Three separate articles released simultaneously on Tuesday report claims that the 2006 campaign of Mexican President Andres Manuel López Obrador, known as AMLO, received millions of dollars from the Sinaloa Cartel.
López Obrador, who claims to have lost the 2006 and 2012 elections likely due to fraud before being elected in 2018, denied the allegations on Wednesday. Identifying the reports as a coordinated effort to “slander” him and meddle in the June 2 general elections, he said: “I don’t denounce the journalists; I don’t denounce the outlets. I denounce the United States Government for allowing these immoral practices.”
The articles by investigative journalists Tim Golden for ProPublica, Anabel Hernández for the German DW, and Steven Dudley for InsightCrime differ only in the details.
As sources, Golden and Dudley cite unnamed US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and Mexican government officials, while Hernández says she spoke to “a member of AMLO’s team and one of the Sinaloa Cartel.” Hernández, in particular, has a long record of exposure on this issue based on inside sources that have been later confirmed, especially regarding the case of former security chief Genaro García Luna, who was found guilty in New York last February of taking millions from the Sinaloa Cartel.
The charges and evidence cited, although not shown, are credible given the numerous times López Obrador and members of his party have openly indicated their ties to the Sinaloa Cartel. For instance, last November, AMLO inexplicably visited the tiny town of Badiraguato, the birthplace of drug lords “Chapo” Guzmán and Caro Quintero, as well as of the Sinaloa Cartel, for the sixth time. He had hugged in public and acknowledged being in communication with the recently deceased mother of Guzmán.
But given their timing and sources, the reports are undoubtedly part of an effort by the US state to shift Mexican politics further to the right. They play against AMLO’s handpicked candidate for the presidency, Claudia Sheinbaum, and pressure the Mexican government as a whole to toe the line of US imperialism even more obediently.
Golden, whose article can be read as testimony by DEA officials, directly denounces the restrictions placed by AMLO on the operations of US law enforcement within Mexico and also criticizes Biden’s supposed indulgence toward AMLO.
The articles were also published a day after López Obrador denounced as “demagogic” and unacceptable the threat by Joe Biden to “shut down” the US-Mexico border in exchange for securing funding for the war against Russia in Ukraine and the Israeli genocide in Gaza from the Republicans in Congress. Donald Trump, for his part, has asked for “battle plans” to invade Mexico and fight the cartels if reelected as president.