Mexico looks to recruit 50,000 to National Guard

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador used his first news conference of 2019 to start recruitment for his new National Guard, which will become the country's primary security force.

Lopez Obrador says the government hopes to recruit about 50,000 civilians to add to the guard's initial composition of military personnel and federal police.

Those interested in applying will do so through the existing army and navy recruitment centers. The military will provide the National Guard's command structure.

Lopez Obrador also deflected questions Wednesday about a pledge from leftists in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas to block construction of his "Train Maya." He says they're entitled to dissent, but he's not worried.

The Zapatistas harshly criticized Lopez Obrador this week during the 25th anniversary of their brief 1994 armed uprising.