Mexico’s Scaled-Backed Gendarmerie Force No Security Panacea

Mexico’s Scaled-Backed Gendarmerie Force No Security Panacea
Mexican federal police stand next to their vehicle in the town of Aguililla, Mexico, July 24, 2013 (AP photo by Gustavo Aguado).

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto entered office promising to introduce a new 40,000-member police force called the Gendarmeria. In April 2012, while still a candidate, Pena Nieto said that the force would “work directly with military personnel to provide public security.” However, Pena Nieto has radically scaled back plans for the military-style Gendarmeria, which has since been downgraded to a less ambitious 5,000-member unit that will be part of the Federal Police, Mexico’s existing national police force. Instead of working to build a new heavy-duty force, Mexico is now trying to recalibrate its existing security programs and improve security coordination between federal, state and local government.

The goal is to find policy solutions that help protect areas of vital economic interest and achieve local-level law and order in problematic states wracked by violent drug cartels, such as Michoacan, Guerrero and Tamaulipas. Even as a candidate, Pena Nieto acknowledged that “the Mexican state has an obligation to fight drug trafficking, but there’s another topic that’s even higher priority, and that’s violence.”

The Gendarmeria still fits into the security agenda, but it is no longer a central component. Relegated under the Federal Police with an initial command leadership of only 360 officers, it will be known as the rebranded 7th division of Mexico’s Federal Police, ready to help confront outbursts of criminal activity or provide assistance after natural disasters.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.

More World Politics Review