By RICARDO CASTILLO
Just how the Mexican National Guard is going to operate as of Monday, June 10, along the 11-municipalities in the state of Chiapas – along the Guatemalan border – is anybody’s guess. Most likely, the promoter of the move, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), does not know either. And there are many reasons for this.
The rush to “comply with a compromise” – as it was put on Saturday, June 8, by AMLO during the national unity rally held in Tijuana to show universal friendship with the people of the United States of America “must be kept,” and indeed, the National Guard (GN) police were on the move south the very next day.
The first problem the GN is facing is the rush job to comply. This national police force is still in the making, and it was officially supposed to start operations on “critical crime regions” as of June 30, that is, three weeks from now.
The rush to move 6,000 armed personnel to the Guatemalan border, under rush circumstances, is being done to please POTUS Donald Trump, who as a precondition to strike down potential export tariffs on Mexico wanted the move to be done “right now.” So right now, it is being done, even if readiness is not at hand.
The GN organization is still in the making and plans were to start distributing the personnel as it was ready and available. Right now, there are reportedly about 35,000 members ready to go into action.
One of the basic premises of the establishment of GN operations was to launch it on an orderly basis. Surely, the 11 municipalities along the Guatemalan border are considered under the sub-division of the nation into 266 operational permanent precincts.
Proof of the pudding that the GN is not ready to operate came on Saturday, June 8, in the city of Monterrey, in northern Mexico, where GN director Alonso Durazo met with the governors of the regional border states with Texas (Nuevo León, Coahuila and Tamaulipas) to outline a plan to have the physical facilities for the precincts available, as well as to integrate local municipal police to either work in tandem with or outright join the still-in-formation GN. At the gathering, there was no mention whatsoever of moving to the Guatemalan border. Not yet, at least.
In his June 8 Tijuana address, AMLO repeated the announcement making just one mention of the commitment made in Washington to U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to deploy 6,000 GN members along the Guatemala border.
“Yesterday, (Mexican Foreign Relations Secretary) Marcelo (Ebrard) made it public that the National Guard will be deployed at the southern border as part of a national security program and in accordance with the Constitution,” AMLO said. “The National Guard can help in supporting tasks on migration and (government) facilities protection.”
Just exactly what the duties of the GN in the task of controlling the massive tide of migrants coming out of Central America will be is anybody’s guess, at least, for now.
What Ebrard said on Friday, June 7, was that “we have informed the United States that the National Guard is integrated and has the task of covering all of the regional coordination precincts along the southern border.”
The problems is that there are no precincts now and the question for the meantime is whether the GN organization – which has a military structure – is ready to begin rush-job operations from scratch and empty-handed. Definitely, first and foremost, the GN will have to establish a work plan without any previous logistics structure. There’s no such thing in this case as an advance battalion to do set up housing for 6,000 troops.
For now, we Mexicans can do nothing else but watch, and quote Trump when he said, “We’ll see what happens.”