Mexican president declares ‘drug war’ over

Mexico City

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador declared the country’s war on drugs over Wednesday, saying his government would no longer prioritise using the army to capture cartel kingpins.

However, critics questioned the announcement, pointing out that the leftist president has not taken the army off the streets as he pledged during his campaign, and is proposing the creation of a national guard that opponents say would permanently militarise the country.

Mexico has deployed its army since 2006 to fight its powerful drug cartels.

But the strategy has been widely criticised. Although it has led to the capture of a string of high-profile kingpins, it has also been accompanied by a tidal wave of violence, as the fragmented cartels wage war on each other and the army.

Asked in his daily press briefing if his government had taken down any kingpins since he took office in December, Lopez Obrador said that was no longer the strategy.