Guatemala to Create Battalion against Crime along Mexican Border

By Dialogo
April 12, 2012

President Otto Pérez announced on 10 April, Guatemala will create an elite military battalion with U.S. support and supplies of armored vehicles, to combat drug trafficking and other forms of organized crime along its shared border with Mexico.

“This is a joint task that we would be doing with the United States. They would be providing the vehicles, some armored, others not, but mobilized in three or four units in order to be able to keep an eye on all the routes and areas along the border” with Mexico, the president explained at a press conference.

The military battalion will operate in San Marcos, one of the four Guatemalan departments located along the 900-km border with Mexico.

“We’re trying to aim for what could be called a mobilized unit, a kind of mobilized battalion, and right now, we’re looking at the elements that could be drawn on to make up this unit, but we would expect that this would get off the ground before July,” stated president Pérez.

The measure comes in response to a request by the mayors of San Marcos to declare a state of emergency in that area, in view of the boom in drug trafficking, human trafficking, illegal immigration, and weapons trafficking, among other things.

According to the Guatemalan president, each of the vehicles will transport around four or five troops with “considerable firepower and immediate response” in the event of attacks by organized-crime groups.

The unit will also have to patrol along Guatemala’s Pacific Coast near the border with Mexico, he specified.