Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador stated that his administration does not negotiate with armed self-defence groups or armed gangs.
On Tuesday, Mexico’s interior minister told reporters the government was holding talks with “various groups” in states hard hit by violence, in response to a question about organised criminals. She later clarified that she was referring to self-defence groups.
Murder rates jumped to the highest rate on record in the first half of 2019 in Mexico, according to official data, underscoring the challenge faced by Lopez Obrador’s government. The veteran leftist took office promising to reduce rampant violence, and blames its persistence on the economic policies of previous administrations.
“We are not talking with members of organised crime groups,” Lopez Obrador told reporters at his regular morning news conference. He added that the government will not “promote” the self-defence groups that have formed across Mexico.
“Public security has to be guaranteed by the state,” the president said.