By Maureen Meyer, WOLA Senior Associate for Mexico and Central America

The creation of a national gendarmerie, or gendarmería, forms a principle element of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s security strategy, and its establishment has already been agreed upon by Mexico’s principal political parties in the Pact for Mexico. More than two months into the new administration, Manuel Mondragón y Kalb, head of Mexico’s newly created National Commission on Security (Comisión Nacional de Seguridad), finally provided details on this new force during his February 25 confirmation hearing. While the government has not yet defined the gendarmerie’s primary responsibilities—such as whether its role will consist of reacting to or preventing crime—what is clear is that its members will come from the Mexican military. 

By establishing another federal security force made up of elements with primarily military training, Peña is following in the footsteps of his predecessors to militarize public security in Mexico. In addition to the potential harm caused by the increased militarization of public security, the Mexican military’s dismal human rights record does not bode well for the future of the gendarmerie.

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