Mexico has taken further steps forward in its fight against organised crime, by approving the Internal Security Law on November 30, Animal Político reported. Despite facing criticism about accountability and transparency, the lower house of congress approved the bill which will now move to the senate for further debate.
In simple terms, the bill would give the president the overriding authority to order Mexico’s armed forces to intervene in situations where “internal security” is believed to be threatened. The bill would also increase the information gathering capability of the armed forces to include any the use of any methods considered to be “lawful”
As the security situation in Mexico continues to deteriorate, with October seeing a gruesome tally of 2,371 homicides making it most violent month of 2017 so far, the bill comes at a time when further action and dialogue with Security Services in Mexico are most definitely needed. With this year looking to be the countries deadliest year in modern history, Mexico’s Interior Minister Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong is keen to emphasize that the bill “does not seek to militarise the country”, despite the bills clear remit to increase military powers in Mexico.
It is no secret that the Mexican government, including the current administration of President Enrique Peña Nieto, has a predilection to favoring military involvement over the police in the ongoing fight against organized crime.
Whilst the bill may offer increased capabilities of sorts, military involvement is never without its own complications. Seen by many as less accountable than national and regional police forces, military intervention could see an increase in the obstruction or delays into justice being served. A recent report from the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) supports this theory with the findings that certain military members were prone “withholding, falsifying or tampering with evidence and testimony” in some cases.