HomeNewsBriefMexico Inches Closer to Solidifying Military's Crime-Fighting Role
BRIEF

Mexico Inches Closer to Solidifying Military's Crime-Fighting Role

MEXICO / 4 DEC 2017 BY PARKER ASMANN EN

Lawmakers in Mexico moved one step closer to cementing the military’s role in the fight against organized crime, despite criticisms about whether oversight mechanisms have been put in place to ensure accountability and transparency.

Mexico’s lower house of congress approved the Internal Security Law on November 30, Animal Político reported. The bill will now move to the senate for further debate.

If enacted, the bill would give the president the authority to order the country’s armed forces to intervene in situations that “threaten internal security.” The bill would also allow the armed forces to use any “lawful information-gathering methods” when carrying out intelligence tasks, among other things.

SEE ALSO: Mexico News and Profiles

Debate over the bill comes against the backdrop of Mexico’s deteriorating security situation. The 2,371 homicides committed in October made it the most violent month so far in 2017. Moreover, this year is on pace to be the deadliest year in the country’s modern history.

In spite of the bill's clear language empowering the military, Mexico’s Interior Minister Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong said in a press release that the law “does not seek to militarize the country.”

InSight Crime Analysis

The move to codify the military is not necessarily a surprise. The Mexican government, including the current administration of President Enrique Peña Nieto, has long favored the military over the police in the fight against organized crime. Mexico’s decision to increase the military’s role also follows a regional trend

However, when the armed forces are green-lit to intervene in domestic security issues, it is harder to hold them accountable. Unlike the police, which in most countries operate under the interior ministry and are subject to civilian-led legal and regulatory agencies, the armed forces normally have parallel regulatory and judicial agencies. 

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Security Policy

In Mexico this has already been a problem. A recent report from the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) found that military authorities obstruct and delay investigations into alleged abuses committed by their members by “withholding, falsifying or tampering with evidence and testimony."

Other countries are facing similar dilemmas. Lawmakers in Brazil, for example, recently passed a controversial measure that would give the military jurisdiction in cases of abuses committed by the armed forces, illustrating how the armed forces can potentially control access to information in cases of misconduct.

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.

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

COLOMBIA / 30 DEC 2014

Welcome to InSight Crime's Game Changers for 2014, where we highlight the year's most important trends in organized crime in…

MEXICO / 16 AUG 2013

Mexico security forces arrested the leader of a self-defense militia, amid allegations the group was established to claim royalties from…

COLOMBIA / 8 MAR 2019

The presence of several generals accused of being involved in extrajudicial killings within Colombia’s military command has raised concerns that…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Guatemala Social Insecurity Investigation Makes Front Page News

10 DEC 2021

InSight Crime’s latest investigation into a case of corruption within Guatemala's social security agency linked to the deaths of patients with kidney disease made waves in…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela El Dorado Investigation Makes Headlines

3 DEC 2021

InSight Crime's investigation into the trafficking of illegal gold in Venezuela's Amazon region generated impact on both social media and in the press. Besides being republished and mentioned by several…

THE ORGANIZATION

Gender and Investigative Techniques Focus of Workshops

26 NOV 2021

On November 23-24, InSight Crime conducted a workshop called “How to Cover Organized Crime: Investigation Techniques and A Focus on Gender.” The session convened reporters and investigators from a dozen…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Names Two New Board Members

19 NOV 2021

In recent weeks, InSight Crime added two new members to its board. Joy Olson is the former executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America…

THE ORGANIZATION

Senate Commission in Paraguay Cites InSight Crime

12 NOV 2021

InSight Crime’s reporting and investigations often reach the desks of diplomats, security officials and politicians. The latest example occurred in late October during a commission of Paraguay's Senate that tackled…