The Mexican Senate. Photo: Google


In the midst of a debate plagued by accusations of vote buying, disqualifications and insults, the plenary session of the Mexican Senate — with the majority vote of senators under Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO)’s leftist National Regeneration Movement (Morena) and their allies, as well as the majority of legislators from the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and members of the left-leaning Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) — approved the constitutional reform that extends the presence of the Armed Forces on the streets until 2028.

The controversial presidential initiative, which was voted on for the second time in the Senate on Tuesday, Oct. 4, passed with 87 votes in favor of the reform, while 40 senators from the conservative National Action Party (PAN), the Citizen’s Movement Party (MC) and Grupo Plural benches voted against it.

Insults were thrown around freely during the debate, with PAN Senator Lilly Téllez calling her Morena counterparts “hyenas waiting for rotten leftovers that the President throws at them.” This prompted Morena Senator Lucía Trasviña to leave her seat and confront Téllez.

“I’m not a hyena! Respect me!” Trasviña demanded of the PAN senator, who responded with a “You are corrupt” retort.

For his part, PAN Senator Julen Rementería del Puerto said he believes that there were votes in favor of the initiative that were a result of “threats, pressures, co-optations and offers of all kinds, from the political to the economic.”

“This government offered money in exchange for votes,” Rementería del Puerto said, although he did not provide evidence to his claims.

Mexico’s Chamber of Deputies, whose majority bloc consists of Morena deputies, approved on Sept. 14, the initiative by López Obrador to use the Armed Forces for public security tasks until 2028. A week later, the proposal was sent to the Senate, where it was suspended for lack of votes.

At that time, Ricardo Monreal, leader of the Morena majority bloc in the Senate, proposed giving more time to discuss the reform and returning it to the committees. “We can give it more time, we’re not in a hurry,” Monreal said.

“They don’t have the votes, they don’t have the votes,” chanted some members of the opposition bloc, after Monreal proposed extending the discussion period.

With the successful endorsement of the reform in the Senate on the second try, however, that victory proved temporary for the opposition. Likewise, the most damning aspect were the votes from opposition senators in favor of the proposal.

The national leaders of the PRD and the PAN, Jesús Zambrano and Marko Cortés, respectively, criticized PRD Senators Miguel Ángel Mancera Espinosa and Antonio García Conejo, who voted in favor of the initiative to expand the presence of the Mexican Army in the streets.

Zambrano, in particular, said that the endorsement of the reform represents “a profound blow to democracy,” and acknowledged that he feels embarrassed by the vote of the PRD legislators.

The PRD president said that both Mancera Espinosa and García Conejo must explain the purpose of their votes.

For her part, PRI Senator Claudia Ruiz Massieu, who voted against the initiative, said that “sometimes being brave is not easy,” but added that she was convinced that it would always be the right thing to do.

“History will judge this day, and we will all be held accountable,” said Ruiz Massieu.

The PRI senators who voted against the proposal were Ruiz Massieu, Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong and Beatriz Paredes.

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