AMLO has doubled the number of troops in the streets of Mexico


After cartels unleashed a wave of violence across Mexico last week, killing civilians, blocking roads with burning vehicles, and setting dozens of stores on fire, the government here responded as it often does to an outbreak of lawlessness: It sent in the troops.

The thousands of soldiers and National Guard members who arrived in the cities of Tijuana, Juarez, and Guadalajara in recent days appeared ready for combat with helmets, camouflage, and assault rifles strapped across their ballistic vests.

It was a reminder of not only the ongoing security crisis gripping this nation but also President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s failed promise to pull soldiers off the streets.

A Mexican soldier patrols outside the rural church where two Jesuit priests were killed this year. (Christian Chavez / Associated Press)

As a candidate, López Obrador vowed a radical break with the militarized security strategy of his predecessors, which he blamed for turning Mexico “into a cemetery.”

He floated the idea of drug legalization and amnesty for criminals and promised to lift up poor communities with “hugs, not bullets.” Insisting that soldiers “don’t solve anything,” he repeatedly vowed to “return the army to the barracks.”

Yet since taking office nearly four years ago, López Obrador has embraced the armed forces with unprecedented fervor, expanding many of the same policies that he once attacked.

More than 200,000 federal troops are deployed across Mexico — more than twice as many as at any point since the country launched its war on drug traffickers 16 years ago.

That includes members of an expanded military and navy as well as more than 92,000 members of the National Guard, a new force created by López Obrador that is trained by the army and is mostly made up of former soldiers.

The president initially pledged to keep the National Guard under civilian rule and to remove the army from the streets entirely by the end of his term in 2024.

Now he says he plans to place the National Guard under control of the armed forces — and mandate that the armed forces be allowed to continue their policing role indefinitely.

Source: OEM

Mexico Daily Post