A military parade scene with officials standing in a military jeep, crowds watching in the background, and Mexican flag present.

“Is Mexico’s Democracy at Risk? How the Army’s Influence Under AMLO Raises Concerns”

As Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) nears the end of his term, the country's struggle with violence persists. The Washington Post suggests that AMLO's decision to empower the Armed Forces to combat this violence has encroached on Mexican democracy. Furthermore, it has allowed the president to consolidate his power, exercising unchecked authority across the nation.

A few years ago, the Mexican political system maintained stability by ensuring the Armed Forces remained under civilian authority. However, AMLO has since redirected substantial resources to the Armed Forces, assigning them numerous roles traditionally performed by civilians.

This shift includes the transfer of 15 state-owned companies and flagship projects, such as the Felipe Ángeles International Airport (AIFA) and the Maya Train, to the Secretariat of National Defense (Sedena). AMLO has also pushed for constitutional amendments to give the Armed Forces responsibility for public security until 2028. Additionally, laws and executive orders have placed migration, customs, and port management under military control.

The article highlights a significant increase in the budget for Sedena and the Secretary of the Navy (Semar). Since 2019, the combined budgets of the Defense and Naval Ministries have more than doubled to 316 billion pesos (18.6 billion dollars), over three times the budget of the Ministry of Health.

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Despite this substantial investment in security, violence in Mexico remains unabated. The army has instead become a tool for the federal president to centralize power and bypass democratically elected state governments.

AMLO argues that the army serves as a defense against corruption and is effective in fighting crime. However, these claims are questionable, especially considering the over 170,000 homicides that have occurred during his term, a figure surpassing those of the last three administrations.

The Washington Post suggests that the United States, as Mexico's largest trading partner and primary supplier of arms and equipment to the Mexican Army, has the potential to influence Mexico's militarization. The issue's significance is underscored as Mexico approaches its presidential elections on June 2.