Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Monday that he would not declare war on drug gangs after a powerful cartel showcased its firepower in a video widely circulated on social media.

“Violence cannot be confronted with violence, fire cannot be extinguished with fire, evil cannot be confronted with evil,” Lopez Obrador said. “Evil must be confronted with good.”

Lopez Obrador said root causes such as poverty should be tackled in order to lower crime rates. “We are not going to declare war,” he said.

The video shows a line of military vehicles, with members of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) wielding assault rifles. The cartel members began shooting off their weapons, while cheering their leader El Mencho, the alias of drug lord Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes. Cervantes is wanted in both Mexico and the U.S. on charges of drug trafficking, organized crime involvement and illegal possession of firearms. The CJNG is one of Mexico’s most powerful crime organizations and is in an armed conflict with other cartels, such as La Nueva Plaza, a splinter group of the CJNG. 

Lopez Obrador’s comments come as murders in Mexico have edged up to a record high in the first six months of 2020. In the first half of this year, there were 17,439 murders, a 1.7% increase over the same period last year, preliminary government data showed on Monday. 

After taking power in 2018, Lopez Obrador has taken a new strategy to combat drug violence, using the phrase “hugs, not bullets.” Lopez Obrador has been slammed for his non-confrontational approach, with opponents criticizing Lopez Obrador for being soft on crime. 

Lopez Obrador has had a different strategy from his predecessors. Former President Felipe Calderon, who served from 2006 to 2012, launched a war against cartels just 10 days after taking office and extradited some prominent Mexican drug lords to the U.S.