Interior Secretary Olga Sánchez Cordero has expressed confidence that the National Guard will achieve positive results in the fight against violence and insecurity “very soon,” but not by itself.
Addressing lawmakers in the lower house of Congress on Wednesday, Sánchez said the new security force “is taking the essential steps for its integration and deployment” and has a “solid legal framework” within which to operate.
“Results will be seen very soon,” she said.
Formally inaugurated at the end of June, about 70,000 National Guard members have already been deployed to 150 regions across the country but the government has said that its ranks will swell to 150,000 by 2021.
National homicide numbers remained unchanged between July and August – the first two full months of the National Guard’s nationwide deployment – but Guanajuato and Michoacán both saw significant increases in violence, and Mexico is still on track to record its most violent year in recent history.
While expressing optimism that the National Guard will be successful in reducing violence, Sánchez stressed that it will not be able to achieve peace across Mexico on its own.
“. . . Without the purification, restructuring and strengthening of the state and municipal police,” it will be impossible to meet citizens’ demands for security in the nation’s “streets and squares, roads and highways, cities and the countryside,” she said.
Sánchez emphasized the importance of state governments’ “on-time” compliance with Article 7 of the reform decree that created the National Guard, “so that state and municipal police have the essential resources for their strengthening.”
Article 7 stipulates that state governments must present an assessment of the capacity of state and municipal police forces and a plan to strengthen them. They must do so by the end of November.
The federal government has allocated funds in the 2020 budget so that states can execute police reinforcement plans.
Asked by opposition lawmakers about the high levels of violence in the 10 months since the government took office, the interior secretary stressed that the situation isn’t new but one that has been inherited from past federal administrations.
“We have this problem [because] young people weren’t looked after, victims of violence, which mainly comes from organized crime, weren’t attended to,” Sánchez said.
Inaugurating the National Guard on June 30, President López Obrador acknowledged that his government has not yet made progress in combating the high levels of insecurity.
“Solving the serious problem of insecurity and violence is something we still have to do . . . We can’t say that we’ve advanced. Unfortunately, in that area the same conditions that we inherited from previous governments prevail,” he said.
In August, López Obrador took specific aim at former president Felipe Calderón, who launched the so-called war on drugs by deploying the military to fight cartels shortly after he took office in 2006.
“Calderón stirred up a hornet’s nest and we inherited all this that we suffer today,” he said.
“He didn’t even have a plan, and instead of attending to the causes, he wanted to solve the problem in a spectacular fashion, using only force.”
Source: El Financiero (sp)