Mexico’s President defends releasing El Chapo’s son

Latin America

Mexico's President defends releasing El Chapo's sonEDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / A Sinaloa’s state police walks at a cordoned-off area after heavily armed gunmen waged an all-out battle against Mexican security forces in Culiacan, Sinaloa state, Mexico, on October 18, 2019. – Mexico’s president faced a firestorm of criticism Friday as his security forces confirmed they arrested kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s son, then released him when his cartel responded with an all-out gun battle. (Photo by ALFREDO ESTRELLA / AFP)

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is defending a decision by security forces. They captured the son of drug kingpin Joaquin El Chapo Guzman but then after a gun battle they released him back into criminal hands.

CGTN’s Franc Contreras has more from Mexico City.

Mexican security forces arrived at a home in the upscale Tres Rios District of Culiacan. Moments later, they entered the residence and captured Ovidio Guzman, the son of jailed drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

That decision unleashed a series of violent gun battles in the capital of Sinaloa state between cartel gunmen and Mexican security forces. It lasted into the night. Witnesses described the scene as a war zone.

Much of the clash took place in broad daylight. Cartel members blocked streets and set fire to vehicles and gasoline stations. Frightened citizens ran for their lives.

In the face of this violent attack, Mexican officials ordered security forces to abort their mission and to return Guzman’s captured son, now a leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, who was briefly detained before his release to cartel members.

The next day at a Friday morning news conference, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador defended that decision, which some considered a cowardly act.

“No, on the contrary, this decision was made to protect citizens. You can’t fight fire with fire. That’s the difference with this strategy compared with what previous governments have done. We don’t want deaths, we don’t want war,” said Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador the President of Mexico.

The President says he will do everything in his power to avoid the use of violence to quell such attacks.

But violent clashes continue to erupt especially in the states of Michoacan and Guerrero. And 2019 is becoming one of the deadliest years for homicides according to the country’s statistics.