A new alliance between the Mexican security forces and citizen ‘self-defence’ groups in Michoacán state has brought some short term success in the fight against the Knights Templar cartel. But what will be the long-term consequences of legitimizing heavily armed vigilante groups in Mexico?
Across Latin America, governments are sending their militaries into the streets to act as de facto police forces in the face of disproportionally high crime and violence rates. This trend has been going on for several years, but has accelerated in 2013. With the move to deploy over 40,000 troops for citizen security in Venezuela, President Nicolás Maduro joined a growing list of leaders throughout the region that have relied on their militaries to carry out police duties. In the first of our two-part discussion ‘Countering Militarisation of Public Security in Latin America’, Sarah Kinosian discusses the conditions that are causing the trend to thrive.