SEDENA suffers massive desertion of soldiers; 12 thousand in the last 2 years

Military men play the trumpet during the raising of the flag in the capital's Zócalo. Photo: (Cuartoscuro)

The termination of contracts in the Mexican Army has been triggered in the last two years: for misconduct or for being fugitives, but one of the main causes is that the person decides to leave due to lack of incentives. “From the Peña Nieto administration to date, there is no motivation,” says a specialist.

MÈXICO CITY, (May 18, 2021).- Do they leave or do they let them go? In the last two years, the termination of contracts in the Secretariat of National Defense (Sedena) has reached the highest numbers since this concept appeared –in 2013– in the reasons for the dismissal of personnel from the Mexican Army and Mexican Air Force.

The reasons are various, but one of them, according to specialists, is the lack of incentives: they do everything that is asked for the same pay, including building the “Felipe Ángeles” Airport. They are burdened with too many responsibilities, such as monitoring the construction of Dos Bocas, acting as private guards, and the construction of the aforementioned airport.

In 2019, 4,113 contracts were terminated in the Mexican Army, while in 2020 there were 7,825. In total, 11,938 have been terminated, most of these in the rank of soldier, which represents 98% of the desertions.

In the first three months of 2021, there are  947 contract terminations. The Secretariat of National Defense (SEDENA), headed by Luis Cresencio Sandoval, does not detail the reason why the employment relationship with these members of the troop was terminated.

In the Organic Law of the Mexican Army and Air Force, it is stated that one of the reasons for dismissal for soldiers and corporals is the termination of the down payment contract or the non-renewal.

It is observed that this phenomenon soared in 2019 and 2020, it began to emerge during the last two years of the administration of Enrique Peña Nieto.

In 2014, 364 contracts were terminated, in 2015, 583; in 2016, 769. As of 2017, more than a thousand were reached, with 1,315; and in 2018, the number reached 2,519.

It should be noted that the Sedena is not always the one that ends the employment relationship: in many cases are the soldiers who decide to quit. 

The termination of contracts has increased in recent years. Photo: (Eme-Equis)

The causes that are listed in the Personnel Recruitment Regulations for the Mexican Army and Air Force are: not being suitable for active service of arms due to contracting diseases or illnesses outside the acts of service; having concealed a previous condition in the medical examination for recruitment purposes,  acquiring another nationality; being disqualified from holding public office.

As well as misconduct determined by the Honor Council of the Unit. Having provided false documentation or data during the discharge process, being subject to criminal proceedings for a crime that merits corporal punishment or a fugitive from justice; be in a situation of not being able to fulfill their military obligations, for reasons not attributable to the Sedena.

Also for unjustifiable absence for 72 consecutive hours while rendering services, consuming narcotics; tattoos that do not comply with what is specified in the regulations, as well as piercings in any part of the body. The only ones allowed are for female staff on the earlobe.

To this is added that the duration of the hiring contracts is three years for the troop personnel, therefore, if individuals wish not to continue, the contract is terminated.

The Army is in charge of the construction of the “Felipe Ángeles” Airport. Photo: (Cuartoscuro).

NO SALARY INCREASE

Jorge Alejandro Medellín, a journalist specializing in military and security issues, explains that, indeed, when it comes to having detailed information on the casualties of military elements, there are many gaps, “there may be multiple reasons, but the Sedena does not explain, they do not give details”.

For him, a factor that is relevant for so many casualties due to contract termination has to do with the fact that the soldiers no longer want to continue due to a lack of salary increase and incentives.

In the last two, three years, during the López Obrador administration, the issue is that there are no salary increases, there are no more benefits for the troops, everything they are doing for this government is for the same pay”, says Medellín.

The last time there was a significant increase in the salaries and benefits of the troops was in the period of Felipe Calderón, which was about 95%, when the so-called “fight against drug trafficking” began, this measure was taken in order not to lose personnel.

“From Peña Nieto to this day, there was no longer any motivation, there are no incentives for a military to remain in the Army,” says the journalist.

According to the latest Table of Assets of military personnel published by the Sedena updated to January 19, 2021, the net perception of a soldier per month is 12 thousand 477 pesos, while that of a corporal is 13 thousand 57 pesos.

However, the main causes given by the Sedena for the withdrawal of military personnel who chose to be recruited voluntarily are due to family problems, not adapting to military activities, or simply not wanting to enter the military forces.

“Many people got involved as a matter of social advancement, there was an aspirational issue, but not having a growth perspective they say: why am I continuing, I wait until I am three years old and that’s it”.

ATTENTION IN THE NATIONAL GUARD

While the Sedena faces thousands of casualties due to the termination of contracts, the unit is in charge of the recruitment of the agents that are integrating the National Guard.

Last year the Sedena suffered the loss of 15,999 soldiers, terminated contracts, retirement, desertion, misconduct problems, death, and disappearance.

The number of decommissioned issues grew 29% in 2020, this compared to 2019, when they were 12,411.

In recent months, calls have been launched for civilians to join the Army, but there they clarify that it is for you to go to the National Guard and they mention a lot of benefits, but there is no response from the civil society, says Medellín.

Then, the civilians who enter, go to the National Guard, to reach the goal of 150 thousand agents that President López Obrador announced for security tasks. Now there are almost 100,000.

“The National Guard is still nourished at this stage by military, naval and Federal Police … administratively, for training and growth they still depend on the Sedena, before the end of the six-year term it must be fully formed as the new the police.”

This has been quite an issue, the journalist assures since the Sedena is the one who is operatively coordinating the National Guard, with this it is confirmed that it is not a civil project, it is totally military.

“As it is difficult for them to recruit civilians, so they are looking to put in the military police, they want well-trained people.”

THERE IS NOTHING CLEAR

As in the termination of contracts, the other withdrawals also lack information, for example, in which it says that the personnel “requested it”, they do not mention why. In many cases, according to Jorge Alejandro Medellín, is that many are pressured to leave.

This happens more when the agents approach 20 years of service because once they comply with this they are entitled to many housing, health, and education benefits for their children. They take them out of the barracks where they have served for many years and send them to other states, separating them from the family, “they make them quit.”

So when you look for more specific information on these reasons, you can’t find it, because these are very annoying subjects, Medellín points out.

“When you write about these things, the first thing the troops look for and see is what impacts their employment situation , their rights, everything they would be entitled to because of what they are doing.”

Source: Eme-Equis

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