The defense is partially coordinated between Canada, the
United States and Mexico through a 2005 security agreement,
etc., with Mexico being an essential part of the southern
United States' protection against terrorism and drugs. The
United States has no combat forces based in Mexico.
Extensive cooperation takes place mainly at sea. To see related acronyms about this country, please check ABBREVIATIONFINDER where you can see that MEX stands for Mexico.
The defense is voluntary and (2006) amounts to 238,000
men with 40,000 men in reserve. The Army is a territorial
army divided into twelve regions and comprises 184,000 men
with one hundred territorial battalion units and a central
operational unit of eight brigades. The Navy comprises
42,000 men with seven larger surface combat vessels, 180
patrol boats and three amphibious vessels, as well as a navy
corps of 13,000 men in eleven battalions and a naval
aircraft with eight fighter aircraft. The Air Force
comprises 12,000 men with 84 fighter aircraft and 100 armed
helicopters. Semi-military security forces amount to 31,000
men. The material is of Western origin. Defense costs
increased in 1985-96 from 0.7% to 0.8% of GDP, to (2006)
amount to 0.4% of GDP. Mexico has a naval base in Florida,
1994 EZLN strikes
On January 1, 94, the unprecedented guerrilla
organization Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional
(EZLN, the Zapatist National Liberation Army) occupied 4
major cities in the country's southernmost state, Chiapas.
The day was not chosen at random. It was the same day the
NAFTA agreement came into effect, thus opening up the
Mexican market to goods from the United States and Canada.
Chiapas is the state of Mexico with the largest Mayan
population, the least literate and the poorest. But Chiapas
also has large oil and gas reserves, and 21% of the
country's oil production takes place there, while there is
considerable production of coffee.
The government initially tried to explain the uprising,
but nevertheless sent in the military. When the death tolls
exceeded 1000 and the reports of summary executions were
confirmed, national and international protests grew. It
forced the government into unilateral ceasefire and to
accept that Catholic Bishop Samuel Ruiz initiated peace
talks between the two parties. In February, the first
negotiation meeting was held in the city of San Cristóbal de
las Casas. The EZLN demanded the implementation of electoral
reforms, amendments to the Criminal Code and steps to
increase the living conditions of the indigenous population.
Presidential elections were held in 94 and on March 23,
PRI's own candidate, Luis Donaldo Colosio, was killed in
Tijuana. The murder was never fully resolved, but the PRI
himself and 3 members of his bodyguard were apparently
involved. Instead, PRI appointed Ernesto Zedillo as a
candidate, and on August 21, he received 49% of the vote -
according to. the official statements. The PRD and EZLN
accused the government of massive electoral fraud.
The first quarter of 94 - the first period in which NAFTA
was in force - increased trade with the United States.
Mexican exports increased by 22.5% and US exports to Mexico
increased by 15.7% over the previous quarter. Meanwhile,
high interest rates were a stifling yoke over small and
medium-sized companies. Unemployment and underemployment
affected respectively. 5 and 12 million Mexicans -
especially Indians involved in street sales and domestic
In September, PRI Secretary-General José Francisco Ruiz
Massieu was assassinated, and in November, his brother Mario
resigned as state prosecutor and accused party officials of
obstructing the investigation into the murder. This raised
the suspicion of high PRI people and possibly drug
addiction's involvement in the murders.