I recorded a great podcast yesterday with the director of WOLA’s Mexico program, Stephanie Brewer. It’s about a report they published last week about the growing power of Mexico’s armed forces, and how hard it is to hold them accountable for human rights abuse even as they confront, and arrest, thousands of people per year while carrying out policing missions.
Here’s the language from WOLA’s podcast landing page.
A new report from WOLA dives deeply into the growing power and roles of Mexico’s military, and what that means for human rights, democracy, and U.S.-Mexico relations.
WOLA’s Mexico Program published Militarized Transformation: Human Rights and Democratic Controls in a Context of Increasing Militarization in Mexico on September 6. The report voices alarm about the Mexican armed forces’ growing list of civilian tasks, and civilians’ diminishing ability to hold military personnel accountable for human rights abuse and other illegal behavior.
In some new findings, Militarized Transformation reveals official data showing that the military isn’t even reporting its arrests of civilians to civilian security authorities and oversight bodies. The report updates and group together various indicators regarding the justice system and respect for fundamental rights by the security forces, with a focus on the armed forces and the National Guard, as well as the differentiated impacts and situations faced by women. And it makes a series of short-term and long-term recommendations for needed reforms.
This podcast episode features the report’s principal author, Stephanie Brewer, WOLA’s director for Mexico. Brewer discusses the report’s main findings, conclusions, and recommendations, along with a general view of Mexico’s democracy, civil-military relations, and U.S. policy.
“We recognize militarization is is the reality we’re currently working in,” Brewer concludes. “But while that’s going on, what possible reason could there be for the country to want the armed forces not to be operating under effective civilian control or not to be transparent about things like their use of force? Or not to be fully giving information to Congress? That would have to be something that that is in everybody’s interest in the short term.”
Militarized Transformation is the latest of several WOLA reports examining the military’s growing power in Mexico and its human rights and democracy implications. Among them:
- Video: Militarization in Mexico: a discussion of the future of security, human rights, and civil-military relations (November 10, 2022)
- Podcast: Mexico Sends in the Troops: Stephanie Brewer on the Militarization of Public Security (September 19, 2022)
- Mexico Deepens Militarization. But Facts Show it is a Failed Strategy (September 2, 2022)
- Video: Militarization and Militarism in Mexico Implications for Security and Democracy (May 25, 2021)
- Militarized Mexico: A Lost War that has not Brought Peace (May 12, 2021)
- One Year After National Guard’s Creation, Mexico is Far from Demilitarizing Public Security (May 26, 2020)
- Mexico’s Proposed National Guard Would Solidify the Militarization of Public Security (January 10, 2019)
- Overlooking Justice: Human Rights Violations Committed by Mexican Soldiers against Civilians are Met with Impunity (November 7, 2017)
- Mexico’s Law on Internal Security: Turning a Blind Eye to Military Abuses in Public Security Operations (February 8, 2017)