"A war was about to break out": Lopez Obrador reaffirms his decision to free Ovidio Guzman
The President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, recalled on Monday the episode of the failed operation to arrest Ovido Guzmán, son of drug trafficker Joaquín Guzmán Loera, and reaffirmed that "it was the best thing", not to unleash a war in which more than 200 people would have died, according to army estimates.
When questioned during his press conference about the emergence of a supposed new cartel in the state of Michoacán, which warned that it would not allow the armed forces into its territory, López Obrador preferred not to refer to the issue, but reiterated that his security strategy is carried out without violating human rights, unlike previous governments.
"I am not going to answer about that, we are simply fighting every day to guarantee peace and tranquility; we are doing it without violating human rights, there are no more massacres, there is no torture," said the Mexican leader.
López Obrador recalled the failed operation to capture the son of "El Chapo" Guzmán, in which the decision was finally made to let him go, after members of the Sinaloa Cartel threatened the government by carrying out a massacre in the city of Culiacán, Sinaloa; if they did not let Ovidio Guzmán go.
He said that this is one of the most emblematic episodes he has had to face during these months in office, and he reiterated his conviction of the decision he made, since it was to save lives. He also said, "It is no humiliation to avoid violence".
"The Army, the Navy, who are helping us, are acting to protect, to respect human rights. And it is not a humiliation in any way to avoid violence. I believe that in all cases we must avoid the loss of human life.
The most emblematic case, the one we had to deal with, was the arrest of an alleged criminal in Sinaloa, Octavio... Ovidio Guzmán, who, because of his characteristics, because of the circumstances, if he remained in the hands of the Armed Forces, a war would be unleashed, an armed confrontation in which more than 200 human beings could lose their lives, we decided to stop that operation.
And I think it was done very well, very well because after such bloodshed the government would be left with very little moral authority and the most important thing of all is to act with rectitude, in good faith, with moral authority in order to have political authority, even more so when you are in a process of transformation, because what we cannot put at risk is the transformation of Mexico," he said.
On Oct. 17, 2019, Ovidio Guzmán was arrested and released by the group of soldiers who carried out the operation, which was described as the Culiacanazo.
Ovidio Guzmán is the first of four children that "El Chapo" had with his second wife, Griselda López Pérez.
El Chapo's son is identified as an active member of the Sinaloa Cartel and faces charges with the U.S. government for conspiracy to traffic cocaine, methamphetamines, and marijuana between 2008 and 2018.
Ovidio Guzman and his brother Ivan Archivaldo Guzman are allegedly being investigated by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Washington for importing drugs into the neighboring country and international drug trafficking activities.
"El Ratón" also appears in several judicial and Treasury records in the United States for money laundering activities.