Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Restructuring military considered to address ‘national emergency’

The incoming government appears to be backing off plans to withdraw the military from performing public security functions.

The prospective public security secretary in the new federal government yesterday described the security situation in Mexico as a “national emergency” which merits the use of the military in public security tasks.

“We are experiencing a period of national emergency, which on one hand obliges us to see the participation of the army in support of public security as responsible and necessary, always at the express request of civil authorities and subordinated to and coordinated by civil authorities,” Alfonso Durazo said.

“On the other hand, we’re a country that has security problems but not international conflicts, in other words wars, and that favors the possibility of proposing that the army support security tasks,” he added.

The comments contrast with remarks Durazo made shortly after president-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s landslide victory in the July 1 election when he said that the incoming government planned to gradually withdraw the military from public security duties on the nation’s streets.

Durazo added yesterday that he supports president-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s plan to “restructure” the armed forces.

López Obrador said Tuesday that “we are going to use the army and the navy in another way, what I mean is that we’re going to restructure these institutions and instead of being for national defense, they’ll be institutions for interior defense and public security.”

The president-elect also said last month that military forces will continue to carry out public security duties on the nation’s streets for the foreseeable future because neither state nor municipal police are functioning properly in the fight against violence and crime and Federal Police are not ready to replace them.

Durazo explained that López Obrador’s restructuring plan involves moving towards having all the military forces under a single command, adding that the president-elect’s proposal to create a National Guard will be considered at a later date but is not a priority.

“. . . Optimizing the resources that the Mexican state has for security is our priority . . . However, we are still working and forming different scenarios with respect to the [national] guard . . . At another stage, it’s probable that we’ll present an initiative,” he said.

Durazo also said the creation of a new Secretariat of Public Security (SSP) independent of the Secretariat of the Interior is an immediate goal.

López Obrador has pledged that the new secretariat will be in place when he is sworn in on December 1.

Durazo said he discussed the final details of the legal process to create the SSP with López Obrador yesterday, adding that good progress has been made so far.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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