Although Mexico has the best-trained generation of professionals in the country’s history, neither President Andrés Manuel López Obrador nor Mexican society have confidence in their abilities and have “frozen” a public administration that has need to be renewed.
In this scenario, the government chose to use the armed forces to perform a myriad of functions.
Corruption, traditional authoritarianism, the absence of real political will to fight for a more democratic society, popular discouragement and a socially entrenched militarism are at the origin of the idea of relegating public administration to the background.
There is no point in changing the system
In 2018, society was fed up with the traditional political class. It was fertile ground to consolidate a message that emphasized “the hope of Mexico,” which experienced what has been called the “fourth transformation” in Mexico.
But the speech did not materialize because neither the political class nor the company itself intend to change the traditional way of doing business.
López Obrador used speech, but he always knew that a politician’s main enemy was time.
The necessary transformation of the entire political system is impossible to achieve in six years, and the president has chosen to be practical, to get to work and to push forward his main projects at all costs.
From the start, he made it clear that the Santa Lucia airport, the Maya train, which connects Salina Cruz to Coatzacoalcos, and the Dos Bocas refinery were his priorities.
Suspicious of both, the president turned to the armed forces as the most reliable arm of public administration.
The company was not unhappy as it also considers the military to be the most honest and efficient public servants, which shows a socially entrenched militarism.
The current administration must have gone through a particularly complicated time in which organized crime controls not only Mexico but also its entire area of influence in the Caribbean and Central America, which has led to an increase in insecurity in America. Latin in the last three years, decades.
AMLO inherited a country in which the political class failed to reform the security apparatus, despite having allocated millions of resources.
In this context, the president was pragmatic and chose to postpone this reform, creating and consolidating the National Guard.
Added to this are the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, which affects governance and the economy in all countries of the world and also affects the life expectancy of many people.
AMLO never intended to transform the country politically, but rather to carry out a series of projects that would allow him to be remembered.
This is why he chose the Armed Forces as an instrument of operation.
Concern over the growing military presence
On the other hand, organized civil society and academic sectors are concerned about the growing military presence in different activities and have sounded their “red flags”, stressing the risk that different spheres of society will be “militarized”.
The consolidation of the National Guard in terms of public security is particularly worrying, but also the increase in the missions entrusted to the Armed Forces.
There are also concerns about military autonomy and the possibility that the military may “get drunk” on power and be tempted to use praetorian attitudes of abuse of power.
On the other hand, military officers are beginning to fear that their professionalism will be under attack.
They perceive the criticisms as coming from the “enemies”, while the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of the Navy respond by all means to the requests of the political powers.
For this, the military needs more resources and personnel, which is well seen by society, because society, through its representatives, requires its intervention in the management of public affairs which go beyond the military sphere.
Military power has always been stronger when political power and public administration were weaker.
The mistrust of AMLO and of a large part of its voters vis-à-vis the traditional political class and the public administration, as well as its militarist mentality, are at the origin of the expansion of the missions of the Forces. armies.
This is worrying because it weakens public administration in various sectors.
But there is no blame or responsibility for the armed forces. What is seen is a reflection of the contempt of the political authorities with their functions and their refusal to manage key sectors for the governability of democratic coexistence in Mexican society.
Are the military more effective than other professionals? Their discipline may make them more effective in certain missions, but members of the Armed Forces are citizens who share the same difficulties as the rest of the population.
The presence of the military in the management of public security is already a tradition in Mexico.
We hope that this new professional and efficient National Guard will be a success in the medium term, to serve as a platform for a real reform of the security forces.
Until this target is achieved, the number of homicides and crimes will not be reduced.
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