Mexico Approves 60,000-Strong Security Force. Critics Call It More of the Same. By Kirk Semple and Paulina Villegas – New York Times
Mexico’s Congress on Thursday approved the creation of a 60,000-member National Guard to tackle the nation’s public security crisis, a force that President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has made a cornerstone of his plan to confront organized crime and curb soaring violence.
The vote capped months of legislative wrangling over the nature of the force and who would control it, with human-rights activists and civil society groups lobbying fiercely to limit the military’s influence on it and warning it could represent the further militarization of policing in Mexico.
In the end, Congress decided the National Guard would have an explicitly civilian, rather than military, character, with the new force lodged under the authority of the civilian Ministry of Security and Citizen Protection…
Mexico Approves Plan to Create 50,000-Strong Force to Combat Cartels by Kevin Sieff – Washington Post
In a country where there were 2,452 homicides in January alone, there are few options for a president who campaigned as a pacifist. Just ask Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
The man who told voters last year that Mexico’s violence could be stopped through reconciliation — “hugs, not gunshots” was one of his slogans — will dispatch the military and federal police across the country to combat criminal groups. That force will get a new name: the national guard.
Mexico’s National Congress approved the plan Thursday, laying the groundwork for López Obrador’s most significant security policy to date. Although it has overwhelming political support, critics say the approach marks not only an about-face for López Obrador but a return to the failed militarization strategy of previous administrations.
It was clear that López Obrador, known by his initials AMLO, had to do something. In 2018, there were 28,816 homicides, a 15 percent increase from the previous year. The most recent figures added up to the bloodiest January since Mexico began keeping such records in 1997. Drug cartels, gangs of fuel thieves and other organized-crime groups exert enormous influence across most of the country…