Saturday, December 16, 2017

No to the legalization of the militarization of Mexico

On Friday, December 15, 2017, the Mexican Congress passed a law on Internal Security that regularizes the presence of the Army and Navy in the fighting of drugs, organized crime, terrorism, corruption, money laundering, arms trafficking, etc. within Mexico.  Former President Felipe Calderon of the PAN, in 2006, was the first Mexican president to order thousands of soldiers to fight the drug cartels in Michoacán.  Since then more than 750,000 military troops have substituted for the police in hundreds of municipalities throughout the country.  The Government today is in the hands of the PRI and with support from the PAN was able to win approval for this law in the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies despite widespread protests from police experts, the media and national and international human rights organizations.  The law now awaits promulgation by President Pena Nieto.

The law appears to be an act of desperation on the part of a government with an apparently uncontrollable and escalating homicide rate.  During the first 9 months of 2017 there were 18,505 homicides, more than 68 per day, higher than the rate in 2011, when the drug war was in full swing.  Since 2006, official statistics reveal that over 200,000 people have been killed in the drug war and 31,000 have disappeared.  The police are seen as incompetent or corrupt so the government has turned to the military to solve the problem.

Critics charge that since the military was first invoked in 2006, their intervention has only served to increase the killing and abuses in the country and this law is feared as a militarization "by law" of the country, with no future plan as to how the police will be strengthened or when the military will return to their barracks.

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