Mexico has never received as much criticism against the approval of a law as it did last week. On Friday, with the votes of President Peña Nieto’s party, the PRI (Partido Revolucionario Institucional), and its allies on the Right, the Senate approved the controversial Law of Internal Security amid protests from civil society, united in the collective #SeguridadSinGuerra (Safety without war), and international institutions like the U.N., the European Parliament and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
The law expands the powers of the military, giving it police functions and a role in the fight against drug trafficking, effectively equating public safety to national security. In those states where President Nieto will declare that there is a security risk, the military will be able to investigate, search homes, hide “strategic” information, intercept communications and make arrests without the intervention of the judicial authority or any external controls.
In December 2006, former President Felipe Calderon launched the “narcoguerra” (‘’drug war”), a military offensive against the drug cartels that was supposed to be exceptional and temporary, with the aim of allowing the professionalization of the police and then gradually withdrawing the military—but that did not happen.