South of the border, there’s big news with implications for Texas. The AP reports Mexico’s ruling party pushed a bill through the lower house of Congress which would authorize the military to act as police in an effort to get the upper hand at long last against Mexico’s drug cartels.
They got support from members of the country’s Green party, too. One Green lawmaker was quoted as saying “We need the army in the streets” – but others are calling the move “a de facto coup” and “one of the most embarrassing and shameful pages in the history of Mexico.”
Mark Stevenson, an AP reporter in Mexico City, says some cities in Mexico are “absolutely plagued by violent crime and drug cartel fights, and the only force that has been able to contain them has been the military.”
The legislation would formalize a practice that has been going on for years.
“Since about December 2006, the Mexican military has been ordered out into the streets to do police work,” but he says, “they’re operating on a sort of ad hoc basis.”
Some say the legislation sets a dangerous precedent for militarizing public security in Latin America, and Stevenson says another major issue is that the military isn’t trained to do police work.
“The thing is, everybody in the end knows what the answer is,” he says. “The answer is to do real investigative police work and everybody knows the military can’t do this.”
Written by Jen Rice.