03/29/11— César Horacio Duarte Jáquez, the governor of the state of Chihuahua, sent a bill to Congress proposing amendments to the Military Service Law with aims of making it obligatory for young people who neither work nor go to school, also known as “ninis,” to join the military for three years in attempts to prevent young people from joining the ranks of organized crime groups. During the three years of service, participants would receive compensation. It is estimated that there are about seven million young people in Mexico that fall into the “nini” category and who are not economically active in the country.
Duarte Jáquez pointed out that military service and responsibilities would create a positive mental and behavioral change for the young adults in the country, who are not in school or work. Human rights groups, academics, and professionals all urged the military to consider the thousands of children between the ages of 13 and 15 who live in the border region by helping prevent them from becoming involved in organized crime. Gustavo de la Rosa Hickerson, a visitor of the Human Rights Commission, also pointed out the effects the drug war has specifically had on children ages 13-15 when the drug war started, that are now 17 and older, who have become the victims or the participants in organized crime groups. He also stated that with more time, the hatred and desire for vengeance will grow as these children get more involved with the drug cartels or lose family members due to the violence.
However, Duarte Jáquez’s proposal has not been so readily accepted by others. Noe Gómez García, President of the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD), stated that Jáquez’s proposal does not address the root problem of why these young people are not in school or working. He says that the state should try to follow the conditions of children aged 12-20 and then try to integrate them into school and the work place. He also stressed the need for good preventative policies to decrease the number of youth engaged in organized crime.