La Razon, June 15
The Armed Forces disqualified the police and a commission in the Constituent Assembly, warning that they would not allow anyone to take away their designated mission as guardians of the constitution.
“There are three things that the Armed Forces will not negotiate on. Stop being the protectors of the constitution, the break up of territorial integrity of the country and compulsory military service”, warned a high military source.
Moreover, the person consulted, who is close to the military leadership, also mentioned “military personnel, from the highest ranking officials to the lowest ranks, will not allow this”.
The discontent emerged because the security and defense commission, in its proposal for the text of the new constitution, removed from the armed forces the mission that the current constitution grants it in article 208, to “defend and conserve national independence, security and stability of the republic and national honor and sovereignty; assure the reign of the constitution, guarantee the stability of the legally constituted government and cooperate in the integral development of the country”.
In the proposed text, the Armed Forces should concern themselves with external security, “understood as resistance to threats through anticipation or prevention, or in its case, the defense of the homeland, are all the mechanisms with which our state protects itself from aggressions, oppositions or external pressures”, whilst the police now has amongst its missions, that of “complying with and ensure compliance of the constitution and laws throughout the national territory”.
“This commission, made up of four police officers and an ex-guerrilla fighter - we are referring to the constituent delegate [Felix] Navarro - is drafting up a proposal and they are trying to steamroll it through”, commented the military source who was consulted yesterday by this newspaper.
“How is it possible that the police, a corrupt institution, can attempt to convert itself into the custodians of the constitution. How is it possible, if it is an institution which carries out strikes, which rebels whenever it feels like it and who blackmail the different governments to achieve its objective. The police should be entrusted of maintaining public order. Besides, we are sure that they should be departmentalized, so that they can be more effective” assured the high military source who was consulted.
On the other hand, he affirmed that the division put forward by the commission of handing over internal security to the police force and external security to the armed forces is too limited.
He also signaled that security is understood as “the struggle against any form of pressure including neocolonialism; represents the defense of economic interests, national dignity and opposition to ideologies that are foreign to our reality; constitutes the faculty to act with independence, as much in the external as in the internal camp. The police forces will only incorporate parts of these concepts for its proposal”.
The government and the armed forces have a different proposal
La Razon, June 15
One proposal presented last December by the Ministry of Defense, the Armed Forces and the Supreme Council of National Defense (Cosdena), gave the armed forces the mission of protecting natural resources, and to fight against narco-trafficking and terrorism.
The modification would strengthen article 208 of the current constitution: “As a fundamental institution of the homeland, the Armed Forces has as its mission; to defend and conserve the integrity of geographic space, independence, sovereignty and national unity; the security and stability of the republic; assure the rule of the constitution, defend the legally constituted order, conserve public order in exceptional states, protect natural resources and participate actively in the integral development of the country, in civil defense, struggle against narco-trafficking, terrorism, in peace operations and other risks or threats against national security”.
Translated from La Razon