Protests planned ahead of Mexican president’s stop in Juarez

Border Report
FILE In this Nov. 13, 2019 file photo, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador smiles during his daily morning news conference at the National Palace in Mexico City. The Mexican president closed out 2019 with a Dec. 31 video message in which he recounted his administration’s successes in its first year, including rooting out corruption, and highlighted its challenges, foremost surging violence. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte, File)

JUAREZ, Mexico (Border Report) — Local officials and demonstrators are hoping to make themselves heard when Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador visits Juarez on Friday.

However, the president’s agenda during his three-day tour of the northern border focuses heavily on two topics: reducing drug cartel violence in Juarez and comforting the families of nine American citizens murdered near the Chihuahua-Sonora border on Nov. 4.

On Friday morning, local officials will brief Lopez Obrador on efforts to combat organized crime, which they blame for 80% to 90% of the 1,497 homicides committed here in 2019.

The office of Mayor Armando Cabada said he will also be asking for the deployment to Juarez of additional National Guard troops. Dozens of soldiers have been patrolling the Rio Grande and migrant routes since last summer, but the mayor wants them involved in crime-fighting as well, according to aides.

After the meeting, Lopez Obrador will hold his daily news conference for accredited news media. Later on Friday, he will meet with Chihuahua state leaders and leaders of the business community.

Chihuahua Gov. Javier Corral said he will be asking Lopez Obrador for money to build a specialized medical center. “There was a previous commitment to get this new building started and we know that there is money in the budget to do that,” Corral said on Tuesday.

Though the venues for the meetings have not been made public, activists are planning demonstrations. In social media posts, people opposed to the construction of a copper mine in the town of Samalayuca — 30 miles south of Juarez — are calling on supporters to rally.

The president is expected to leave Juarez on Saturday to tour the northwestern part of Chihuahua. He will be in Nuevo Casas Grandes and Buenaventura, which are near the Mormon settlement of LeBaron, the mayor’s office said.

On Sunday, Lopez Obrador will meet with the LeBaron and Langford families, whose relatives were among the three women and six children allegedly killed by drug traffickers near the towns of Bavispe/LaMora, Sonora.

The Lopez Obrador administration has blamed members of La Linea drug cartel as the likely culprits of the massacre, which was allegedly a case of mistaken identity.

Two representatives of the LeBaron family met on Friday with top Mexican law enforcement officials in Mexico City and were told that as many as 40 cartel members were involved in the attack against three SUVs being driven in a caravan by the three adult female victims, according to Milenio, a leading Mexico City news portal.

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