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6,539 National Guard and Army Soldiers Are Patrolling Guanajuato, Mexico's Most Violent State

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By “El Huaso” for Borderland Beat

Video: Gerardo Hernandez, TV Consecuencias

The Secretariat of National Defense announced on December 5, 2022 that 1,550 soldiers are deploying to Guanajuato to join the public security fight. They will join the 4,989 troops that already are patrolling Guanajuato’s streets, making a total of 6,539 Mexican Army and National Guard soldiers.

The statement, which was reposted by several Guanajuato news outlets, said that troops will be heading to the following municipalities: Acámbaro, Abasolo, Celaya, León, Salamanca, Villagrán, Irapuato, Valle de Santiago, Jerecuaro, Juventino Rosas, Purísima del Rincón, San Francisco del Rincón and Tarimoro.

While deployments are high, this is half of the yearly peak. Brigadier General José Felipe Andrade Medina of the National Guard said that 11,000 soldiers were deployed in October 2022, according to El Financiero. Over half of these were deployed in the city of Celaya, a particularly violent area. 

The deployment is intended to pacify Mexico’s most violent state, which has amassed 2,717 homicides so far this year, 10.4% of the nations total of 26,119, according to public security data presented at a November security briefing. 

The violence mostly results from the years long conflict between a local organized crime group, the Cartel Santa Rosa de Lima (CSRL), and the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG), as well as allies of both groups. The groups are primarily fighting for control of Guanajuato’s large drug using population, which Secretary of Public Security, Alvar Cabeza de Vaca Appendini claims  is worth about 60 million pesos ($2,904,247.US dollars) daily.

Large military deployments nationwide

The López Obrador administration has responded to high levels of violence by deploying large numbers of soldiers to Mexico’s streets. Nationwide, there are currently 193,137 soldiers deployed in public security efforts, a mix of Sedena, National Guard, and Navy soldiers. While the numbers of deployed are far higher than previous administrations, the armed forces play a more passive role than before. Sedena data shows they detain fewer civilians, engage in fewer shootouts, and capture less firearms.

Graph: November 22 Security Briefing

The armed forces have been criticized for being untrained for public security and poorly equipped for criminal investigations, a task that used to be the role of the now abolished Federal Police. Regardless, President López Obrador will likely continue his military deployments. After running on a platform that included pulling the military off the streets, in September 2022, the President stated that he had changed his mind, and believed the military must play a major role in the nations security.

Sources: November 22 Security Briefing, TV Consecuencias, Articulo 7, Noticieros en Linea, Mexico News Daily, El Financiero


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