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In Mexico, Opposition to Plan Merida Emerges

This week, high-level US and Mexican officials spoke out in favor of Plan Mérida, the three-year, $1.4 billion anti-drug package designed to assist the Mexican government in its ongoing battle with violent drug trafficking organizations. But at the same time officials like Attorney General Michael Mukasey and Defense Secretary Robert Gates were visiting Latin America to seek support for the plan, at a forum on drug policy in Culiacán, Sinaloa, home of one of the most feared of the drug trafficking groups, the Sinaloa Cartel, there was little but criticism of the proposed aid package.

http://stopthedrugwar.org/files/riodocecover.gif
Ríodoce cover -- Sinaloa keeps bleeding. Why more (soldiers)?
Since he took office at the beginning of last year, Mexican President Felipe Calderón has deployed some 30,000 Mexican army troops in the fight against the so-called cartels, which provide much of the cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, and marijuana coming into the United States. US officials have praised Mexican President Felipe Calderón for his aggressive efforts against the cartels and seek to reward his government -- and especially the Mexican military -- by providing high-tech equipment, training, and other goods to the Mexican armed forces.

But despite the massive military deployments in border cities from Tijuana in the west to Reynosa and Matamoros in the east, as well as in the states of Guerrero, Michoacán, and Sinaloa -- all traditional drug-producing areas -- and the high praise from Washington, Calderon's drug war has not gone well. Roughly 2,000 people were killed in Mexico's drug war last year, and with this year's toll already approaching 1,000, 2008 looks to be even bloodier. Yet the flow of drugs north and guns and cash south continues unimpeded.

Bush administration and Mexican officials met over a period of months last year and early this year to craft a joint response that would see $500 million a year in assistance to Mexico, primarily in the form of helicopters and surveillance aircraft. Known as Plan Mérida, after the Mexican city in which it took final form, the assistance package is now before the US Congress.

Congressional failure to fund the package would be "a real slap at Mexico," Secretary of Defense Gates said in Mexico City Tuesday as he met with General Guillermo Galván, the Mexican defense minister, Government Secretary Juan Mouriño, and Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa. "It clearly would make it more difficult for us to help Mexican armed forces and their civilian agencies deal with this difficult problem," he told reporters.

The same day, Attorney General Mukasey was in San José, Costa Rica, where in a speech to justice ministers from across the hemisphere, he, too, urged Congress to approve the aid package. Drugs, gangs, and violent crime on the border are "a joint problem -- and we must face it jointly," he said. "By working together, we can strengthen the rule of law and the administration of justice, and we can combat transnational criminal threats," Mukasey said.

That is what the Mexican government wants to hear. It negotiated the aid package, and although President Calderón's ruling National Action Party (PAN) does not hold a majority in the Mexican congress, it can count on the support of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) on the aid deal. Of the three major parties in the Mexican congress, only the left-leaning Revolutionary Democratic Party (PRD) is raising concerns about the package, but the PRD is not strong enough in the congress to block it.

But while official Mexico may want passage of the package, a number of Mexican intellectuals, academics, political figures, and former military officers attacked the plan to beef up the Mexican military for US drug war aims at a forum this week at the International Forum on Illicit Drugs hosted by the Culiacán weekly newsmagazine Ríodoce.

"The US wants to fight drugs, crime, and terrorism. Bush and Calderón have been talking about a new Plan Colombia, but the anti-drug policies pursued so far have been a failure," said Ríodoce managing editor Ismael Bojórquez, as he opened the conference. "The phenomenon of drug trafficking is very complex and reaches deeply into the fabric of our society. The system benefits from the drug trade; the profits from it enter into our economy and have benefited many businesses. Few sectors have been able to resist the easy money. In a country that has not been able to improve conditions for poor Mexicans, the drug trade is an attractive alternative," he explained.

"Our government has authorized the use of federal police and even soldiers to attack the drug trade, but this strategy is mistaken and the government has wasted million of dollars that could have gone to productive ends," Bojórquez added.

"Our foreign policy has been subordinated to that of the Americans, the policemen of the world," said Mexican political figure Jorge Ángel Pescador Osuna, the former Mexican consul general in Los Angeles. "Fortunately, this Plan Mérida initiative has yet to be approved by the US Congress, and hopefully, the voice of Mexico will be heard in this debate. We think there are real solutions that are within the grasp of the government and civil society," he said.

"They want to spend $500 million the first year, half of which will go to buy military equipment and advanced technologies," said Pescador Osuna. "My first response is how nice. But then I have to ask why we should use the military in areas that are outside its competence. What we need here is to strengthen our democracy, and we will not accomplish that by using the military for civilian law enforcement."

"These kinds of anti-drug policies that focus on policing are overwhelmingly simplistic," concurred Colombian economist Francisco Thoumi, director of the Center for Drug and Crime Studies at the University of Rosario in Bogota. "They do not attack the problem at the base," he argued. "The drug trade is a capitalist industry, and it accepts the losses of interdiction and eradication as a cost of doing business. This kind of enforcement looks good on TV and makes politicians and police happy, but the industry goes on, and this doesn't solve the problem."

"The idea with this is to give power to the armed forces," said Luis Astorga, a researcher at the National Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico City and head of a UNESCO program devoted to understanding the ramifications of the international drug trade. "Calderon is doing nothing more or less than reconfiguring the anti-drug struggle in Mexico by putting it in the hands of the military. One question is how long this will last," he noted.

General Francisco Gallardo, a leading advocate of human rights within the Mexican armed forces, was also critical. "The context for Plan Mérida is this new world order where the US struggle for hegemony with China and the European Union," he argued. "The US has militarized its foreign policy, and it wants us to militarize our drug enforcement. But the function of the army is to defend the sovereignty of the state, not to fight crime. That is the job of the police," he said.

"Involving the military under the auspices of Plan Mérida does not respond to Mexican interests," Gallardo said. "It has a bad effect on the institutional and judicial order of the nation. The soldiers who kill innocents are absolved; they have impunity," he said, citing the cases of several mass killings by soldiers in Sinaloa, including an incident in Santiago de Caballero in the mountains above Culiacán in late March, in which four unarmed young men in a Hummer were killed by soldiers on an anti-drug mission. "The drug trade is a matter for police and the justice system, not the military," Gallardo concluded.

While the Bush and Calderón administrations are seeking to steamroll opposition to the proposed aid package, it is clear that Plan Mérida is drawing heated criticism in Mexico. What is less clear is whether that opposition can successfully block the initiative on the Mexican side. Right now, the best prospects for that appear to lie in the US Congress.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
Looking for the easiest way to join the anti-drug war movement? You've found it!

Great piece.. now let's act!

Taking action against the Merida Initiative is simple:

1. Call the office of your representative and ask that the representative oppose the Merida Initiative. Use the talking points below. To reach the office, call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121. Ask to be connected to your House or Senate member (give your state and zip code if you're not sure who it is).

2. Encourage key Congress members to take a stand against the Merida Initiative:

House

* Representative Elliot Engel (D-NY), Chair of the Western Hemisphere subcommittee: 202-225-2464
* Representative Howard Berman (D-CA), Chair of the Foreign Affairs committee: 202-225-4695
* Representative Nita Lowey (D-NY), Chair of the Foreign Operations subcommittee: 202-225-6506

Senate

* Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT), Chair of the Western Hemisphere subcommittee: 202-224-2823
* Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE), Chair of the Foreign Relations committee: 202-224-5042
* Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Chair of the Foreign Operations subcommittee: 202-224-4242

friendsofbradwill.org

Mexicos war on drugs the Bush way!

Carpet bomb the entire area ,kill men,women,children,dogs,cats,and probably cartel members ,''that'' to me would be the Bush ''way to get it done,any tourists get killed must have been there to buy drugs,or they're guilty of something! I mean aren't we all?Then we can move on to other countries that even hint they have drugs because we all know ''That the American Pharmaceutical Co's are the only ones allowed to push drugs'' isn't that right !! O ne way or other the USA. is going to run this world!! Terrorists or drugs.....leaves China! I mean don't they pretty much own us?

In the eyes of...

"would be the Bush ''way to get it done,any tourists get killed must have been there to buy drugs,or they're guilty of something! I mean aren't we all?"

In the eyes of God, er... BUSH, we're ALL guilty! =P

Plan Merida?

I'm sorry, but when I read "Plan Merida", it just looks like "Plan Mierda" to me. Anyone else have this difficulty? My eyes just aren't what they used to be.

Here is THE solution to this problem

First, let us get real here. Plan Meridia is not about staunching the distribution of drugs: it is really about financing a trans national army that will be deployable in the US. Very bad idea, but absolutely consistent with our move toward a North America Union.

The article offers no solutions. Let me suggest one.

Completely Legalize Marijuana Cultivation for adults. The best model for this is the MERP Model (rhymes with burp). This will rob the cartels of a significant amount of money and act as a "gatekeeper" drug (e.g., having access to good Cannibis insulates users from interfacing with drug gangs etc.).

Next, write me in as next President of the United States:

BRUCE W. CAIN

After all, all 3 of these candidate are going to sell us out to the trans national corporations in 2009. I would start my administration by demanding that Cannibis be taken off the "Controlled Substances Act (1970)." Concurrent with that I would set up a special office to grant clemency to all non-violent Marijuana offences throughout the US. That would effectively end to War on Marijuana.

I also offer a "New Agenda for America" that would address a number of other important issues.

Here are some additional links for you to peruse:

The MERP Project
The Marijuana Re-Legalization Policy (MRP) Project

http://www.newagecitizen.com/ReLegalization01.htm
http://www.newagecitizen.com/editorial_on_the_marijuana_re.htm

Bruce W. Cain Discusses the MERP Model, for Marijuana Relegalization, with "Sense and Sensimilla"
http://senseandsensi.libsyn.com/index.php?post_id=270029

Why Lou Dobbs Should Support Marijuana Legalization
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VKf5YfQb7s&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Enewag...

Video Biography of Bruce W. Cain
http://www.newagecitizen.com/Videos.htm

How Continuing the Drug War could make Nuclear Terrorism a Reality
by Bruce W. Cain
http://www.newagecitizen.com/Editorials/v8n1NuclearTerrorism.htm

To Lou Dobbs: No Money for Mexico's Military

To Lou Dobbs: No Money for Mexico's Military

Nancy (a blogger) wrote the following after watching "Lou Dobb's Tonight" (05/01/2008):

======================
I cannot believe what I heard on Lou Dobbs tonight. He said he supports sending 1 1/2 billion dollars to Mexico to help them fight their drug war! This is the man who has screamed from the roof tops that our government is failing us by not building a fence and/or having more border guards to stop the invasion of illegal’s into the U.S. Does he not see that to send this bunch of corrupt criminals this huge amount of American taxpayers money is taking away from what should be spent on stopping OUR drug problem which is coming from Mexico? And knowing how our economy is in the toilet, millions of Americans struggling to make ends meet, hospitals shutting down, school systems in shambles, veterans being denied benefits, where is the logic in sending the 6th richest country in the world OUR money while they continue to shove their illiterate peasants and truck loads of drugs over the border? Am I missing something or does anyone else wonder what this man is smoking?
======================

As much as I respect the efforts of Lou Dobb's, to expose the Corporate agenda of allowing a torrent of Legal/Illegal immigrants into the United States, I have to part ways with him regarding drug policy.

I published a magazine on Drug Policy (New Age Patriot 1989 - 1997) for 10 years and am considered, by many, to be an "expert" on this topic. I invite you to watch the following 2 videos in order to understand why I support the Legalization of Marijuana for Adult Americans and why I am running as a "write-in" candidate in order to promote my "New Agenda for America.

========================

Why Lou Dobbs Should Demand A Stop To Legal Immigration
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-kVA5UA38nE&eurl=http://www.newagecitizen...

Why Lou Dobbs Should Support Marijuana Legalization
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VKf5YfQb7s&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Enewag...

The "New Agenda for America" and the 2008 Presidency
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bdEtFEzyShM

========================

But there is something more ominous that I want to address here.

A few weeks ago there was a back page article that talked about an accord, between the US and Canada. It allows the use of Canadian military in the US in times of social unrest. Anyone with a brain will recognize that this is just another brick in the wall of the coming "North American Union." [See the current or April 18th edition of New Age Citizen if you need to come up to speed on the NAU]:
www.newagecitizen.com

Since the NAU envisions a new nation state -- consisting of Canada, the US and Mexico -- it is most certain that eventually the other shoe is eventually going to drop: Mexico will also be "deputised" to use its military to quell social unrest in the United States.

If you find that unsettling, join the club. Mexico has been a Narco-State for decades and the Mexican federal government is most definitely involved with the Mexican drug cartels.

But the real issue is not that the 1.2 Billion in the latest military technology might be wasted or fall into the hands of Narco-Terrorists. The real issue is that this is part of the NAU and this military weaponry may very well be used to force the American people into submission and accept the loss of our sovereignty to a North American Union.

IF you doubt this scenario please read the following article:

========================
Elitist Blueprint For World Government Revealed
New book written by insider - 6,000 globalists control the planet and plan to completely end national sovereignty, manifesto for dealing with "antiglobalist" resistors unveiled
Paul Joseph Watson Prison Planet Thursday, May 1, 2008
http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/may2008/050108_elitist_blueprint.htm
========================

As much as I appreciate the efforts of Lou Dobbs - on issues of Legal and Illegal immigration -- his willingness to allow the US to give Mexico 1.2 billion of our latest military hardware makes you wonder if he is ultimately a foil for the North American Union. At the very least he is seriously misguided in this current matter.

So tomorrow I will be announcing my "write-in" candidacy for President of the United States in hopes that I might just force a debate on Immigration, Drug Policy, the Federal Reserve, Health Care and other serious issues. I have no illusion of winning in November.

But please consider that all of the "likely" candidates - McCain, Clinton and Obama - are not so secretly behind more immigration (both legal and illegal) and the North American Union. Was it only me that noticed that not one of them commented on the NAU summit in New Orleans last week? This is not an accident. They didn't comment because, in reality, they are all one hundred percent behind implementation of the NAU. And their campaigns are financed by those that also want to see the NAU take root.

If this was 1776 you would be hearing about Paul Revere riding though the streets, warning of England's intention of usurp the sovereignty of the people. It is high time that the American people ride the waves of the internet, and involve themselves in acts of civil disobedience, to achieve the same effect. Our soveriegnty is truly in jeapordy. And giving military weaponry to the Mexican military is definately a piece of that puzzle.

Please start spreading the word about my candidacy so that we might force these Presidential traitors into an honest debate regarding these important issues. The following link will take you to the "New Agenda for America" page where you can generate flyers and add a graphic link to your web page:

http://www.newagecitizen.com/NAA.htm

Yours in Freedom,

Bruce W. Cain
Editor, New Age Citizen

Related:

========================
Lou Dobbs - UN Concern for Drug Cartels
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cneMThEPndg
========================

========================
Lou Dobbs want to give military hardware to Mexico's military
http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0804/30/ldt.01.html

DOBBS: The U.S., Mexican and Central American governments are stepping up their efforts to fight the increasingly violent drug cartels of Mexico. Mexican President Felipe Calderon sent 3,000 federal troops into Tijuana yesterday to fight the warring cartels. And the Bush administration is now pressuring Congress to approve a military aid package that would send Mexico nearly one and a half billion U.S. taxpayer dollars.

Casey Wian has our report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WIAN (voice-over): Leaders of the United States and Guatemala, the two nations bordering Mexico and its escalating drug wars met at the White House this week. President Alvaro Colom says the recent arrival of four military helicopters from the United States helped Guatemala seize more drugs.

PRES. ALVARO COLOM, GUATEMALA (through translator): We're working not just with the United States, but also with Mexico and the entire neighborhood in Central America because all of us must be involved in order to combat that scourge at all levels.

WIAN: President Bush again pressed the U.S. Congress to approve the Merida (ph) initiative. It seeks $1.4 billion for military aircraft, technology, and training to help Mexico fight drug cartels.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're working hard to reduce the demand for drugs here in America. And at the same time we want to work in conjunction with strong leaders to make sure these drug traffickers don't get a strong hold, and that's why it's very important for Congress to fund that Merida project.

WIAN: But in six months Congress has not acted on Merida.

PROF. GEORGE GRAYSON, COLLEGE OF WILLIAM & MARY: It's important that we symbolically show our cooperation with Mexico in the war against drugs. After all, we consume most of the junk that comes across the border. At the same time, I don't believe the U.S. Congress wants to grapple with this issue before the presidential election.

WIAN: Still, Robert Gates became only the second U.S. defense secretary to visit Mexico Tuesday. He promoted Merida, predicted congressional approval and said he hoped the money would begin flowing to Mexico by Memorial Day.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WIAN: Gates called Merida a wise investment of American money, but some U.S. lawmakers worry about Mexico's history of government corruption and say they fear military hardware intended for Mexican soldiers could be diverted to drug cartels -- Lou.

DOBBS: Well at this point you know why not try it? I mean we are watching an entire generation of young Americans being overwhelmed by addiction of control substances, alcohol. We're watching Mexico continue to send the preponderance of the cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamines and heroin into this country. It's worth a try, in my opinion. I don't want to suggest it's anyone else's opinion. It's mine.

But it's time we did something. And if this might spur the Calderon government to authentic genuine action, it would be ground breaking, historic to have an effective measure taken in the war on drugs. They might even consider securing the border.

WIAN: Right. Well Lou, I got to tell you Secretary Gates sounded very confident in his public comments out of Mexico that Congress would in fact approve this package and approve it soon. That despite the fact that many congressional skeptics remain opposed to giving Mexico any money until they clean up the corruption in government there.

DOBBS: I don't know who those skeptics are, don't want to know, don't care. I'm saying now is the time for this country to get serious about border security, port security, about interdiction of drugs, the war on drugs, the war on addiction in this country and the war on terror and secure those borders and these ports. And it's time for the idiots and the these chimera to just simply disappear. I hope that this administration takes all of them with it when it leaves in January.

Thank you very much, Casey Wian.

Again, I want to repeat, that was my opinion. No one else's, just mine. I hope you share it but it was my opinion.
=========================================

$1.5 billion won't help

Do you guys *really* think $1.5 billion is going to do *anything* to the TRILLION-DOLLAR a year tax-free revenue the black market makes?

LOL

Hint: Even if Bush sent $100 billion it would do NOTHING!

$1.5 billion is a drop in the bucket - useless. Little more than another wet dream.

fairminded

Exactamento...

Throwing more $$$ at the ,socalled drugwar, will only prompt the "other" side to do the same. This will lead to more blood being spilled. I believe the NorthAmericanAlliance conspiracy is real. When one can no long run to Canada or Mexico ,to get away, where are you going to go? You must be born ,you must then ,pay taxes, and then you must die,leaving what you may have left, to the state. Way to go big three! I feel so safe and connected now." TAKE A BITE OUTA CRIME", RELEGALIZE! Go for it, Bruce Cain.

Finally;

Some commonsense from Mexico.

Action needed

Taking action against the Merida Initiative is simple. And if you think that $1.5 billion is all they've got planned, you've another thing coming.

1. Call the office of your representative and ask that the representative oppose the Merida Initiative. Use the talking points below. To reach the office, call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121. Ask to be connected to your House or Senate member (give your state and zip code if you're not sure who it is).

2. Encourage key Congress members to take a stand against the Merida Initiative:

House

* Representative Elliot Engel (D-NY), Chair of the Western Hemisphere subcommittee: 202-225-2464
* Representative Howard Berman (D-CA), Chair of the Foreign Affairs committee: 202-225-4695
* Representative Nita Lowey (D-NY), Chair of the Foreign Operations subcommittee: 202-225-6506

Mexican Perspective

I'm a gringo LEAP member who lives down here. I have a few "policia" friends that I have occassional coffees with. I asked them what they thought of the Plan. They hadn't heard a word about it. And these are street cops!

So, I explain it to them and watch their eyes get larger and larger, then they all, as on que, squint. I asked, "How much will you see?"

Their united response? "No un peso!"

A couple thought I was joking them. I assured them I was not. Then one asked, "Why such a great country do such a stupid thing?"

Ever have one of those moments when you really are at a loss for words?

The rule of law

"By working together, we can strengthen the rule of law and the administration of justice, and we can combat transnational criminal threats," Mukasey said.

The only problem is that prohibition, by definition, is not the rule of law. It is the total abrogation of the range of democratic regulatory, licensing and taxing institutions that constitute the rule of law in a civil democratic society.

Prohibition is an absolutist authoritarianism that depends exclusively on police imposed intolerance in the place of civil democratic institutions of mutual consent.

plan merida

Well, what can we do guys? We really have got to do something to stop this money from arriving in Mexico. We also have got to unite and get people to actively persue drug legalization. We need to also show the U.S. senate all of the human rights abuses that the Mexican armed forces are commiting. Some examples are indiscriminate torture of peaceful civilians. Entrance of households without any type warrent. The killing of families and people just because they didn't stop at a checkpoint. Revisions of people just because they happen to be where the Mexican military is. It is wrong and frankly quite scary. We got to do something. Just look on the internet with the keywords "military abuse calderon" or in spanish "abusos militares contra narco calderon" get that evidence and try to get it relayed to people in Washington. We got to stop this.

Clowns

Let me see, you want to smoke weed, not get addicted, visit cancun with cheap airfare, buy cheap tomatoes and lettuce, and yes build a fence...Nice..

Sounds complicated, isn't this what the mexican government is trying to secure for you lame as ducks...

Sounds like the US needs to start paying for its share....about time...

drugs

ok guys just let know to the american people stop makig drugs (marijuana. cocaine,etc and the problem will be down.

It is absolutely right even

It is absolutely right even $100 billion would do nothing to the trillion-dollar a year tax-free revenue the black market makes!!! Each government who offense drug is worth praising, yet some of them will undoubtedly be blamed!

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