HomeNewsBriefMexico's Scaled Down Gendarmerie to Protect Industry
BRIEF

Mexico's Scaled Down Gendarmerie to Protect Industry

MEXICO / 30 JUN 2014 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

Mexico's Gendarmerie has been slated to begin operations as a force dedicated to protecting industries threatened by organized crime. The plans represent a significant scaling down of the size and role initially foreseen for the body.

According to Mexico's Security Commissioner Monte Alejandro Rubido, the National Gendarmerie will begin operating this month with 5,000 members, with plans to double this number in the future, reported EFE.

The new force will be responsible for protecting the "productive chains" of crops such as limes in Michoacan state or tomatoes in Sinaloa state, by monitoring the harvesting, transport and sales processes. The gendarmes will also provide support in mining regions, reported Prensa Latina.

Federal Police Commissioner Enrique Galindo told EFE the decision was part of a "paradigm shift" aimed at providing security for a sector that had until now not been adequately protected from organized crime.

The first members of the new force were chosen out of over 100,000 applicants based on the results of rigorous testing, according to officials. 

InSight Crime Analysis 

President Enrique Peña Nieto made the creation of the Gendarmerie a key element of his security policy since campaigning in the 2012 elections. The original plans were for a 40,000 strong force that would carry out various functions primarily in rural areas. More recently, the body was described as a kind of "super-police" that would have rotating responsibilities depending on security needs at a given time.

SEE ALSO: Mexico News and Profiles

However, questions dogged the proposal from the beginning. Which state entity would finance and provide the soldiers for the force -- which was intended to be a joint military-civilian initiative? Why even create a new force when you have a large national police and military working on citizen security matters?

The current proposal represents a drastic scaling-down of the Gendarmerie, in both size and remit. And the security triumph Peña Nieto -- whose security policies have not brought him popularity with the Mexican people -- might have hoped for when he launched the idea during the campaign seems to have run into a political reality: the government cannot afford to have another sizeable, national security force that competes with the police and the military. 

The revised role of the force also suggests the government is reacting to recent evolutions in organized crime and security, and in particular the rise of vigilante movements. The extortion of lime and avocado farming and mining by the Knights Templar in Michoacan was one of the main factors spurring the growth of self-defense militias, suggesting the government may now be using the Gendarmerie to address the root causes of the vigilante movement -- or at least win some political capital -- in an attempt to deter the formation of more such groups, which have challenged the state's authority.  

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

MEXICO / 15 MAY 2012

A former top police official, jailed for alleged ties to drug traffickers, was reportedly tortured in prison. This could be…

MEXICO / 4 JUL 2019

A rise in the number oil thefts this year in Mexico has provided further evidence that this high-profile criminal economy…

MEXICO / 12 NOV 2010

Speaking at the opening ceremony of a newly-constructed border checkpoint in northern Sonora on Friday, Mexican President Felipe Calderón stressed…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Environmental and Academic Praise

17 JUN 2022

InSight Crime’s six-part series on the plunder of the Peruvian Amazon continues to inform the debate on environmental security in the region. Our Environmental Crimes Project Manager, María Fernanda Ramírez,…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Series on Plunder of Peru’s Amazon Makes Headlines

10 JUN 2022

Since launching on June 2, InSight Crime’s six-part series on environmental crime in Peru’s Amazon has been well-received. Detailing the shocking impunity enjoyed by those plundering the rainforest, the investigation…

THE ORGANIZATION

Duarte’s Death Makes Waves

3 JUN 2022

The announcement of the death of Gentil Duarte, one of the top dissident commanders of the defunct Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), continues to reverberate in Venezuela and Colombia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Cattle Trafficking Acclaim, Investigation into Peru’s Amazon 

27 MAY 2022

On May 18, InSight Crime launched its most recent investigation into cattle trafficking between Central America and Mexico. It showed precisely how beef, illicitly produced in Honduras, Guatemala…

THE ORGANIZATION

Coverage of Fallen Paraguay Prosecutor Makes Headlines

20 MAY 2022

The murder of leading anti-crime prosecutor, Marcelo Pecci, while on honeymoon in Colombia, has drawn attention to the evolution of organized crime in Paraguay. While 17 people have been arrested…