Mexico president to bypass congress to maintain military in streets

Mexico president to bypass congress to maintain military in streets

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico’s president has begun exploring plans to bypass Congress and hand over formal management of the Nationwide Guard to the navy, a transfer that might prolong navy management over police in a rustic with excessive ranges of violence. .

That raised issues as a result of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador gained approval to create the pressure in 2019 by promising within the structure that it might be below nominal civilian management and the military could be off the streets by 2024.

Nevertheless, neither the Nationwide Guard nor the navy have been in a position to cut back insecurity within the nation. Final week, drug cartels staged arson and taking pictures assaults, terrorizing civilians in three main northwestern cities in a daring problem to the state. On Saturday, authorities despatched 300 Military particular forces and 50 Nationwide Guard members to the border metropolis of Tijuana.

Nonetheless, López Obrador needs to maintain troopers concerned in surveillance and get rid of civilian management over the Nationwide Guard, whose officers and commanders are largely troopers, with navy coaching and pay grades.

However the president not has the votes in Congress to amend the structure and has advised he might attempt to do it as a regulatory change with a easy majority in Congress or by way of an government order and see if the courts uphold it.

López Obrador warned Friday to not politicize the difficulty, saying the navy is required to struggle Mexico’s violent drug cartels. However then he instantly politicized it himself.

“A constitutional reform could be superb, however we now have to discover a means, as a result of they (the opposition) as an alternative of serving to us, are blocking us, there’s an try to forestall us from doing something,” López Obrador mentioned.

The 2 primary opposition events additionally had totally different positions once they had been in energy. They supported the military in public safety features throughout their respective administrations starting in 2006 and 2012.

When López Obrador ran for president, he referred to as for the military to be taken off the streets. However being in energy, and seeing homicides at their highest sustained ranges, apparently modified his thoughts.

It has relied closely on the navy not solely to struggle crime. He views the military and navy as heroic, patriotic and fewer corruptible, and has entrusted them with constructing main infrastructure initiatives, working airports and trains, detaining immigrants and supervising customs at seaports.

Mexico’s navy has been deeply concerned in policing for the reason that begin of the drug struggle in 2006. However its presence was at all times understood as momentary, a stopgap till Mexico might construct dependable police forces.

López Obrador seems to have deserted that plan, as an alternative making navy and quasi-military pressure just like the Nationwide Guard the first answer. “His time period of workplace must be prolonged,” he mentioned.

“I feel one of the best factor is for the Nationwide Guard to be a department of the Division of Protection to offer it stability over time and stop it from changing into corrupt,” he mentioned. He additionally needs the Military and Navy to help in public security roles past 2024, the present deadline set in a 2020 government order.

The pressure has grown to 115,000, however nearly 80% of its personnel got here from the navy ranks.

The United Nations and human rights teams have lengthy expressed reservations concerning the navy doing police work. and Mexico’s Supreme Courtroom of Justice has but to determine on a number of appeals in opposition to what critics say are unconstitutional duties given to the Nationwide Guard.

The workplace of the UN Excessive Commissioner for Human Rights mentioned final week that militarizing civilian establishments, such because the police, weakens democracy. Troopers are usually not skilled for that, the navy is by nature not very open to scrutiny, it has been implicated in human rights abuses, and the presence of troops has not resolved the urgent query of how you can reform the police, prosecutors and courts . .

Whereas López Obrador says human rights abuses are not tolerated, the federal government’s Nationwide Human Rights Fee has acquired greater than a thousand complaints of abuses by the Nationwide Guard. The company has issued 5 suggestions in instances the place there was proof of extreme use of pressure, torture or abuse of migrants.

“The issue with utilizing the navy in civilian features is that we now have no management over what occurs inside” the forces, mentioned Ana Lorena Delgadillo, director of the Fundación por la Justicia civic group.

Delgadillo mentioned that inserting the Nationwide Guard below the Division of Protection, though constitutional language defines it as a civilian-led pressure, is “authoritarian,” will likely be challenged in courtroom, and won’t assist pacify the nation.

The Mexican Affiliation of Employers, Coparmex, mentioned in a press release that the capacities of the state police must be strengthened as an alternative. “It’s they and the (state prosecutors) who’re licensed to work together with the civilian inhabitants,” the group mentioned.

Maybe extra particularly, the quasi-military Nationwide Guard has failed to scale back Mexico’s stubbornly excessive homicide price.

Sofía de Robina, a lawyer on the Miguel Agustín Professional Juárez Human Rights Heart, mentioned that the Nationwide Guard “has not been in a position to cut back the violence,” partly due to its navy technique of “occupying territory.”

Whereas that technique, of constructing barracks and conducting common patrols, could also be helpful in distant or rural areas, it has confirmed much less helpful and has even drawn opposition in city areas.

The police, who’re from the cities they serve and stay among the many inhabitants, could be more practical, specialists say. Nevertheless, widespread corruption, low pay, and cartel threats in opposition to law enforcement officials have weakened state and native police forces.

Greater than 15 years of expertise with the navy in police features has proven “the falsity of the paradigm that the military was going to unravel the issues,” mentioned Delgadillo.

De Robina added that López Obrador’s newest measure entails making an attempt to maintain the navy on surveillance indefinitely, “fully defying the duty that public safety be civilian” with out cut-off dates or technique.

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