The recent Omnibus spending bill included funds to build border walls in the Middle East. Some were outraged but did you know it has been the practice for some time? And we give money to known criminals…in Mexico?
The Merida Initiative, originating under the Obama administration, has appropriated $2.5 billion since FY2008 to “disrupt organized criminal groups, institutionalize reforms to sustain the rule of law and support for human rights, create a 21st-century border, and build strong and resilient communities.”
The border we are securing is not the one we share with Mexico. It’s the border Mexico shares with Guatemala and Belize.
It is, unfortunately, funding the Mexican drug war and the equipment and training goes to compromised agencies, The Nation reported in 2015.
The Zetas control the political and security apparatus in large swaths of territory in Mexico. It is often their operatives in government agencies who get the training and equipment.
The Nation reported that US laws prohibit aid to criminal groups, but “…internal reporting on the implementation of Mérida programs reveals that institutional connections to organized crime are consistently overlooked, ignored or kept hidden from public scrutiny as counter-drug money continues to flow.”
The State Department said one of the goals is to “fight organized crime and associated violence” but in many instances, the U.S. aid bolsters government agencies linked to organized criminal groups.
One good example is in Coahulla and Nuevo León.
As the DEA trained mid-level federal police officers from Coahuila and Nuevo León, US consulate officials were reporting that the security apparatus in Nuevo León had been compromised. This is at the same time the governor admitted that some state and police officials had been co-opted by the Zetas. The programs even continued while DEA officials reported on the arrests of thirteen active-duty and retired law enforcement officials in the state of Nuevo León, including directors of the SSP, for providing protection and assistance to drug-trafficking organizations.
What the U.S. government does in response is to add MORE support to these same cartel-tied agencies.
The abuse isn’t limited to local agencies. It carries over to all levels of the Mexican government, including military officials and federal investigators. The U.S. officials are well aware of this, The Nation reported.
It Wasn’t Popular With Republicans
Asked to comment on the southern Mexico border security plan in 2008 when it originated, Rep. Ted Poe (R., Texas) said he opposed the effort.
“We need to take care of the United States first when it comes to border security,” he told the Free Beacon. “The United States seems to be very concerned about protecting the border of other nations and needs to be more concerned about protecting our own border.”
Poe also said: “We should be spending funds on border security and national security in the United States.”
“Mexico has a problem, obviously, but it is their responsibility to protect the sovereignty of their borders and it is our responsibility to protect the sovereignty of our border,” he said, according to the Free Beacon.
The U.S. government has been secretive when it comes to this program.
The Mexican online news outlet La Journada reported July 29 that references to discussions on Mexico’s southern border during the Napolitano visit were initially included in an official Mexican government press release, but were later removed for unexplained reasons.
The final statement said “the Government Secretary, Miguel Angel Osorio Chong, and U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, today led a meeting to talk about strengthening border security of our country, in order to achieve an orderly migration flow and respect for human rights.”
The newspaper speculated that omitting the word may have been designed to hide U.S. and Mexican plans for joint action on the southern border.
As it turns out, the problem goes far beyond securing Mexico’s borders which is not our affair, to begin with. It’s fortifying the international criminal organizations.
We give Mexico $300 to $400 million a year in aid. In addition, we support their nationals living illegally in this country. It costs us billions. All of that is a drop in the bucket. We give them far more than what is reported and we do it without any checks and balances. Most media will promote the initiative because it allegedly is responsible for some high-profile arrests. But the truth is our money could be better spent protecting our own border.