Buried in the $46 billion supplemental war spending proposal that
President Bush submitted to Congress on Oct. 22 is a $1.4 billion aid
package to Mexico to be distributed over the next three years,
purportedly to fight drug trafficking and organized crime in Mexico. The
aid package, called Plan Mexico (http://americas.irc-online.org/am/4611)
for its resemblance to the $5 billion Plan Colombia, would consist
largely in advanced military training and equipment such as helicopters
and surveillance aircraft, according to the Mexican foreign minister.
We urge you to call, write, and otherwise notify Congress to oppose
funding for BOTH the Iraq War and Plan Mexico.
We are not against the US helping Mexico's people - if aid is aimed to
develop economic opportunities in their home communities. A massive
military build up in Mexico does nothing to help and will inevitably lead
to increased repression. As has been the case with Plan Colombia, there
is great concern that Mexico could use their new equipment in
counter-insurgency raids against both social movements and suspected
guerrilla forces, mainly in Mexico's indigenous and highly marginalized
Please read and repost our brief report on Plan Mexico contributed by
Global Exchange Human Rights Media Fellow, John Gibler:
Why We Oppose Plan America
This week the Bush Administration officially announced the Merida
Initiative, a $1.4 billion aid package to Mexico to be distributed over
the next three years purportedly to fight drug trafficking and organized
crime in Mexico. The aid package, called Plan Mexico for its resemblance
to the $5 billion Plan Colombia, would consist largely in advanced
military equipment such as helicopters and surveillance aircraft,
according to the Mexican foreign minister.
The plan has come under immediate attack on both sides of the border.
According to the Associated Press, Rep. Eliot Engel, chairman of the
House Foreign Affairs Committee's Western Hemisphere subcommittee
(http://foreignaffairs.house.gov/sub_westhem.asp), said Congress was "in
no way consulted" as the aid plan was developed.
"This is not a good way to kick off such an important bilateral effort to
combat drug trafficking and drug-related violence in Mexico," Engel told
the AP. "We will have to carefully comb over every detail of the
president's request in coming weeks and months."
Carlos Fazio, an expert on Mexican social movements and militarization,
writes that Plan Mexico would amount to "ceding national sovereignty and
the de facto subordination of the national armed forces," to U.S. will.
Drug violence in Mexico has reached truly harrowing levels over the past
two years, with over 2,000 people slain in the streets so far in 2007,
most of them public officials, police, reporters, and rival
drug-traffickers. Drug killings have made Mexico the second most
dangerous country in the world (after Iraq) for journalists, according to
Reporters Without Borders. Still, the most terrifying fact of Mexico's
drug violence has always been the depth of the drug cartel's penetration
into seemingly every facet of the Mexican police, military, and judicial
Mexico's first anti-drug Czar, General Rebollo, was on the payroll of one
of Mexico's bloodiest cartels; he is now in a maximum-security prison. In
Tabasco state, drug gangs beheaded a local official who had made a
supposedly anonymous call to the authorities to denounce drug trafficking
through his region. The note written on poster board in his own blood and
left over his headless shoulders read: "This happened to me for making an
anonymous call to the authorities, and they were the very ones who did
this to me." In the past few months, local officials in Altar, Sonora
were threatened with death after calling state officials to denounce a
drug-gang kidnapping near Altar of 300 migrants on their way to the
This past June, nearly 20 soldiers shot and killed three children and
their mother at a road block meant to detect drug traffickers in the
state of Sinaloa; seven of those soldiers tested positive for marijuana
use and one of the seven also tested positive for cocaine.
As has been the case with Plan Colombia, there is great concern that
Mexico could use their new equipment in counter-insurgency raids against
both social movements and suspected guerrilla forces, mainly in Mexico's
indigenous and highly marginalized south.
The Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR), a guerrilla force that first
appeared in 1996 in Guerrero state, has recently published repeated
communique's denouncing the disappearance of two of their members by
government forces. In retaliation, the EPR has detonated various
explosives placed in Mexico's national natural gas lines in July and
September of this year. There is great concern that Mexico could use
their increased military budget and additional military aid from the
U.S., to re-implement a "dirty war" counter-insurgency operation against
social movements, rural organizations, and indigenous communities
suspected of or used as scapegoats for guerrilla activities. Mexico's
repeated use of torture to force confessions in cases as distinct as
suspected guerrilla activity and the femicides of Ciudad Juarez has been
well documented by both nongovernmental and governmental organizations.
The Mexican army used anti-drug helicopters in military attacks against
the Zapatista Army of National Liberation in 1994. Within the last year
the Mexican Navy flew surveillance planes over the city of Oaxaca and the
Zapatista international gathering in La Realidad, Chiapas.
Moreover, paramilitary and para-police attacks continue in Mexico.
Mexican soldiers protected paramilitary forces that massacred 47 people
in Acteal in 1997; and para-police units killed over 20 people during the
mostly non-violent civil disobedience movement of the Oaxaca Peoples'
Popular Assembly (APPO) in 2006.
An on-going series of new reports by the Chiapas-based organization
Center for Political Analysis and Socio-Economic Research (CAPISE -
http://capise.org.mx/) document recent changes in military deployment,
paramilitary activity, and highway projects that combine to form a
counterinsurgency strategy to displace Zapatista communities. The army is
reinforcing military bases near Zapatista communities with Special
Forces, including airborne elite troops and special elite units from
Mexico City without jurisdiction to operate in Chiapas.
On October 27, it will have been a year since plain-clothes police, city
council members and a local judge were all photographed shooting at
protesters in Oaxaca. That day, gunmen shot and killed two Oaxacan
teachers, Esteban Zurita Lopez and Emilio Alonso Fabian and New York
Indymedia reporter Brad Will. A year later and impunity reigns
(http://www.globalexchange.org/countries/americas/mexico/dispatches/5038.html). The men photographed still hold their jobs in local government; no one has been convicted of the murders; and the state and federal governments persist in their efforts to blame members of the APPO for killing Brad Will.
Mexican officials and analysts have long said that the U.S. should curb
the consumption of drugs within its own borders and the flow of high
caliber guns to the traffickers in Mexico. Plan Mexico would simply give
military equipment to the very Mexican forces that have so long been
implicated in drug trafficking without first addressing the U.S.'s active
role in drug violence by providing the market place for drugs and the
guns used to kill.