May 2019 ended with another increase in the number of homicides in Mexico(1). With a total of 2,979 (and femicides) this month it is slightly higher than the number corresponding to the same month last year (2975). Therefore, it does not seem that that the major political campaign being applied with the new Guardia Nacional and its mainly ex-military composition have served as a deterrent in this field.
If we do an analysis in terms of semesters, between December 2018 and May 2019, over seventeen thousand five hundred homicides were recorded in the country, a figure that amounts to a new six-month record in recent times. The growth, however, has been uneven. The states with the biggest increase have been: Nuevo León (72%), Tabasco (50,7%), Mexico City (43,2%), Sonora (43,1%) and Morelos (42,5%). States experiencing a decrease in the homicide rate include South Baja California (-78,3%), but it still boasts the highest rate per thousand inhabitants (33,9), Nayarit (-69%) and Guerrero (-30,8%).
In this context, the Government seems to focus everything on the recently created Guardia Nacional. This was introduced via a constitutional reform and has been a source of controversy due to its evident militarisation. The new drafting of the Mexican constitution(1) foresees, in article 20, in an exhaustive manner, that “the Federation will have a police institution of a civil nature known as the Guardia Nacional”. On the other hand, the second transitional provision foresees that the new Guardia Nacional will comprise officers from three different backgrounds: the current federal police force, members of the armed forces, both the army and the navy, meaning that two thirds of its components have a military background, which calls into question its stated civil nature.
If we observe the reality, the surprise is even greater given that the members of the new police force wear military uniforms, are trained in military institutions and their command is also of a military origin. Moreover, members who were formerly in the old Federal Police are publicly undermined in favour of those trained in military institutions. What appears to be the underlying idea is that, faced with the ineffectiveness of civil institutions (the police and public authorities) regarding organised crime and the sustained increase in violence, the only factor that can save the country is discipline and loyalty to the armed forces(1). This takes place within a framework where military involvement has been evident, at least since Felipe Calderón was made President, starting back in 2006, and the number of homicides, rather than go down, has increased continuously and steadily, actually peaking at a historic level during the last semester (December-May).
Although official discourse talks of including social measures to help with the fight against crime, the only evident measure has been the militarisation of the (recently created police force at a constitutional level despite its, in formal terms, civil nature.