Mexico Legalizes Auto-Defense Groups

The Federal government of Mexico made an historic and controversial move on 30 January 2014, by legalizing the growing “vigilante” movements that have popped up to combat the violence perpetrated by the Mexican Cartels. The estimated 20,000 volunteer force will be incorporated into the nearly forgotten Guardia Rural or Rural Defense Corps which was originally organized under army jurisdiction according to the Organic Law of 1926. The new Rurales , like their historic predecessors will fall under the jurisdiction of the Mexican military. In addition these groups will be allowed to keep their weapons, after registering them with the Mexican government, and it has been suggested that the agreement also allows those who qualify to join local police forces. Whether the members of the new Rurales will receive government salaries and the level to which the military will support their activities is still in question.

These actions will open the door to several new strategies to combat the narcotraffickers while posing some interesting operational questions? How does this action impact command and control as well as operational security for the Mexican counter narcotic forces? What will the operational relationship be between the Mexico’s various security forces and the Rurales? Will this increase violence and if so will it do so in the short-term or long-term? These issues will be discussed further in another post, in the near future.

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