Over three days in August, Mexico’s government announced two big security policies.
A Southern Border Plan is already cracking down on migration from Central America, and the United States plans to support it. As a result of enforcement, the cargo trains that carry migrants northward are suddenly empty—so where are the migrants? How are they traveling now?
The Gendarmería, a new 5,000-person Federal Police unit, went officially online and is now operating in several states. This rapid-deployment force has been trained by Mexico’s Army and by police from France and Colombia.
What does the new Southern Border Strategy mean for the tens of thousands of Central American migrants, some of them fleeing violence, who pass through Mexico’s porous southern border zone? Will the new police unit make a dent in organized crime, or help ease the Mexican military out of its big domestic mission? Will all these new “boots on the ground” come with better human rights and anti-corruption controls?
In this podcast Adam Isacson discusses these questions and much more with the following renowned experts and activists on the ground:
- Raul Benítez Manaut of Mexico’s Autonomous National University (UNAM) in Mexico City;
- Alejandro Hope of the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness (IMCO) in Mexico City;
- Diego Lorente of the Fray Matías de Córdoba Human Rights Center in Tapachula, Chiapas;
- Migration expert Gabriela Morales García, based in Mexico City;
- Juan Salgado of the Center for Economic Research and Teaching (CIDE) in Mexico City; and
- Maureen Meyer, WOLA’s Senior Associate for Mexico and Migrant Rights.
We conclude that while Mexico is right to do more to enforce its laws, some alarming consequences don’t appear to have been thought through.
Migrants will keep coming despite the Southern Border Plan, but by pushing them into more clandestine routes, the Plan may make them more vulnerable to smugglers, kidnappers, organized crime, and corrupt officials. For its part, the Gendarmería is a well-trained force, but it is too small to reduce the military’s public security role, and it is not clear how it will avoid the same patterns of corruption and abuse into which other Mexican security forces have fallen.
Stronger internal controls can punish and reduce corruption and human rights abuse—but they don’t figure prominently into either plan.
Download 18-09-2014 (39.52 MB)
Duration: 43:07 m – Filetype: mp3 – Bitrate: 128 KBPS – Frequency: 44100 HZ