A year ago, Mexican president Manuel Lopez Obrador promised that military forces, then highly criticized by Human Rights advocates, would leave the streets.
The newly-created National Guard, a sort of alternative to the police and the military, were tasked with the protection of the Mexican people. The goal was to reduced criminality within the first year of its inception. Instead, they have been diverted to deterring immigrants crossing through the country on their way to the US border.
Lopez Obrador’s approach to violence in the country was to initially invest more in social programs and less on military action. More hugs and less bullets. Then, he created the National Guard to fulfill his campaign promise and deal with violence and drug cartels in a different way than his predecessors.
But according to media reports, March was one of the most violent months for Mexico since 2006. Not even the COVID-19 pandemic has been able to tame violence in the country.
As a result, the president ordered in May, via decreed, that the armed forces continue executing public security tasks, until 2024, along with the National Guard and the police.
That has made a case for those who believe the National Guard mission to reduce violence has failed.
Correspondent Alasdair Baverstock brings us the story of the changing role of Mexico’s National Guard.