Mexican president wants to re-name drug growing area

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FILE - Mexican President Andres Manuel Obrador smiles as people applaud after the playing of the national anthem at the end of an event where he delivered a speech on economic figures, in Mexico City, April 12, 2022. Lopez Obrador begins a lightning tour Thursday, May 5, to four Central American countries and Cuba in five days to discuss his approach to development and ways it might help alleviate the pressure to migrate. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte, File) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Friday he wants to change the name of a notorious drug-producing area known as “the Golden Triangle” to “The Triangle of Good, Hard-Working People.”

The remote, mountainous area in northern Mexico is where the borders of the three states of Chihuahua, Sinaloa and Durango meet.

For decades, drug cartels have used the area to grow marijuana and opium poppies, because much of region is difficult to access and has little police or army presence.

But López Obrador said Friday during a visit to the region that the name unfairly stigmatized residents.

“I don't like it, it bothers me that it is called the Golden Triangle, and hopefully we can all try to find a way to call it “The Triangle of Good, Hard-Working People” or 'the region of good neighbors,' or something like that," he said.

“This has to change already because there is much goodness here, a lot of good, hard-working people, as has been said,” the president said.

López Obrador has sometimes praised drug cartel leaders and in 2019 ordered the release of Ovidio Guzman, one of “El Chapo” Guzman’s sons, to avoid bloodshed after Sinaloa Cartel gunmen assaulted the city of Culiacan to try to win his release.

In 2021, López Obrador praised the largely peaceful voting in elections that year and sent a message of recognition to the drug cartels that fuel much of the country’s violence.

“People who belong to organized crime behaved very well, in general, there were few acts of violence by these groups,” the president said. “I think the white-collar criminals acted worse.”

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