Legislation to put Mexico’s National Guard under Defense Ministry control goes to Congress

Published: Friday, September 2, 2022 - 7:45am

Legislation that would change who controls Mexico’s National Guard has been sent by the country’s president to legislators.

The National Guard is currently controlled by Mexico’s Security and Citizen Protection Ministry (SSPC), and the Mexican constitution says the body must be civilian in nature. But if approved, the legislation being pushed by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador would put the guard — created in 2019 during his administration - under the control of the Defense Ministry.

“This law is eliminating the pretense that the national guard is or ever was a civilian institution,” said Tyler Mattiace, Mexico researcher for Human Rights Watch. HRW has documented numerous human rights abuses committed by military forces in Mexico in recent decades, as well as the impunity that frequently follows.

Lopez Obrador and other officials have pushed back on criticisms of rising militarization by saying that Mexico’s military is not the same one as during the dark days of the country’s dirty war and student massacres. But just last month, a military commander was accused of ordering the execution of six students in the country’s infamous 2014 Ayotzinapa case.

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