CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico (Reuters) – A convoy of Mexican state and municipal police trucks roared along the US-Mexico border in Ciudad Juarez to confront cartel gunmen, past National Guardsmen patrolling the banks of the Rio Grande River for migrants trying to cross into the United States.
“We should be with them, not here. We’re soldiers,” one of three guardsmen in a green camouflage uniform grumbled to himself within earshot of a Reuters reporter. He was frustrated that orders kept him from going to back up police in the shootout with gangsters.
The National Guard is a new security force that was created by Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to bring down record homicide rates. But now it has been tasked with patrolling the border to placate President Donald Trump, who has demanded Mexico stem the flow of US-bound Central Americans that pass through the country or risk tariffs on Mexican goods.
If the deployment of some 21,000 National Guard troops at Mexico’s northern and southern borders can reduce the flow of migrants, Lopez Obrador will have successfully kept Trump’s tariffs at bay and averted opening up another front in the global trade war.
But using almost a third of the National Guard’s total ranks for migration duties means fewer security forces to tackle one of Mexico’s most pressing issues, spiraling violence, which last year cost a record 33,000 lives. Those numbers continued surging in the first six months of Lopez Obrador’s term in office, which began in December.
In Juarez, where drug cartel murders are especially acute, many people wish the troops were helping fight crime instead.
The city across the border from El Paso, Texas has long been synonymous with cartel warfare, which pushed the murder rate to 244 per 100,000 residents by March 2011, according to data compiled by Juarez-based advocacy group Mesa de Seguridad y Justicia.
With help from civil society groups and businesses, the city made hard-won gains to restore security, and by late 2015 the murder rate had been cut to 21 per 100,000, the group says, citing numbers from the attorney general’s office it corroborates independently.
more recommended stories
5 Mexico Beaches on International Living’s World’s Best List
Most people who dream about retiring.
Mexico’s Lopez Obrador ratings slip: to 70% approval
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico’s President.
Walmart will supply Central America from distribution center in Kanasín, Yucatán
The president of the National Chamber.
Cozumel east coast severely affected by tons of sargasso
The east coast of the island.
“Sun at the zenith” – Thursday in Merida: objects and people will not have a shadow
The phenomenon of the sun at.
Racist Kellyanne Conway to reporter: ―”What’s your ethnicity?”―
Kellyanne Conway prides herself on her.
Outrage over Trump’s racist tweets
WASHINGTON D.C (Agencies/CNN) – Outrage over.
Las Coloradas: The Unbelievable Pink Lakes of the Yucatan (VIDEO)
Hidden away on the tip of.
Mototaxis: the most dangerous means of public transportation in Mérida
During the first half of the.
Tunich Craft Fair ready to kick off on Friday July 26
Starting next Friday, July 26 and.