Region/Countries: Mexico, North America Industry: Other Date: February 2019

Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: Prompted by the 2018 elections, the realignment creates opportunities for Wisconsin companies.

In mid-2018, Mexico held the largest elections in the country’s history, with more than 3,400 positions—including nine state governors, more than 600 federal Congressional representatives, dozens of state Congressional representatives, hundreds of municipal mayors and the president of Mexico—elected by more than 80 million voters. The left-wing party MORENA won the majority of the vote, including seven government offices, both Congress chambers and the presidency. Weeks after the election, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador announced a number of measures that started taking effect on Dec. 1. Some of these reforms directly affected Mexico’s federal law enforcement agencies, with security being one of the main discussion topics in the country due to the serious crime wave of the last few years.

So far, these are the four most notable reforms proposed by the newly elected government:

  • The Ministry of Public Security (Secretaria de Seguridad Publica, or SSP) will be renovated. This ministry was created in 2000 by then-president Vicente Fox and then dissolved by previous president Enrique Peña Nieto in 2013. The proposed reform elevates the newly proposed SSP to a secretary of state level, no longer reporting to the Ministry of the Interior (Secretaria de Gobernacion). This change aims to remove security responsibilities from the Ministry of the Interior and consolidate these activities in a single federal entity.
  • The National Security and Investigation Center (CISEN) will be dissolved in light of allegations that the CISEN had been used to spy on political activists, opposition political parties and other civilians. Since Mexico needs an intelligence agency to guarantee national security, the creation of the National Intelligence Agency (Agencia Nacional de Inteligencia) has been announced, but no further information has been provided yet.
  • The Estado Mayor Presidencial (EMP) is an organization that closely resembles the Secret Service in the U.S., and whose main objective is to protect the president of Mexico, his family, the most important members of the cabinet and all major foreign officials (presidents, prime ministers, etc.) who visit Mexico. The EMP comprises elements from the Mexican Army and the Mexican Marines, and is placed directly under the president’s command with no connection to neither federal or state police forces. The plan is to reinstate the 6,000 members and the entire fleet of nine airplanes and eight helicopters back to the Army. No announcement has been made on what organization will replace EMP.
  • In 2007, then-president Felipe Calderon ordered the Mexican Army to support the federal and state police forces in their war against organized crime, due to the intensification of drug cartels committing crimes in Mexico. This measure was vastly questioned during Calderon’s presidency and subsequent president Peña Nieto’s presidential term, since the latter decided to keep the Army fighting organized crime and drug cartels. President Lopez Obrador recently announced a plan to move the Army off the streets and back to the barracks within a three-year period. Lopez Obrador believes a more efficiently trained police force will render it unnecessary to involve the Army in policing, especially since it is also planned to legalize the use of most drugs involved in the offenses currently prosecuted.

As noted here, important changes are coming with regard to security issues that affect federal and state law enforcement agencies in Mexico. Wisconsin companies should keep an eye on Mexico’s security and defense needs as it restructures these agencies.