Mexican lawmakers pass bill to militarize National Guard


Mexico’s Chamber of Deputies on Friday night passed a bill that puts the National Guard under the control of the Defense Ministry, a move that could be challenged in court.

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(Bloomberg) — Mexico’s Chamber of Deputies passed a bill late Friday that puts the National Guard under the control of the Defense Ministry in a move that could be challenged in court.

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The bill, which is now going to the Senate, is a new step in the growing militarization of the life of the country by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, according to the opposition, which voted against the proposal.

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Lopez Obrador said last month he expected the opposition to challenge the bill in the Supreme Court. The constitution designates the guard as a civilian organization, but Lopez Obrador’s ruling coalition did not have the votes to pass a constitutional amendment, instead he fast-tracked the proposal through congress.

Lopez Obrador has followed a similar path on energy policy, failing to pass constitutional reform but succeeding in getting the Supreme Court to uphold parts of a minor law amendment.

Despite campaigning on a promise to demilitarize Mexico, Lopez Obrador has come under attack from human rights groups and within his own government for pushing the armed forces into more and more aspects of Mexican society. Its transport minister resigned in 2020 when AMLO ordered the navy to take over the country’s ports, shortly after handing over customs control to the army.

Having already employed the military to build a new airport in Mexico City, AMLO reiterated on Tuesday that it wants the Department of Defense to take over its struggling $20 billion tourist train in the southeast of the country and two other regional airports.

Lopez Obrador created the National Guard in 2019, bringing military personnel into the new civilian police force as part of his efforts to stem drug-related violence. He maintains that placing it under the aegis of the Ministry of Defense amounts to guaranteeing the professionalism and incorruptibility of the guard.

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