A Mexican congressman recently asserted that under president-elect Enrique Peña Nieto, the military will remain on Mexico's streets until at least 2014, further indication that Peña Nieto's security strategy will not differ too dramatically from President Felipe Calderon's.
The chair of the security commision of the lower house of Congress, Rogelio Cerda, stated that Peña Nieto will continue to deploy Mexico's military against organized crime for at least two more years.
During this time, the government will pursue a plan to consolidate municipal and state police forces, a proposal known as the “mando unico,” and to establish a system for sharing intelligence among government agencies, Cerda added.
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Cerda's statements again appear to confirm that Peña Nieto's security strategy will not differ too dramatically from Calderon's. Peña Nieto criticized his predecessor's hardline strategies during the early months of the presidential campaign, but later declared his support for the continued use of Mexico's military to fight organized crime.
However, there have been a few hints that Peña Nieto will deviate from Calderon on other security issues. In July, US congressman Henry Cuellar (Rep, Texas), a close associate of Peña Nieto, reported that the president-elect plans to implement a strategy to pursue the smaller local gangs that have caused kidnapping and extortion to rise in Mexico in recent years. Peña Nieto has also said he intends to prioritize lowering murder, kidnapping, and extortion rates, rather than focusing on capturing drug lords and interdicting shipments. This marks a shift away from Calderon’s “kingpin” strategy.
While Peña Nieto may argue that deploying the armed forces is only necessary until the “mando unico” can be implemented, his government will likely face the same difficulties as the previous administration did in passing significant police reform: namely, the lack of a congressional majority.