Monday (September 12th): AMLO’s militarisation of Mexico

Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO)

Name? Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO)

Westphalian identity? Mexican

Age? 68

Why is he in the news? The Mexican senate passed a bill presented by President AMLO, placing the National Guard under control of the military aka himself instead of civilians appointed by Congress. Although AMLO was worried that his bill would not pass following last year’s congressional elections, surprisingly, one of the major opposition parties decided to back him.

Why do we care? Because AMLO promised to demilitarise the country during a 2018 campaign. Since then he has used the military to expedite his domestic goals. This shows an emboldening strategy from AMLO to use the military in order to combat crime and other things, like building infrastructure, for swift execution. Still, most did not expect the Senate to accept such a transparent handover of power to the armed forces under his control.

Why should you care? Militarisation in Mexico is not new. The temporary deployment of military forces within Mexico began in 2006 with the Mexican war on drugs. However, AMLO’s further bet on the military not only further ignites cartel violence against civilians, but threatens civilian oversight of institutions in Mexico. Furthermore, AMLO’s deep distrust of the private sector for national infrastructure, and now civilian forces, gives power to the military not seen since Mexico became a democracy. Slowly but surely, the Mexican military is gaining political power over civilian areas and the executive government. You should care 6/10.

Who else cares? US President Joe Biden. The US has spent billions on the Mexican fight against drug cartels for twenty years. Now, the US government is conveniently quiet about this given that amongst the new responsibilities of the Mexican military is to patrol the Southern border, keeping unwanted immigrants away.

Any further comments? Opposing parties in Congress are taking this bill to the Supreme Court, claiming the unconstitutionality of placing civilian safety under the military to prevent a military dictatorship.

Francia Morales

Editor in Chief for Research and Analysis