose a call for the president of Mexico to file a lawsuit for the allegations of alleged financing of drug trafficking for his 2006 campaign.

Rementería del Puerto emphasized that, although the Executive himself says that the case is closed, he has not filed a complaint about the allegations, and there is not even a statement from the authorities in the United States on the matter.

«It is important that, if the president is not involved, as he has stated, he should file the corresponding complaint. We cannot allow our country’s name to be tarnished by allowing a conversation from an investigation that he says is not true, that has been concluded for years, as he mentions, and as the chancellor herself mentioned yesterday, well, he has to clarify it, he must file the corresponding complaint so that there is simply a situation in which the prestige of Mexico and, of course, the prestige of the President’s name is beyond any doubt,» he added.

The representative in the Upper House added that there are important issues of greater interest to Mexicans, such as security and health.

«We must pay attention to the issues happening in our country. And violence is one of them. It does not decrease, it has not decreased, and frankly, we cannot continue to wait for it to improve. And issues like this, because we still do not know if any authority in the United States has said that it has concluded, that it has been investigated, and it has been favorable. There is nothing. And that involves each and every one of the Mexicans, or perhaps as the popular saying goes, and we must remember that popular sayings are wise, that silence implies consent,» he concluded.

The national leader of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), Alejandro Moreno Cárdenas, stated that, even before the presidential campaigns of 2006, money from organized crime has been linked to Morena, so he considered it regrettable that it seems as though the Mexican state has tacit support from organized crime.

«What we want is for them to truly address the accusations they have. It has been documented by many of your colleagues in different places that, since the 2006 process, before the presidential campaigns, money from organized crime has been linked to Morena. That is very dangerous, very complicated, and cannot happen in our country. There must be clear accusations, and there must be very specific responsibilities,» he commented.

He pointed out that Morena’s leader, Mario Delgado, has been accused in investigations of having links with organized crime, which must be clarified. He emphasized that «when Morena wins in any municipality or state, organized crime immediately establishes itself.»

«We have pointed it out, it happened in 2021, in 2022, in 2023, it is regrettable that the Mexican state does nothing, that it ignores it, that it seems to have clear, tacit support from organized crime. It is a responsibility of the Mexican state, of the three levels of government, to guarantee peace, harmony, and tranquility,» he considered.

Even the presidential candidate of the Citizens’ Movement, Jorge Álvarez Maynez, explained that «the relationship between politics and organized crime is like this: Campaigns in Mexico have become prohibitive in terms of costs. For governorships, they are already hundreds and even billions of pesos. And organized crime has obtained, in exchange for financing them, territorial control.»

Outdated laws?

At the national level, there are various laws that sanction illicit financing in political campaigns. For example, the General Law of Political Parties establishes that the General Council of the National Electoral Institute, through its Technical Unit, may request reports on financial transactions from the competent administrative unit in financial intelligence of the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit when there is a presumption of the illicit origin of resources contributed to political parties.

On the other hand, the General Law on Electoral Crimes stipulates that it will impose fines ranging from one thousand to five thousand days and imprisonment from five to fifteen years on anyone who, by themselves or through an intermediary, carries out, directs, uses, or receives contributions of money or in kind in favor of a precandidate, candidate, political party, coalition, or political group when there is a legal prohibition, or when the funds or assets have an illicit origin, or in amounts that exceed those allowed by law. The penalty provided in the previous paragraph will be increased by up to one half when the conduct is carried out in support of a pre-campaign or electoral campaign.

However, the Electoral Tribunal of the Federal Judicial Power (TEPJF) warned in a press conference that organized crime can nullify an election.

Pablo Gómez Álvarez, head of the Financial Intelligence Unit (UIF), reported that from December 1, 2018, to date, the UIF has filed 540 complaints with the Public Prosecutor’s Office and has filed reactive complaints, that is, at the request of the prosecutorial authority, in 205 cases.

In 2023, there were 96 proactive complaints; that is, decided by the unit itself, and 70 at the request of the Attorney General’s Office (FGR), which, among other things, requests pronouncements from the UIF.

Of that total, there are 3,115 individuals named in the complaints and 2,087 companies or legal entities in general.

«The collaboration that the Financial Intelligence Unit has is complete, not only with the other intelligence instruments of the country belonging to the government, there is joint action when necessary with the Attorney General’s Office, but also with the state attorney general’s offices, information is also provided to them, there is collaboration, even in writing, agreed in their rules, in their bases, and with the National Electoral Institute (INE) a new collaboration agreement has been signed that guarantees that both the information from the UIF to the electoral authority and from the electoral authority to the UIF, flows without any obstacle and without any problem. There is a complete agreement on issues, procedures, mechanisms through which we are going to strengthen that collaboration,» he concluded.

Mexico: risk in elections

According to Data Cívica, a feminist civil association that analyzes data, the victims of political-electoral violence increased by 235.7% from 2018 to 2023.

So far in 2024, Integralia Consultores has counted 35 victims, of which 10 are murdered aspirants. The most recent case was on February 16, when a councilor and aspirant for municipal president of the Labor Party (PT) in the state of Guerrero, in the Mexican Pacific, was found dead.

In its First Political Violence Report – Integralia, it points out that there are six states with a greater risk of intervention by organized crime in local elections: Guerrero, Michoacán, Colima, Jalisco, Chiapas, and Morelos, as well as nine states with a high risk: Baja California, Sonora, Chihuahua, Tamaulipas, Zacatecas, Guanajuato, State of Mexico, Tabasco, and Veracruz.

These states, it explains, have an accumulation of illicit markets, criminal groups in armed conflict, a weak rule of law, municipal elections, and key municipalities for crime, highly competitive.

The same analysts from Integralia warned that one of the ten risks for Mexico in 2024 is that criminal groups take advantage of the electoral situation to expand their control over governments and local markets.

In the short term, this increases political violence; in the medium term, it strengthens their authority territorially, leaving communities and organizations vulnerable to crimes such as extortion, protection money, or robbery.

«Criminal organizations capture local governments to have key resources at their disposal, such as personal data, public money, police officers, and other officials at their service, among others, to operate with impunity, consolidate, or diversify their business areas, and neutralize rival organizations. Although such capture can occur at any time, criminal groups take advantage of electoral situations to maintain or extend their control over local governments,» it explained.

It also detailed that this phenomenon increases incidents of political-electoral violence, that is, physical attacks or threats against candidates and public officials or their close circles to force them to cooperate with criminal groups or withdraw them from the electoral contest, in order to favor candidates sympathetic to the interests of criminal organizations.

«The incidence of criminal groups in elections will contribute to consolidating criminal groups as the main authority territorially in several regions of the country, as already happens in some entities that will hold state elections in 2024. The expansion of territorial control by


Por favor ingrese su comentario!
Por favor ingrese su nombre aquí