clearn.png
Saturday January 28th, 2023 7:11PM

Mexico's Senate votes to hand over National Guard to army

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico’s Senate passed a bill early Friday handing control of the country’s recently created National Guard over to the military.

When the National Guard was created under a Constitutional reform in 2019, it was placed under civilian control. But most of its training and recruitment has been done from within the army.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador says the guard must now be under military command, to prevent corruption. The lower house of Congress already approved the measure, and López Obrador is expected to sign it into law.

Opposition parties said late Thursday they will file court appeals, claiming the measure violates the Constitutional guarantee on civilian control.

“Public safety is not achieved by violating the rule of law, by violating the Constitution,” said Sen. Claudia Anaya Mota, of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, who vowed that opposition would quickly file a court challenge.

For years, Mexican politicians had widely agreed the country needs to improve its often corrupt, underpaid and ill-trained civilian police forces, and stop relying on military forces to fight drug gang violence. Even López Obrador had, earlier in his career called for soldiers to return to the barracks. He later said he changed his mind.

In 2019, the president dissolved the old civilian Federal Police and promised the National Guard — which unlike the United States, is completely federal and never commanded by state governors — would remain under the control of the civilian Public Safety Department.

But that created a bureaucratic headache for the armed forces, who supplied most of the National Guard officers from the ranks of the army and marines; those officers retained their place in the military, and were considered on-loan to the new force.

López Obrador no longer has enough votes in the Senate to change the constitution once again — that would require a two-thirds majority — and so his party simply changed the secondary laws governing the guard on a 71-51 vote.

Amnesty International said Friday's vote “will lead to more human rights violations.”

“We have already seen the disastrous results of the militarization of public security forces in Mexico over the last 16 years," Edith Olivares Ferreto, director of Amnesty International Mexico, wrote in a statement, referring to rights violations and increased violence.

Of the more than 110,000 members of the National Guard, more than 80% came from the army and the navy. The National Guard is only functioning because of the military leadership that organized it and the military’s extensive logistics capabilities.

Nada Al-Nashif, the U.N. High Commissioner on Human Rights, wrote that “the reforms effectively leave Mexico without a civilian police force at the federal level, and further consolidate the already prominent role of the armed forces in security in Mexico.”

López Obrador responded angrily to criticism of the move Friday, saying he was “surprised by the attitude of some conservative legislators, their level of hypocrisy and cretinism.”

He brushed off criticism by outside groups, saying “the human rights and international organizations that kept silent like accomplices during the whole period of massacres and torture, and protection of organized crime, they never said anything and now they are so worried about militarization in Mexico.”

The president has entrusted the military with more responsibilities than any Mexican leader in recent memory putting them in charge of not only battling drug cartels, but also fuel theft. He had them build a new airport for the capital and a tourist train on the Yucatan Peninsula. They build bank branches in rural areas and were key in the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The military has been in the streets in a critical security role for years, well before López Obrador took office. It has been accused of human rights abuses and the United Nations has long called for it to be taken out of policing.

Neither the National Guard nor the military have been able to lower the insecurity in the country, however.

Critics say the National Guard lacks the investigative and intelligence capacities of a police force. They are a visible presence on patrols and respond to violence, but do little to prevent it.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP World News
© Copyright 2023 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
US, NATO note Ukraine army gains but see war dragging on
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the head of NATO say Ukraine's armed forces have made significant early gains against Russian troops in southern and eastern Ukraine
9:39AM ( 10 minutes ago )
Mexico's Senate votes to hand over National Guard to army
Mexico's Senate has approved handing control of the country's recently created National Guard over to the military
9:31AM ( 18 minutes ago )
'A servant queen': World pays tribute to Queen Elizabeth II
Across the globe, the death of Queen Elizabeth II has prompted reflections on the historic sweep of her reign and how she succeeded in presiding over the end of Britain’s colonial empire and embracing the independence of her former dominions
9:30AM ( 20 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Biden to tell Ohioans his policies will revive manufacturing
President Joe Biden wants to put the spotlight on a rare bipartisan down payment on U.S. manufacturing
6:00AM ( 3 hours ago )
N. Korea says it will never give up nukes to counter US
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is stressing his country will never abandon the nuclear weapons and missiles it needs to counter hostilities from the United States
1:04AM ( 8 hours ago )
GOP candidates in Georgia split over Trump's election lies
The shadow of Donald Trump's tampering with the 2020 election in Georgia lands differently for the various Republicans running for office in 2022
12:23AM ( 9 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Special prosecutor to investigate Michigan GOP candidate
A special prosecutor in Michigan has been appointed to investigate whether the Republican candidate for attorney general and others should be criminally charged for their attempts to gain access to voting machines after the 2020 election
6:10PM ( 15 hours ago )
As deadline looms, railroads say strike would cost $2B a day
The major freight railroads say in a new report designed to put pressure on unions and Congress that a strike would cost the economy more than $2 billion a day and disrupt deliveries of all kinds of goods and passenger traffic nationwide if it happens after a key deadline passes next Friday without a contract agreement
4:17PM ( 17 hours ago )
Unions under pressure because rail strike may cost $2B a day
The major freight railroads say in a new report designed to put pressure on unions and Congress that a strike would cost the economy more than $2 billion a day and disrupt deliveries of all kinds of goods and passenger traffic nationwide if it happens after a key deadline passes next Friday without a contract agreement
1:52PM ( 19 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Ukrainian nuke plant operating tenuously as war persists
Ukraine’s state nuclear energy operator says Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, caught in the Ukraine-Russia war, is operating in emergency mode with elevated risk
8:34AM ( 1 hour ago )
Jailed Kremlin critic: Government has ‘failed to shut me up’
Russian opposition politician Ilya Yashin may be in jail, but he refuses to be silenced
7:06AM ( 2 hours ago )
UN chief asks world to 'massively' help flood-hit Pakistan
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has appealed to the world for massive help for cash-strapped Pakistan after arriving in the country Friday to see the climate-induced devastation from months of deadly floods
7:04AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP World News
US, NATO note Ukraine army gains but see war dragging on
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the head of NATO say Ukraine's armed forces have made significant early gains against Russian troops in southern and eastern Ukraine
9:39AM ( 11 minutes ago )
'A servant queen': World pays tribute to Queen Elizabeth II
Across the globe, the death of Queen Elizabeth II has prompted reflections on the historic sweep of her reign and how she succeeded in presiding over the end of Britain’s colonial empire and embracing the independence of her former dominions
9:30AM ( 20 minutes ago )
Britain mourns Queen Elizabeth as Charles becomes king
Bells have tolled around Britain and mourners are flocking to palace gates to honor Queen Elizabeth II as the country prepared for a new age under a new king
9:29AM ( 20 minutes ago )
EU nations struggle to find joint approach on energy prices
European Union nations are struggling to find common ground on ways to shield the population from dramatically increasing energy prices that threaten to plunge millions into cold and poverty over the winter as Russia chokes off natural gas supplies
9:28AM ( 21 minutes ago )
UN chief asks world for 'massive' help in flood-hit Pakistan
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has appealed to the world for “massive" help for cash-strapped Pakistan after arriving in the country to see the devastation from months of deadly floods
9:26AM ( 24 minutes ago )