Mexico’s top military brass offer president public loyalty pledge


11/21/19 – Reuters

By Abraham Gonzalez; Anthony Esposito

Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador received a pledge of loyalty from top military chiefs on Wednesday, three weeks after a report of a critical speech from an army general raised fears of dissent among the upper echelons of the country’s armed forces.

The military’s public show of support for Lopez Obrador comes amid heightened concern from Latin America’s left about the role that pressure from the armed forces played in the resignation of Bolivian President Evo Morales ten days ago.

Read more… 

As Mexico battles drug war, soldiers may face civilian trials for abuse

Photo by Flickr user ilya ginzburg

The Christian Science Monitor, 5/1/14

A Mexican congressional decision this week that allows members of its armed forces to be tried in civilian courts for crimes against civilians is a long-awaited win for Mexico’s human rights, advocates say.

Mexico’s lower house unanimously voted 428-0 on Wednesday to change provisions in the military code, including a clause that had given the military courts jurisdiction over any crimes committed by on-duty soldiers. The senate passed the changes last week and the bill is now expected to be signed into law by President Enrique Peña Nieto.

The reform is an important step, because a civilian court, “for all its flaws, is not rigged against” civilians as military courts are, Human Rights Watch senior Americas researcher, Nik Steinberg, told The Associated Press in an email. Mexico’s civilian system is far from perfect: More than 96 percent of crimes are never solved or punished. But the military system is considered opaque, with no public access to trial or prosecution information, and is full of incentives for judges to rule in favor of the military, according to a Human Rights Watch report, “Uniform Impunity.”

Read more…

The challenges of Peña’s military cabinet [Op-ed & in Spanish]

Op-ed, Raúl Benitez, ADN Politico, 11/30/2012

ArmyThere are three key military figures in Enrique Peña Nieto’s government cabinet: the highlight is the appointment of General Salvador Cienfuegos in the Ministry of National Defense, Admiral Vidal Soberon as Secretary of the Navy and General Roberto Miranda as head of the Presidential state (EMP).

This triangle will be the direct daily contact for President Peña Nieto in matters of the armed forces.

Read more…

Human Rights Watch: armed forces initiative insufficient (in Spanish)

El Universal, 11/11/2010

José Miguel Vivanco, the director of Human Rights Watch (HRW), met with the PRI senators in charge of the military justice code reform, Jesús Murillo Karam and Pedro Joaquín Coldwell, which would allow crime committed by members of the armed forces to be tried by civilian authorities.

Arriving at the Senate building, Vivanco once again questioned President Felipe Calderón’s proposal, sent October 19th, admitting he was worried about the “rhythm” of dicussion in the Senate.

Read more…

Military broadens U.S. push to help Mexico battle drug cartels

The Washington Post, 11/10/2010

The U.S. military has begun to work closely with Mexico’s armed forces, sharing information and training soldiers in an expanding effort to help that country battle its violent drug cartels, according to U.S. and Mexican officials.

U.S. military officials have been hesitant to discuss publicly their growing ties with Mexico, for fear of triggering a backlash among a Mexican public wary of interference. But current and former officials say the U.S. military has instructed hundreds of Mexican officers in the past two years in subjects such as how to plan military operations, use intelligence to hunt traffickers and observe human rights.

The Pentagon’s counternarcotics funding for Mexico has nearly tripled, from $12.2 million in 2008 to more than $34 million in 2010, according to estimates by the Government Accountability Office. While that is a small fraction of the Mexican anti-drug money provided by the State Department, the funding is significant because of the history of chilly relations between the two militaries.

Read more…


Behind the Troop Surge at the U.S.-Mexico Border

Time, 2/28/2009

Rick Perry
Rick Perry
The ebbing stretch of Rio Grande that divides the Texas city of El Paso from the Mexican city of Juarez may soon become one of the world’s most militarized borders. This week, as Texas Governor Rick Perry went to El Paso to announce that has asked Washington for 1,000 more “boots on the ground” to enforce the border, Mexico’s government ordered 5,000 extra soldiers to Juarez. The armies massing on both sides of the border are marching against a common foe — drug cartels — and the coming months will be a crucial test as to whether they can effectively work together to fight it.

Read more…