Q24N (MercoPress) Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) Tuesday came under heavy criticism when he announced that he would transfer the National Guard to the scope of the Armed Forces, which was regarded as a “soft” coup d’état.
Opposition politicians also dubbed the initiative a “dictatorial” measure, which seeks to increase the country’s militarization.
Unable to get the reform past Congress, AMLO announced Monday that he would issue a decree for the Army to take charge of a body created in 2019 for civilian purposes.
Such a decision would be at odds with article 21 of the Constitution, according to which the National Guard must have a “civilian” character and be under the orders of the Ministry of Public Security, so the matter is expected to be one for the Supreme Court to settle.
López Obrador argued that he was forced to use “all possible legal margins to consolidate the strategy and solve the problem of insecurity and thus give a good account to the people since he is facing an opposition block that does not help at all.”
During his 2018 presidential campaign, López Obrador promised to “return the military to their barracks” amid human rights violations mounted. Instead, AMLO increased the military’s involvement in various domestic security activities, including customs and airport construction, among others.
Congressman Jorge Triana accused López Obrador of “trying to formalize the militarization of his failed National Guard” and his colleague Jorge Alvarez described the presidential announcement as a “constitutional coup.”
Senator Germán Martínez said the intended measure represented “a soft blow to the Constitution” which entails an “authoritarian and dictatorial” trait that “will be inexorably challenged.”
Since the war on crime was launched more than 15 years ago, Mexico has known few moments of calm and the number of deaths climbed to unprecedented levels, surpassing 420,000 and the number of missing persons surpassed 100,000.
Security experts agreed with the opposition and said AMLO’s was a “strange idea” in which “the separation of powers and the supremacy of the Constitution are at stake.”