Last month, Mexico registered 2,585 homicides, as seen in a report. However, the violence could be attributed to armed clashes between rival crime groups in Mexico.

A senior member at the Brookings Institution Vanda Felbab-Brown believed that Mexico's drug cartels might be distributing resources to the poor and elderly as a move to amass recruits.

She said, "criminal groups are using the economic downturn and lockdowns to build up political capital."

Criminal Groups Distribute Food to the Needy

The week prior, Alejandrina Guzman, the daughter of Sinaloa leader Joaquín 'El Chapo' Guzmán, filmed herself distributing food and supplies in "Chapo Packages" to the elderly in Guadalajara. This was reminiscent of her father's regime as a drug lord to distribute his fortune to the poor in Mexico.

On the Wednesday following the live broadcast from the first food drive, Guzman posted another video asking the public to aid the elderly by sharing contact information to refer them to people who needed support.

"We want to ask you to please refer us to people who really need help, who do not have basic government support," Guzmán said.

Apart from the Sinaloa Cartel, other criminal groups followed suit. Cartels like the Jalisco New Generation and Gulf Cartel posted photos on social media of armed members distributing food and resources to the poor, Daily Mail reports.

Most of the packages the groups distributed had logos of their drug cartels.

While the Mexican government is focused on mitigating the economic and health crisis brought by the pandemic, there is often a shortage, or in some cases, a failure to provide necessary security to vulnerable populations.

Criminal groups might have taken advantage of this opportunity to attract locals and turn them away from the authorities.

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A Tooth for a Tooth

Organized crime in Mexico also faces a problem. Most of the groups are focused on shipment and procurement of drugs, a business that is heavily dependent on the stability of the economy. Because of the pandemic, there is an anticipated economic fallout that drug cartels are preparing for.

A Mexican lawyer with ties between Jalisco Cartel and other criminal groups explained that the economic shock would only be temporary for drug businesses because they would usually resort to measures that ascertain profit. The pandemic is going to last much longer than expected.

The lawyer added, "If they get squeezed for longer, many will turn to alternatives-extortion and kidnapping."

In response to the tactics of assumed leadership among the criminal groups, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador explained on a press conference that cartels should focus on disbanding their organizations, and not distributing care packages to the poor.

"What helps is them stopping their bad deeds," Lopez Obrador said.

Lopez Obrador's earlier prediction of a decline in violence at the end of the month did not turn out as expected. His winning political platform focused on solving poverty and corruption, but amidst the pandemic, he could not implement the same strategies because these were designed for times of stability.

Director of National Citizen Observatory Francisco Rivas bases his criticism on Lopez Obrador's failure to control criminality and his inability to contain the coronavirus.

To solve these different problems would be expensive, and so Rivas added that the government could only afford enough, and its most urgent concern was the pandemic. He said, "Budget cuts to public security have been brutal. These all have serious effects."