By RICARDO CASTILLO
As a result of the political bullying imposed on Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) by his U.S. counterpart, Donald Trump, the plans to integrate the country’s new police force, the National Guard (GN), have been thrown out of kilter.
Originally, had The Donald not been hit by the whim to slap tariffs of AMLO’s administration, if he had not done something to stop the horde of Central American migrants seeking the American Dream, Mexico would be living a normal life. But under Trump’s Big Stick policy, AMLO has had to defer to Trump and seek a peaceful path to a solution.
In the process, the whole procedure to integrate the recently legislated National Guard has been thrown literally off course. AMLO had to change the way his government had been operating regarding migratory matters by reassigning immigration from the Interior Secretariat (SeGob) to the Foreign Relations Secretariat (SRE), tasking SRE head Marcelo Ebrard the job of centralizing and redefining GN duties. In addition, the GN has a double command composed of Security Secretary Alonso Durazo and Defense Secretary Crescencio Rodríguez.
The integration of the GN is much more meticulous and massive than it seems at first glance. First, it is integrated by the Federal Police, and organization that has been around for 22 years and has its own operational manner to fight – exclusively – federal crimes, such as drug trafficking and gun running, as well as the dismantling of the over-abundance of organized criminal gangs across the nation, many of which have diversified their menu of derelict activities exponentially.
Nowadays, the 38,000-member Federal Police force is being reassigned to form part of the new and diversified array of departments within the GN, once it is officially launched – as programmed – on Sunday, June 30.
Over the past month, the Federal Police force has been slowly dismantled with different categorizations for officers, including reassignments. Among these is a select group of desk-job and overweight officers who were sent two weeks ago to perform backup duties for the specialty officers of the National Migration Institute located along the Guatemalan border.
For background information on this, read my previous article, “Mexican Migra Is Working Out, for Trump,” describing logistics (or lack thereof) for the hastily and carelessly plotted reassignments, which have already produced their first rift between the now-former federal coppers and newly appointed National Migration Institute (INM) Director Francisco Garduño Yáñez.
Upon arrival at several border points where they were going to set up shop, the new migration officers – who will first assist the INM established IMM officers – were assigned to an abandoned building. There were no bathrooms and the facility – according to visual proof circulated on the Internet – was in shambles.
Now, for those of you not familiar with the now-former Federal Police, suffice it to say that they used to be the most pampered cops in the land. They are all used to much better, including right from the start of their training at a specialty school located in the central Mexican city of San Luis Potosí. They were in the past always led to believe in their status as Mexico’s top cops.
Upon arriving at the southern border, they were appalled by their new living conditions. In their web messaging, besides showing videos of clogged toilets and worse, they complained they could not live “in these deplorable conditions.”
New INM chief Garduño (he just took the position on June 18)retorted, quipping that the reason they were complaining was because “they are accustomed to staying at Holiday Inns and eating at buffets.” He called them “fifí” cops,” referring to the adjective AMLO tags with on all his political opponents, particularly from the conservative National Action Party (PAN) and centralist but now essentially defunct Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), who he claims they are posh, “corrupt” politicos.
The federal police plaintiffs, however, did not see the humor in Garduño’s comments, since they have always enjoyed an elite status.
Angered, they sent home their complaints and their wives and families organized a protest at the National Palace to let AMLO know how that their loved ones were being treated now that they are being integrated into the National Guard corps.
At his daily morning press conference AMLO acknowledged the mistreatment of the officers and said that most likely Garduño, “who is a good man,” would apologize to them for his snide comment. Garduño immediately went On Twitter to apologize:
“I reiterate,” he tweeted. “I offer an apology for having made an unfortunate statement. I underline my respect and support to the @PoliciaFedMx, as well as my commitment to offer them dignified working conditions in this emergency plan to take care of the migration problem.”
In a separate column, I have shown how Mexico’s Federal Police force is being dismantled into disjointed pieces and integrated to what is taking shape as the GN.
But, of course, government is not an assembly line with predetermined pieces to fit into a cookie cutter format. It is made up of human beings in times of change.
Had the top command at the GN followed a normal course, these events would not be happening, but as Garduño put it, this is “an emergency situation,” definitely caused by Trump’s insidious and desperado manner of getting his own way.
Mexicans may be witnessing the haphazard beginning of a new, U.S.-Mexican relationship. The problem is, when will this all end? No doubt, the answer is when sensible behavior returns to the White House and “trumptrums” fade away.