Mexico creates new National Guard to combat violence

World Today

Mexico creates new National Guard to combat violence

Mexico is creating a new National Guard and one of its goals is to halt a rise in murders.

More than eight thousand people were killed in the first three months of 2019, a record.

CGTN’s Alasdair Baverstock reports.

As Mexico copes with a surge in street violence, a new security force is gearing up.

It’s been named the Guardia Nacional, the National Guard, established by the country’s president to combat organized crime. At full strength, the force will number 60,000 members.

“The National Guard is something of a Gendarmerie-type force, something of an intermediary force between the military and the police,” said Alejandro Hope a security expert.

Alejandro Hope is Mexican security expert, and has carefully studied the founding of the new National Guard.

“It will be dominated by the military directly. Its first commander will be a general, and more than two-thirds of its initial members will come from the army or the navy. So whereas in most of these forces we are seeing a trend towards more civilian control, what we are seeing in Mexico is a trend towards more military control,” Alejandro Hope a security expert said

The Michoacan campaign ultimately failed. The region remains one of the country’s most violent, and in the 13 years since it began, Mexico’s War On Drugs has cost an estimated 150,000 lives.

Circe Lopez is the president of Humanas Sin Violencia, a local anti-violence organization that sees little chance the new National Guard will be any more successful.

“The National Guard represents a strategy that has already failed, and caused terrible consequences for Michoacan that we are still struggling with to this day. Militarization only made things worse, yet these facts have not entered into consideration, and there is no willingness from the federal government to listen or to seek alternative measures,” Circe Lopez an anti-violence activist said.

The National Guard is also being deployed to Mexico’s borders in the south as well as the north – to help put the brakes on Central American migrants traveling through Mexico towards the U.S.. As the new security force sees its first action, the wider country will be watching – and awaiting the results.