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Members of the new National Guard, supplied by the army. Members of the new National Guard, supplied by the army.

National Guard short on personnel: neither police nor navy have provided any

Secondary laws and other issues remain outstanding. Until then, only army soldiers are on patrol

Neither the navy nor the Federal Police has yet provided any personnel to the National Guard, leaving the first units of the new security force to be made up entirely of soldiers.

The secretariats of the Navy (Semar) and Security and Citizens Protection (SSPC), which has responsibility for the Federal Police, said they can’t transfer personnel to the force because a secondary law establishing the regulatory framework for the National Guard is not yet in place.

The secretariats also said they cannot begin the recruitment process for the security force because of a lack of legal clarity regarding a range of aspects related to the formation of the Guard, including entry requirements, evaluation and training.

That information, which came in response to a request by news website Animal Político, contradicts statements made by President López Obrador this week.

Yesterday he said that members of the navy police had already joined the National Guard and earlier this week he declared that the recruitment process was under way.

The first unit of the force started operations in Minatitlán, Veracruz, last month and further contingents have been deployed to Salina Cruz, Oaxaca; Tijuana, Baja California; and Cancún, Quintana Roo.

López Obrador has said that the initial deployments are legal even without secondary laws in place as the constitutional reform that enabled the creation of the National Guard allowed them.

However, the president’s office refused to provide Animal Político with copies of “general agreements” that showed that to be the case, stating that “it’s not a matter within its jurisdiction” and that it has no obligation to provide information to support statements made by López Obrador.

The National Guard was declared constitutional in March after both houses of federal Congress and all 32 states approved the security force.

Members of a special naval police force based in the most dangerous municipalities of Veracruz were López Obrador’s choice to be the first recruits.

But while Semar said it plans to transfer 6,288 naval police to the force it has not specified when that will occur.

Senate committees will begin discussion and analysis of a National Guard Law next week and according to the constitutional reform which was published in the government’s official gazette on March 26, legislation governing the security force must be drawn up by May 25.

Senators have said the law will set out the complete architecture for the Guard’s operation, including how it will be organized and how it will collaborate with other entities as well as the requirements for recruitment that Semar and the SSPC are currently awaiting.

Luis Rodríguez Bucio, an army general with extensive experience fighting and studying Mexico’s notorious drug cartels, has already been named commander.

The federal government has expressed confidence that the broader deployment of the force will be effective in combating the record levels of violent crime that are currently plaguing the country.

Source: Animal Político (sp) 

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