Mexico: Military To Control National Guard

By R. M. Vargas, The Chicago Times

September 09, 2022

MEXICO CITY – The Mexican Senate passed the final piece of legislation that will transfer control of the nation’s National Guard to the military.  Many in the opposition party claim it will lead to further abuses by the military that is plagued with accusations of abuse of power and even murder.

The 71-51 vote in favor of the legislation follows the approval by the lower house, also known as the Chamber of Deputies.  It has been reported that President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador will sign the bill into law.

In 2019, the National Guard was placed under civilian control, yet Lopez Obrador claims that the National Guard needs to be managed by the military in order to root out corruption.  Opposition leaders plan to challenge the bill in court since they claim it violates the constitution.

The Mexican military has a blemished record filled with countless claims of abuse of power and even murder, including the 2014 “disappearance” of 43 students.  Lopez Obrador recently promised to reduce the number of military forces patrolling the streets; however, since 2018, he has only increased the military presence.  This is leaving many to wonder if the consolidation of the National Guard is the first step to a full military dictatorship.

Lopez Obrador justified his shifting view on military patrols in the streets by citing the ever-increasing amount of violent crime in Mexico.  Lopez Obrador declined to explain why crime levels have not declined as increased military patrols roam the streets.  Some sources within the Chamber of Deputies believe the military views the continued rise in crime as a key to increasing the military’s power and influence in the government, while other believe the military has been corrupted by the drug cartels.