Wednesday, November 29, 2023

New base near Guatemala border will house National Guard

The federal government will build barracks just north of the Guatemala border in Suchiate, Chiapas, to house National Guard troops deployed to stop illegal immigration into Mexico, the mayor has revealed.

Sonia Hernández told the newspaper Milenio that the government asked authorities in Suchiate to provide the land for the new base.

To meet the request, the municipal government spent 1.2 million pesos (US $61,000) to purchase a three-hectare parcel of land in Nuevo Dorado, a small town nine kilometers north of the Mexico-Guatemala border.

It is unclear when construction of the new barracks might begin and how much the project will cost, and Hernández said that she hasn’t yet been told how many National Guards troops will be housed at the facility.

However, as part of a deal reached with the United States to stave off tariffs threatened by President Donald Trump, the government has committed to sending 6,000 members of the new security force to the southern border. The deployment will begin Monday.

The municipal seat of Suchiate is Ciudad Hidalgo, a border town where tens of thousands of migrants have entered Mexico since late last year.

All of the large migrant caravans that have traveled through Mexico since October first entered the country via the Rodolfo Robles international bridge, which links Tecún Umán, Guatemala, to Ciudad Hidalgo.

Most recently, a caravan of as many as 1,000 Central American migrants crossed the border on Wednesday.

Federal Police and military personnel are already deployed to the area – and detained more than half of the most recent arrivals – but Hernández said that news of the deployment of the National Guard is welcome.

“We’re definitely very happy,” the mayor said, describing Suchiate as “the door of Mexico.”

The National Guard is needed in the municipality, Hernández claimed, not just for local security but also for national security “because the entrance to Central America is here.”

She said that migration through the southern Chiapas municipality has always existed but has raised the ire of local residents in recent months because of the size of the groups that have arrived.

In addition to generating security concerns, the large numbers of migrants have placed pressure on municipal resources, Hernández said.

“[In respect of] their human rights, we have to provide assistance to them, sometimes they need medicine or other things . . .”

The announcement of the National Guard’s deployment to the southern border triggered a response from the head of the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH), who urged the government not to militarize the border as has occurred in the United States.

Security forces must prioritize human safety over national security, Luis Raúl González Pérez said.

He explained that the CNDH has received complaints about the way in which some Central American migrants have been detained, adding that the commission will continue to keep a close eye on the conduct of security forces to ensure that migrants’ human rights are respected at all times.

Source: Milenio (sp) 

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