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Rising Crime and COVID-19 Leave Mexico Leaning on Its Military

May 18, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
Mexican soldiers drive an army truck in Guadalajara, Mexico, on Oct. 12, 2019.
Mexican soldiers drive an army truck in Guadalajara, Mexico, on Oct. 12, 2019.
(Lorenza Ochoa/Shutterstock)

Mexico is relying ever more on its military to manage the country's perennial security problems, as cartel activity continues to rise against the backdrop of COVID-19. On May 11, President Andres Manual Lopez Obrador’s government issued a decree ordering the army to formally support Mexico’s National Guard in all public safety tasks nationwide for a term lasting no more than five years. While the military’s presence in Mexico's fight against organized crime is not new, Lopez Obrador’s orders to expand those duties risk overtaxing a force that is already spread thin, and exposing the country's army -- still highly regarded by society -- to the same reputational loss that has plagued its police forces. By contradicting his long-held stance against Mexico’s "militarization," Lopez Obrador’s over-reliance on the army will also further undermine his credibility among voters and civil rights organizations alike. ...

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