Saturday, September 26, 2015

U.S. military assistance can lead to courts-martial? Worth the read

TeleSUR has an interesting report on Mexico's efforts against the drug cartels and impliedly the U.S. military assistance program.  The report leads with:
For the teacher-trainee students of the Escuela Normal Raúl Isidro Burgos in Ayotzinapa, south-western Mexico, Oct. 2 is a fixture on their protest calendar. The date commemorates the night in 1968 when police and paramilitaries opened fire on pro-democracy protesters on Mexico City’s Tlatelolco Square, killing anywhere between 30 and 200 people.
Last year, around 100 Ayotzinapa students commandeered three buses on the Tixtla-Iguala highway, intending to drive to Mexico City for the Tlatelolco commemoration. Locals usually tolerate the practice, since the buses are usually returned with full gas-tanks.
Later we read:
In May of this year, federal police and army units allegedly massacred 42 members of the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación in Michoacán. Two months later, the 97th Army Battalion kidnapped and executed seven day-laborers in Zacatecas.
Since 2008, when former U.S. and Mexican presidents George W. Bush and Felipe Calderón signed the bilateral crime-fighting strategy known as the Mérida Initiative, Mexico has received $2.3 billion in aid from its northern neighbor.
Between 2006 and 2013, Mexico’s National Commission on Human Rights registered 8,150 complaints against the Mexican armed forces alone — only 38 of which ended in sentences for military personnel, according to 2013 report by a human rights organization.  [court-martial][court-martial]
The piece concludes:
Mexico’s failure to hold its own security forces to account is costing lives — but so, too, is the failure of the U.S. policy-makers to ask quite where Mérida Initiative money is going.
Despite reports from Mexico’s National Secretary on Security that 10,000 people died violently in the first half of 2015, President Obama has requested a further $116 million in spending from Congress, for handover in 2016.  
The bill for the Mérida Initiative —in terms of U.S. spending and lost human lives— looks set to rise, with no upward limit in sight.

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