Mexico’s lower house of Congress early on Saturday passed a bill to give the Army control over the civilian-led National Guard in a controversial move that critics say will unconstitutionally tighten the military’s grip over law and order, APA reports citing Reuters.
The legislative push marks something of a reversal for leftist President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who promised on the campaign trail to deemphasize the military’s control over public security but has presided over record violence during nearly four years in office. The National Guard police force began operating in early 2019 at the behest of Lopez Obrador, who argued the new law enforcement agency would end rampant corruption under its predecessor, the Federal Police.
Opposition legislators and activists have criticized the fledgling force for alleged abuses even as Lopez Obrador extends the military’s remit into other areas of civilian life.
“The initiative puts at risk the validity and respect for human rights and goes against the international standards for public security,” Amnesty International said before the vote.