As if combating vicious narco-syndicates were not a sufficiently formidable challenge, the Mexican government has assigned such additional roles to the Army and Navy as overseeing customs agents, serving as state and municipal security chiefs, taking charge of prisons, protecting airports, safeguarding migrants, functioning as firefighters, preventing drug trafficking around schools, establishing recreational programs for children, and standing guard 24-hours a day over boxes of ballots cast in recent elections. This expansion of duties has sparked the accusation that Mexico is being “militarized.” A creative outreach program includes parades and other ceremonial extravaganzas, pilots encourage adults and children to hop into the seat of a helicopter; other wide-eyed youngsters grasp the controls of anti-aircraft weapons; admiring onlookers are invited to shake hands and have photos taken with nationally prominent military athletes; in Veracruz and other ports, residents... More > are given tours of ships...< Less
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