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Peña Nieto admits law enforcement does not correspond to armed forces

09/12/2016
15:34
Francisco Reséndiz
Mexico City
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Mexico's defense secretary said yesterday at a year-end meeting that the army's presence was supposed to be temporary and that the Armed Forces are not required by the constitution to carry out civilian law enforcement activities.

Moments ago, Mexico President Enrique Peña Nieto said during a speech that the country's Armed Forces will continue their civilian law enforcement missions until local governments can guarantee that their police forces are well prepared and properly trained, and can effectively provide protection and assistance to civilians.

The defense secretary, Gen. Salvador Cienfuegos, said yesterday at a year-end meeting that the army's presence was supposed to be temporary while new police forces were built, and furthermore, that the country's Armed Forces are not required by the constitution to carry out civilian law enforcement activities.

Peña Nieto responded by first thanking Mexico's soldiers and marines for their work during his administration, and then saying that despite the press taking what the General said out of context, he agrees wholeheartedly with the comments made by Cienfuegos.

“Our soldiers and marines have a sole mission, and that's to guarantee security within our borders and protect our country's sovereignty. Their mission, however, is not to carry out activities that correspond to police investigators and the country's state and federal prosecutors,” he said.

During his speech, at which Cienfuegos and other high-ranking officials were present, Peña Nieto emphasized that everyone—governors, federal officials and the Armed Forces—must commit to and work together on public security efforts.

He concluded his speech by thanking the Armed Forces because, according to the president, they have taken on a role that doesn't correspond to them, but thanks to their loyalty to their country, and their hard work and dedication, they've helped restore peace and a sense of normalcy in cities and communities that were ravaged by violence just a few years ago.

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