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Building Better Gendarmeries in Mexico and the Northern Triangle

Facing record homicide rates and a public outcry to reduce violence and restore peace, Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador proposed the formation of a “National Guard” as a possible solution. While controversial, it has garnered the support of large majorities in the Mexican Congress, and in two-thirds of the states, ensuring that the National Guard will be constitutionally recognized.

In a new report published by the Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute, author Michael L. Burgoyne, a U.S. Army Foreign Area Officer, looks at the limitations of current policing models in Mexico and Central America to confront “militarized criminal violence.” He further examines the historical experiences of Stability Police Forces in France, Spain, and Italy and draws some important lessons that could bolster efforts in Mexico and Central America to form their own versions of gendarmeries to better address the serious threats posed by organized crime. Finally, he highlights the limitations of current United States security cooperation programs for addressing these strategic challenges.


About the Author

Michael L. Burgoyne

U.S. Army Foreign Area Officer
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Mexico Institute

The Mexico Institute seeks to improve understanding, communication, and cooperation between Mexico and the United States by promoting original research, encouraging public discussion, and proposing policy options for enhancing the bilateral relationship. A binational Advisory Board, chaired by Luis Téllez and Earl Anthony Wayne, oversees the work of the Mexico Institute.   Read more