Mexico’s president has begun exploring plans to sidestep congress to hand formal control of the National Guard to the army, a move that could extend the military’s control over policing in a country with high levels of violence.
That has raised concerns because President Andrés Manuel López Obrador won approval for creating the force in 2019 by pledging in the constitution that it would be under nominal civilian control and that the army would be off the streets by 2024.
Neither the National Guard nor the military have been able to lower the insecurity in the country, however. This past week, drug cartels staged widespread arson and shooting attacks, terrifying civilians in three main northwest cities in a bold challenge to the state. On Saturday, authorities sent 300 army special forces and 50 National Guard members to the border city of Tijuana.
Still, López Obrador wants to keep soldiers involved in policing, and remove civilian control over the National Guard, whose officers and commanders are mostly soldiers, with military training and pay grades.