Alonso Urrutia and Emir Olivares
Newspaper La Jornada
Wednesday, September 7, 2022, p. 4
After several days of questioning about his initiative to transfer the National Guard (GN) to the Secretary of National Defense, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador admitted a shift in his vision of the role of the military in public security regarding his proposals campaign:
Yes, I did change my mind seeing the problem they inherited from me. How to deal with insecurity? (…) Imagine what we were going to do with the Federal Police, how it was.
He recognized the seriousness of the problem:
When I came to government and saw that there was no security for the people… the people of Mexico were in a state of defenselessness. What there was was a selective fight against drug gangs. However, he reported that since 2016, in his book The exithad already outlined the construction of a National Guard with the support of the Army and the Navy.
–What was the moment (of the change of opinion), President?
–Ah, well, when I had to face the problem of insecurity and I saw the gravity of not having anyone with whom.
He attacked what he called the gatopardism of his opponents, who, he affirmed, intend to maintain the status quo with a smear campaign against the government, which they accuse of trying to militarize the country.
However, later he endorsed the route proposed by deputy Yolanda de la Torre, from the PRI, to extend to 2028 the period in which the armed forces will be able to carry out public security tasks.
He suggested that, once this new period has expired, a popular consultation could be called so that, based on the results of the National Guard under
military command in that period, people will decide to keep it in the Defense or return to the Security Secretariat.
-Would you accompany this proposal that it be extended until 2028 with the PRI initiative?
-I think the PRI does well to rectify. It is that from Salinas breadeda party that emerged from an exemplary revolution (…)
I agree with that (extend to 2028 the tasks of the military in public security)said the President, who resorted to a baseball metaphor to suggest that it is better to take action now, in case a government of another sign arrives later: “…in case… –it is not going to happen and knock on wood –, but backwards fielders…”
In yesterday’s morning conference he was insisted on the viability of the PRI proposal. “If the PRI proposes to help, it would do very well and let it demarcate itself now…”, responded López Obrador, who estimated that the proposal is eventually for that party to get out of its current situation.
What any party is looking for is to get ahead and if they are doing poorly, then only if they are masochists, that is, what do they do? If that’s why divorces existhe joked.
“Would they be received on this side?”
-No, I don’t know, that’s another matter. What matters to me is that we can together carry out the transformation that the country requires for the good of all. We may have many differences, but when it comes to security, the tranquility of the people is at stake and the fact that we can walk freely, that they don’t rob us, that they don’t kidnap us. How are we going to put this issue on the political agenda? It’s really petty. Those of the PAN.
In his explanation, he hinted that a vacuum would arise when the current legal term expires for the president to have the permanent armed force in public security tasks. According to one of the transitory provisions of the corresponding constitutional reform decree, that period ends in 2024.
López Obrador pointed out that there may be a temporary exit,
but what must be sought is a substantive, structural solution. I’m going to leave now, in two years, but I don’t want the same thing to come back from the time of the disappeared Federal Police.