HomeNewsBriefMexico Defense Secretary Walks Back Criticism of Militarization
BRIEF

Mexico Defense Secretary Walks Back Criticism of Militarization

MEXICO / 10 MAR 2017 BY TRISTAN CLAVEL EN

Mexico's top military official says that soldiers will remain in the streets to fight organized crime, a seeming departure from earlier comments condemning militarization as a strategy, and a signal that the country remains far from setting aside this failing policy.

National Defense Secretary Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda said that the military's public security missions in Mexico would continue until necessary, Proceso reported on March 9.

Last year, however, Cienfuegos condemned the use of the military against organized crime.

"Not one of the people with responsibility for this institution is prepared to carry out the functions of the police," he said. "We don't do that. We don't ask for it. We have no taste for it and we are not comfortable in this role."

The official justified the apparent reversal of his previous stance by pointing to the public's desire for military involvement in the fight against crime and the concordant presidential orders to maintain the military on the streets.

Cienfuegos also argued that military deployment was necessary in certain states where powerful criminal organizations operate, and that the objective was actually to expand military presence across Mexican territory, reported La Jornada.

"The people are the ones that don't want us to go," he said. "It is society itself that is asking us not to go. We're going to be there as long as society asks for it and the president does not give orders to the contrary."

The defense secretary also urged Congress to pass a proposed Internal Security Law, which could actually expand the military's role in fighting crime.

InSight Crime Analysis

Despite increasing levels of insecurity and violence that strongly suggest a failure of Mexico's militarized security policies, Cienfuegos' backtracking on his earlier comments indicates that the country is far from being ready to modify its perspective on how to tackle organized crime.

SEE ALSO: Mexico News and Profiles

As Cienfuegos pointed out, one of the main obstacles to sending soldiers back to the barracks is the public's relative lack of trust in local police forces in comparison to the military. This makes it difficult for political leaders to support demilitarization initiatives. And given this political reality, Mexico's decade-old strategy of militarizing the fight against crime is unlikely to shift gears in the near future.

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

ELITES AND CRIME / 3 JUN 2021

Running for office in Mexico means risking one's life. Just one week ahead of local elections on June 6, at…

BRAZIL / 28 MAY 2021

Court cases. Hitmen. Interpol. International drug traffickers sometimes need to get away from it all. Brazil has sought to cater…

FENTANYL / 10 JUN 2022

Authorities in Mexico's northern state of Sinaloa have made a string of synthetic drug lab busts, underscoring how the state…

About InSight Crime

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.

THE ORGANIZATION

Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…