Mexico humiliated by its terrorists


LAST week the authorities in Mexico acted decisively when they arrested the wanted son of the notorious drugs baron El Chapo. But almost immediately, the police action in the city of Culiacan went disastrously wrong. Members of the El Chapo gang fought back ferociously. Eight people including law officers were killed and 16 injured. At this point the police effectively surrendered by letting their prisoner go free.

Mexican President Andres Obrador announced after Ovido Guzan was released that: “The capture of a criminal is not worth more than people's lives ” compounded the shame of this botched operation. El Chapo — Joaquin Guzman — is currently in the United States to where he was extradited to face a raft of charges relating his worldwide narcotics empire. His son Ovido Guzman and his siblings had taken over their father’s evil business. His capture would have been another blow against these abhorrent gangsters.

Releasing him may indeed have saved more bloodshed among the Mexican security forces, which included members of the National Guard; but it will now cost many more lives. It will not only have emboldened the Guzman family’s Sinaloa cartel but it guarantees that the drugs they peddle will bring misery, ruin and death to many thousands more users of their poisons around the world, not least in North America.

It is time that these brutal drugs barons and their murderous henchmen are taken for what they really are — ruthless terrorists. Mexico has a sorry history here. Rival gangs slaughter each other and any innocent civilians and law officers who try to stand up to them with all the savagery of Daesh (the self-proclaimed IS) killers. Victims are decapitated, thrown in acid or down wells, buried alive or tortured appallingly before being despatched with a bullet to the back of the head or the slashes of a machete. The only slight difference is that it is rare that these narcotics terrorists actually record their depravities to be posted on social media. The horrific images of their depredations only emerge when the bodies of their luckless victims are found and photographed by the authorities.

There can be no doubting the courage of those members of the security forces that originally seized Ovido Guzman. They were doing an incredibly difficult job. But one of their commanders showed contempt for the bravery of his men by throwing away the prize they had captured. If the law officers really were in danger of being overwhelmed by the terrorist drug dealers, then it must be asked why it was that the Culiacan raid was planned and mounted with such inadequate resources. Somebody made a terrible mistake and should be called to account.

But by far the biggest mistake has been made by President Obrador himself. While he was right to praise the bravery of his men, he was utterly wrong to insist that the arrest of Ovido Guzman was not worth more killing. Tragically thousand more lives are now in the sights of the drugs terrorists. Along with their immensely profitable trade in death, these animals run protection and prostitution rackets and use their wealth to bribe and suborn public officials, thus undermining the Mexican state.

Last week’s debacle in Culiacan was a defeat for decency and law and order. For the country’s leader to pretend otherwise and to try to excuse the failure is simply unacceptable.