Mexico Defense Secretary Walks Back Criticism of Militarization

3/10/2017 InSight Crime

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Flickr/Malova Gobernador

Mexico’s top military official says that soldiers will remain in the streets to fight organized crime, a seeming departure from earlier comments condemning militarization as a strategy, and a signal that the country remains far from setting aside this failing policy.

National Defense Secretary Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda said that the military’s public security missions in Mexico would continue until necessary, Proceso reported on March 9.

Last year, however, Cienfuegos condemned the use of the military against organized crime.

“Not one of the people with responsibility for this institution is prepared to carry out the functions of the police,” he said. “We don’t do that. We don’t ask for it. We have no taste for it and we are not comfortable in this role.”

The official justified the apparent reversal of his previous stance by pointing to the public’s desire for military involvement in the fight against crime and the concordant presidential orders to maintain the military on the streets.

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