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, USA.
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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 work.
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.