Mexico’s President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador has used his transition period before taking office in December to launch a series of proposals to reform the nation’s security agencies. But the substance of these plans sheds light on Mexico’s age-old impulse to rely on needless reorganization as a substitute for institutional improvement.
Among the most dramatic reforms that the new administration is pushing is the return of the Department of Public Security (Secretaría de Seguridad Pública – SSP). First created in 2000 under former President Vicente Fox, the SSP dramatically expanded its role during the tenure of Felipe Calderón (2006-2012). The SSP, whose chief Genaro García Luna turned into an emblem of the Calderón administration’s failures and abuses, was dissolved soon after current president Enrique Peña Nieto took office in late 2012.
López Obrador has also promised to abolish Mexico’s intelligence agency (Centro de Investigación y Seguridad Nacional – CISEN), El Universal reported. In its place, he said he will create a National Intelligence Agency, which will operate as part of the new SSP.
Finally, López Obrador’s Public Security Minister Alfonso Durazo said the incoming president is planning to establish a new militarized border police, El Financiero reported.
The Border Guard, which would theoretically replace Mexico’s armed forces, tens of thousands of whose members have been deployed domestically since 2006, appears to be an altered version of the National Guard that López Obrador proposed during the campaign, before backing away after his victory.