For Immediate Release
War on drugs and Mexico's Demise Pt.2
Why did Mexico become a drug haven in the first place?
WASHINGTON - Professor and author Miguel Tinker-Salas says, in this second
segment focusing on Mexico, that US militarization of South American
countries to fight drug wars has prepped Mexico, in many ways, to
become the problematic country it is today.
Mexico became a drug haven, Tinker-Salas says, "because of the
first George Bush's administration to begin eradicating coca production
in places like Bolivia and Peru...that in many ways pushed the
Colombian cartels to begin to move production to Colombia itself.
Therefore they could combine production, manufacturing, and
Tinker-Salas also says that at the time the first Bush
administration began interdiction in the Carribbean, the traffic
routes by speedboats also began to change. Drug transportation began
moving overland, or through South America into Mexico.
"Colombian drug lords reach out and make connections with drug
organizations, and mafia and organized crime in Mexico. They become a
very powerful force and Mexico becomes the staging ground for much of
drugs into the US since it shares an extensive 3,000 mile border with
the US," Tinker-Salas says.
The response from the Mexican administration has been to increase
military and police activity. This strategy is being funded and
equipped in large part by the US government under the auspices of the
Merida initiative. Merida is a security aid bill providing $1.8 billion
to the Mexican government over three years, a 10-fold increase in
security aid in comparison to 2007 levels.
Critics refer to Merida as Plan Mexico, an allusion to Plan
Colombia, a similar US initiative implemented by the Clinton
administration in 2000. Plan Colombia saw military and police aid rise
to $765 million dollars in 2000, a 14-fold increase from 1996. The
plan, which was expanded under President George Bush and is still in
operation today, is widely believed to have failed, given that the US
government itself reported last October that cocaine production in
Colombia has increased by 15% since the plan has been implemented.
Tinker-Salas says part of the military funding and equipping the
Colombian government was to halt drug production, but also at
suppressing insurgency from guerillas groups and rebellions from the
population in general.
Tinker-Salas says that this description of Plan Colombia, with its
professionalization of the miliary and building up of intelligence, is
also applicable to the Merida initiative. "At a time when Mexico is
confronting a serious economc crisis, when maquiladora production is
down, when oil production is down, when you have popular movements, the
same intelligence apparatus that can be used against organized crime in
Plan Colombia, you can also use against popular movements," he says.
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