Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador declared an end to his country's war on drugs Wednesday, announcing that the army would no longer prioritize capturing cartel bosses, Agence France-Press reports.
"There is officially no more war. We want peace, and we are going to achieve peace," he said at a daily press briefing after being asked if his government had captured any kingpins since he assumed office in December.
"No capos have been arrested, because that is not our main purpose. The main purpose of the government is to guarantee public safety … What we want is security, to reduce the daily number of homicides."
But the announcement drew skepticism from critics, who noted the continued presence of the army, which has been deployed since 2006 to combat cartels. The focus on prosecuting kingpins has fragmented drugs gangs and fueled internal fighting. López Obrador swept into office promising to curb the widespread violence, and to take a different approach. But his proposal to create a national guard has fueled fears of a permanently militarized country.