REYNOSA, Tamaulipas (Notimex) – Recognizing that the support of the armed forces are necessary to face the problem of insecurity, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador asked the Mexicans for their support to create a National Guard.

Announcing the start of an economic free zone along the northern border of Mexico, the president said: “I want us to calm Reynosa, Tamaulipas and the country, which will be done with economic growth, employment, development and well-being.” He said this program represents 80 percent of the strategy to restore security.

“However, I say so with all clarity and frankness: the Army is a necessary institution. It would not be responsible to say to the soldiers, return to the barracks. We would be left in a state of complete defenselessness. Those who are facing this situation are the members of the Armed Forces.”

López Obrador maintained that “we are going to invest a lot in the welfare of the people, because peace and tranquility are the fruits of justice.”

He specified that on this issue 80 percent of all his strategy is to guarantee peace, development, growth, employment, welfare, attention to young people, strengthening of values, and the remaining 20 percent has to do with a good police, for that reason he proposed the creation of the National Guard.

Accompanied by members of his cabinet and Tamaulipas Governor Francisco García Cabeza de Vaca, López Obrador explained that in this area of the country there will be a development curtain that will seek to detonate economic growth to prevent migration along three thousand 180 kilometers of border with the United States. United in the effort will be 43 municipalities in the six border states.

López Obrador explained that the problems of insecurity and violence originated largely due to the lack of economic growth in Mexico, which is why he is working to create “development curtains” in the south, center and north of the country to avoid migration problems.

He said that in the north of Mexico an economic free zone will be created in the border strip, where only half of the value added tax will be paid. That is, eight percent. He said this will have benefits for the consumer.

In addition, the income tax will be 20 percent, different from the rest of the country, and the price of fuel would be equivalent to that on the other side of the border, with the minimum wage set to double.

López Obrador recalled that a previous governor of Tamaulipas, Ramón Guerra, after the war of intervention, was faced with so much poverty in the border region that he created an economic free zone to reactivate the economy. He said it gave good results and was continued for some years.

López Obrador said this policy is being resumed, starting on January 1, and a free zone will be created with the purpose of making it attractive for investment and, at the same time, improving wage conditions at the border.

He added that with this measure it will be possible to raise less in the short term, but in the medium and long terms more will be collected because the economy will grow. He said he foresees growth of five or six percent in the region. Thus, there will be greater collection although the tax rates are low.

López Obrador commented that this formula seeks to provide guarantees to investors and achieve a four percent annual growth in the country as a whole, for which private, public national and foreign investment is required.

“That is why we are going to create the conditions for more investment, jobs and welfare. Progress with justice,” López Obrador said.

Editor’s Note: The above story by Notimex reporter Blanca Zumaya first appeared in Spanish. It was translated into English by Rio Grande Guardian reporter Blanca Gomez.