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.

Compartir icon icon icon

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.

Related Content

MERIDA INITIATIVE / 18 AUG 2011

The U.S. has announced plans to give direct aid, including police training, to local and state-level authorities in Mexico.

MEXICO / 27 DEC 2011

Seizures of Zetas' communications equipment have increased international attention on the group's comms systems, which the Associated Press…

DRUG POLICY / 25 OCT 2019

A pilot study in Mexico is showing promising results for measuring the frequency and type of drugs being used across the…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…