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Mexico: The Military in Civilian Politics
Country Study > Chapter 5 > National Security > History and Traditions of the Armed Forces > The Military in Civilian Politics


Despite the military's prominent role in the history of the country, the Mexican armed forces have steadily retreated from direct involvement in political matters since the 1940s. The typical Mexican officer is deliberately removed from political issues, and there has been a decline in military representation in government offices outside the armed services. Since World War II, the number of persons with military backgrounds serving in the cabinet, subcabinet, state governorships, and in the bureaucracy has steadily declined.

Mexican political observer Adolfo Aguilar Zinser believes there is little reason to expect the officer corps to change its deeply rooted loyalty to civil authority. Serious domestic turmoil might cause a conservative middle class and business interests to pressure the army to intervene in the government. As long as the military remains assured of the civilian leadership's ability to deal with any crisis threatening the established system, however, the military is unlikely to be drawn into political affairs.

Data as of June 1996

Last Updated: June 1996

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Mexico was first published in 1996. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

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