By MARK LORENZANA
A federal judge indefinitely stopped the transfer of the National Guard (GN) to Mexico’s Secretariat of National Defense (Sedena), which was established in the reform decree published on Sept. 9 of this year, approved by the Mexican Senate.
Sedena must now return, at least temporarily, operational and administrative control of the GN to the Secretariat of Security and Citizen Protection (SSPC).
The Ninth District Judge of Guanajuato, Karla María Macías Lovera, granted Ángel Castro Gómez — a member of the nongovernmental organization Uniendo Caminos México — a definitive suspension that prevents the government of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) from handing over operational control of the GN and its budget to the Army.
Castro Gómez and Uniendo Caminos México, as well as other civic organizations, filed a total of 53 amparos (habeas corpus injunctions) to declare the Senate decree unconstitutional.
López Obrador’s government, however, can still challenge the decision in the same court.
Macías Lovera likewise warned that in the event that the transfer of GN budget to Sedena has already begun, all GN resources must be restored to the SSPC under the terms provided in the country’s budget expenditure for 2022. The court also requested that the Secretary of the Treasury, Rogelio Ramírez de la O, be notified of the decision.
The central argument of Macías Lovera for her decision was that in its reform, the Senate ignored Article 21 of the Mexican Constitution, which in one of its sections establishes that public security is a task that must be carried out by a civil body and not the Army.
The judge likewise highlighted that the Inter-American Court of Human Rights established that states must limit the use of the Armed Forces to control common crime or internal violence. She argued that the training that the Army receives is aimed at defeating a legitimate objective and not for the protection and control of civilians, training that is typical of police entities, which includes the GN.