AMLO transfers the National Guard to the army in a threat against the Mexican working class
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, known as AMLO, announced last week that he would attempt to amend the Constitution to place the country’s National Guard under military control. He also plans to expand the nationwide deployment of the army and navy beyond the 2024 limit he decreed in 2020.
These maneuvers are preparations to establish a military dictatorship and crush the imminent eruption of working class struggles against inequality and capitalist exploitation.
Having lost its absolute majority in Congress last year – in itself a sign of growing opposition – AMLO says it will impose the change by presidential decree and has arrogantly dismissed any potential challenge to the Supreme Court, where several recent challenges against policing by the military have simply languished.
“I think the best thing is for the National Guard to be a branch of the Department of Defense to give it stability over time and prevent it from being corrupted,” he said during a briefing. press conference on August 9. “Human rights are now respected,” he added, “there is no more torture or massacres.”
Hours later, attacks erupted in Guadalajara, reportedly by drug cartel members, who blocked streets, fired weapons at random, and set fire to vehicles, OXXO supermarkets, and other buildings. Similar events erupted in Ciudad Juárez two days later, killing 11 people, and again the next day in Tijuana and Mexicali.
Anabel Hernández, an exiled journalist in Germany who specializes in links between drug cartels and the state, told Deutsche Welle that a source close to the presidency said the events were staged: “It’s It’s about creating a disease and then offering the medicine. ”
AMLO’s earlier promise to send the army to the barracks, which was then inseparable from his alleged opposition to corruption, was a major reason, if not the main one, for his election. But after he came to power, his administration created the National Guard as a body composed almost entirely of ex-army and navy soldiers and enshrined it in the constitution as a “civilian institution.” under the Ministry of Public Security.
Whether it’s a military deployment, unprecedented tax cuts for businesses along the US-Mexico border, the lifting of all restrictions on the spread of COVID-19, and many other policies , AMLO has worked wholeheartedly to meet major political and economic needs. of Wall Street, US imperialism and its partners in the national bourgeoisie. Mexico’s position in global capitalism as a source of cheap labor for key industrial products is central to all of its policies, but this issue has been entirely absent from the corporate media.
The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed an additional 673,000 lives and pushed millions into poverty in Mexico, pushing the official poverty rate to 44%. Today, workers are experiencing the biggest real wage declines since at least the 2001 crisis. In February, the annual increase in the cost of the basic food basket increased by 13.9%, while wages increased on average by only 5%. Meanwhile, Mexican dollar billionaires have increased their net worth by 31% in 2021.
The combination of growing inequality, massive decline in living standards, and ongoing massive deaths and illnesses from novel variants of COVID-19 threatens to cause a social eruption like that of Sri Lanka. However, to continue these attacks on workers, AMLO is consolidating a garrison state and setting an authoritarian precedent of rule by fiat and the barrel of a gun as part of the ruling elite’s preparations for a dictatorship to suppress the class struggle.
At the same time, AMLO’s Armed Forces continued to act as front line troops for the US Border Patrol as Mexico hit an all-time high for migrant arrests in 2021.
For its part, the Biden administration hosted the first US-Mexico high-level security dialogue in five years last October. This culminated in a “Bicentennial Framework for Security, Public Health, and Community Safety” and Congressional approval of $158.9 million in military aid to Mexico under the Merida initiative, the highest since 2013.
US imperialism and the local elite have historically groomed the Mexican military and police to crush social opposition. The importance of the military finally plummeted after the Mexican Revolution until the global resurgence of the class struggle in 1968, when the military was brought to the forefront to crush mass protests and guerrilla movements. This included the October 1968 Tlatelolco massacre of several hundred protesters in Mexico City.
Along with the growth of Mexico’s industrial workforce, the military grew from 60,000 to 453,000 between 1973 and 2022, including the 114,000 strong National Guard. The police grew to 385,000 officers.
Meanwhile, murders associated with organized crime continued to rise and reached a record under AMLO of nearly 25,000 homicides per year. In total, an estimated 350,000 people have been killed and another 95,000 missing in the so-called “war on drugs” since 2006.
Confirming their enslavement to imperialism, Jacobin Magazine promoted AMLO for its “migrant protection strategy” and “pro-poor policy”. As recently as April, this publication linked to the Democratic Socialists of America denounced all demands for an authoritarian turn by AMLO and insisted that “Obrador’s program” is that “the state must aspire to become a lever for social progress, taking charge of economic inequalities”. and develop institutions for this purpose.
However, AMLO has shown its true colors time and time again. More abruptly, he joined fascist Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro in waiting six weeks before acknowledging Joe Biden’s clear 2020 election victory, backing Donald Trump’s bid to establish himself as a fascist dictator. As the WSWS wrote at the time, AMLO “sees a Trump coup as a potential impetus to move more quickly toward authoritarian forms of government in Mexico, as the country’s social crisis is exacerbated by the pandemic. and levels of inequality”.
The Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts on the disappearance of 43 student teachers from Ayotzinapa in 2014 concluded that the army and police collaborated with gangs to kidnap and massacre the students as they walked to a protest. Additionally, the Navy tampered with evidence; “all the information was obtained under torture” by the Ministry of Defense; and their arrest warrants were “falsified”. Twenty key witnesses, including several suspects, were murdered. Despite all this, the AMLO administration has not indicted any military officials.
His government freed the son of Chapo Guzmán, the former leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, in 2019 after capturing him. In March 2020, AMLO greeted and held hands with Chapo’s mother, Consuelo Loera. Anabel Hernández also reported that sources close to AMLO say he is aware of and approves of the alliance between Morena officials like Sinaloa Governor Rubén Rocha Moya, Tamaulipas Governor-elect Américo Villareal and several mayors with the Sinaloa cartel.
In November 2020, AMLO pressured the United States to release former defense minister Salvador Cienfuegos, despite clear evidence that he was paid to directly protect and facilitate drug shipments. Once the Trump administration dropped the charges and sent Cienfuegos back to Mexico, AMLO exonerated him.