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Military desertion

Mexico has already suffered the consequences of a lack of control over those who abandon the army

Military desertion
Military style gear used by the Los Zetas cartel – Photo: Eduardo Verdugo/AP
English 13/01/2019 09:29 Mexico City Editorial Actualizada 09:29
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One of the bloodiest drug cartels in the world is Los Zetas, which originated inside the Mexican army. It was a special group that deserted the army to join the Gulf cartel. It's worrisome that this story could repeat itself. Today, EL UNIVERSAL reveals that over 6,000 members deserted the army and the navy from 2015 to 2018. Mistreatment, low wages in contrast with the risk levels involved, confrontations with the most violent groups, long waking hours, exposure to the worst weather conditions, witnessing the death of colleagues or being wounded, are only some of the experiences the members of the Mexican army face to serve their country.

It's a labor that demands a lot from them, including the partial separation from their families, giving up all their time, health, and physical integrity to look after and monitor territories and people they might not feel committed to or feel any type of affinity because they are far from home and their families, as well as feeling as if they're not being compensated with economic benefits or at least being acknowledged by institutions.

Therefore, it's worrisome to learn that many soldiers abandon the army because of disappointment, physical exhaustion, or fear but it's even more disturbing to learn that some of these elements are deserting because they have received offers from criminals organizations to join their ranks, using their training and experience to protect the enemy.

Mexico has already suffered the consequences of a lack of control over those who abandon the army. It would be beneficial to monitor those who leave and be more understanding towards those who discover the military life is not for them. Currently, many deserters lack any job opportunities because they have antecedents issued by the federal authorities and their possibilities to join the police or private security companies is annulled.

Firstly, the armed forces would have to consider retaining the largest number of personnel they can through all kinds of benefits and incentives but they should also consider that some of their elements decide to leave their ranks for valid reasons, therefore, their exit should be carried out in the best terms and conditions to prevent the possibility of them joining criminal organizations.

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