Mexico: What risks does AMLO face with his promise of reducing his security?

Obrador's proposal could bring risks to his life in a country with high rates of violence such as Mexico

Mexico: What risks does AMLO face with his promise of reducing his security?

During and after his campaign events, the newly elected president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), has insisted on fulfilling the Mexican people one of his promises:

  • Not to live in the presidential residence of Los Pinos
  • To travel by commercial aircraft
  • To dispense with the Presidential General Staff, a military technical body responsible for his safety and that of his family

Leer en español: México: ¿Cuales son los riesgos de reducir la seguridad para AMLO?

What risks would AMLO face if he complies?

Obrador’s proposal, three months after taking office as president, will impact on his safety, that of his family and that of agents who make official visits to his country. For example, in the case of its neighbor United States and although the president has his own security scheme, the Presidential General Staff (the military protection group that Obrador does not want) is vital to strengthen his protection.

"The service is coordinated with local security, thanks to their experience and intelligence on the ground to work in. This measure will have an impact for any country that visits them", said the former FBI special agent and founder of the security consultant Shaffer Security Group, Greg Shaffer.

"The security of a head of state is much more complex than the escorts that accompany him, there are intelligence tasks that nobody sees, but they have to be carried out", several security officials from European embassies in Mexico tell the Spanish newspaper. "Nobody in that government will be interested in an official visit assuming a minimum risk, generally protection measures tend to be more extraordinary for these people than for the national president, and at the moment there is no concern that this will change", they add.

Also read: Maya Train: The project that seeks to connect Mexico's Southeast

Obrador's promise comes despite the serious crisis of violence Mexico is facing. A report by the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI, in Sapnish) of Mexico revealed that 2017 was the most violent year in Mexican history with 85 murders a day, for a total of 31,174 people killed by firearms.

In addition, data from the InSight Crime consultancy show that the country had a rate of 25 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants in that year, surpassing Colombia with 24 cases and very close to Brazil that reached 29. Additionally, in the election campaign, between September In 2017 and May 2018, 102 politicians died, according to a report from the risk analysis and crisis management consultancy, Etellekt.

Is Obrador's promise possible in practice?

Although Obrador announced that he will not be surrounded by escorts, on Tuesday of last week at his meeting in Chiapas with the president of Guatemala, Jimmy Morales, the opposite happened. At the meeting, he was accompanied by the Presidential General Staff on land and in air, during the flight of the Aeromexico TP02 aircraft, according to images shown by local media. Everything happened just as they had been doing traditionally with the previous Mexican presidents.

The similarity with the former president of Uruguay "Pepe" Mujica

Although the context of Uruguay is different for its small population of three and a half million inhabitants and the lowest homicide rate in Latin America (of 8 per 100,000 inhabitants), according to the Ministry of the Interior, what Obrador proposes today recalls what the former president José "Pepe" Mujica did.

Mujica lived, as he still does without being president, in his farm on the outskirts of Montevideo and not in the presidential palace, and with a small security team. In addition, in his mandate, he tried not to travel on private but commercial flights.

Obrador has announced that the Presidential General Staff will join with the Ministry of Defense and that 20 unarmed civilians will be in charge of the function carried out by the Presidential General Staff. According to El País, the managers will be "10 men and 10 women coordinated by Daniel Asaf, partner of some restaurants in a fashionable neighborhood of the capital and a trusted member of the Morena party", with no experience in this type of security. He will perform this task based on the experiences he had when he was head of the Federal District Government.

LatinAmerican Post | Edwin Gustavo Guerrero Nova
Translated from “México: ¿A qué riesgos se expone AMLO con la promesa de reducir su seguridad?”

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