HomeNewsBriefGeneral: Fighting Drug Gangs has Taken Toll on Mexican Army
BRIEF

General: Fighting Drug Gangs has Taken Toll on Mexican Army

MEXICO / 25 OCT 2012 BY CLAIRE O NEILL MCCLESKEY EN

A former top Mexican military official has cautioned legislators that the armed forces are worn down from the long struggle against organized crime and that a revision of the current strategy must be carried out.

Speaking at the inaugural meeting of the Chamber of Deputies' National Defense Commission, retired brigadier general and Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) congressman Raul Macias warned that the six-year fight against drug trafficking has worn down troops, reported Reforma.

In response to promises from legislators to improve the military's situation, Macias stated that his fellow congressmen, "sitting around drinking coffee," could not imagine the environment of constant risk and uncertainty faced by troops deployed against organized crime.

Macias concluded that because of this, it is necessary to revise the national strategy against organized crime, anticipating many more "difficult" years ahead with regards to security. He did not elaborate, however, on the direction of any possible revision.

InSight Crime Analysis

The role of the military in Mexico's fight against organized crime is controversial. While the armed forces are often better trained and equipped than police and are believed to be less prone to criminal influence, many have argued that using the military in policing can delay the urgency of much-needed police reform, lead to human rights abuses, and even increase violence in some cases.

The head of Mexico's Navy last month called on President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto to adopt a less militarized approach to organized crime. However, while initially critical of Felipe Calderon's hardline strategies during the early months of his presidential campaign, Peña Nieto has now said that he will continue to deploy the military, possibly up until 2014.

Macias' statements about the difficulties faced by deployed soldiers on a day-to-day basis adds a new dimension to this debate. Low quality of life for soldiers can increase the incentives for desertion; although the desertion rate has dropped under President Calderon, since 2006 nearly 45,000 soldiers and marines have deserted the armed forces. Many of the thousands of low-level troops who desert each year may wind up in the employ of criminal groups, who have openly recruited them in the past by hanging banners promising good salaries to any soldiers willing to change sides.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Tags

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

CHINA AND CRIME / 29 SEP 2021

Mexican geoduck clam populations are suffering as legal harvests are threatened by rampant poaching, which has driven the species onto…

BRAZIL / 20 FEB 2021

Drug traffickers engage in a creative game of hide and seek with coast guards and other security forces that board…

CONTRABAND / 18 MAY 2022

Cattle from Mexico and the Central American nations of Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua help feed the domestic beef markets of…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…

THE ORGANIZATION

‘Ndrangheta Investigation, Exclusive Interview With Suriname President Make Waves

2 DEC 2022

Two weeks ago, InSight Crime published an investigation into how Italian mafia clan the ‘Ndrangheta built a cocaine trafficking network from South America to ‘Ndrangheta-controlled Italian ports. The investigation generated…