Friday, August 9, 2013

Leahy Freeze on Mexico Drug War Funds Will Save Lives and Money" 
Patrick Leahy, chair of the Appropriations Committee, blocked release of $95 million dollars in funding for the Merida Initiative, citing the lack of a clear strategy on the part of the U.S. State Department and the Mexican government.“The whole things looks like just coughing up money with no accountability,”Leahy was quoted as saying in the legislative monitor, CQ Roll Call.The decision is a long-overdue recognition that the drug war in Mexico has been a bloody fiasco. The Merida Initiative, a Bush-era plan to attack cartels in Mexico and reduce trafficking of prohibited drugs to the U.S. market, began in 2008. Congress has appropriated $1.9 billion dollars from the federal budget for the program over the past five years, most aimed at bolstering Mexican security forces. Since the drug war was launched and armed forces deployed to fight the cartels, the homicide rate in Mexico soared 150%, between 2006 and 2012.No Justification
Last August the State Department asked the committee to obligate some $229 million assigned to the Merida Initiative in the 2012 budget. At first, Leahy decided to hold up the entire amount, after receiving a two-and-a-half page explanation from the State Department that he felt failed toadequately describe spending and objectives.In April, the committee released $134 million,but held up the rest pending more information from State and the Mexican government on how the money would be spent, what the goals were and how the programs and resources would help achieve those goals.Since then, neither government has clarified publicly or to their respective Congresses the state of drug war cooperation or where they want to take it. Thursday’s announcement confirms the hold on the funds and obliges both governments to define a joint strategy that shows some signs of viability.Contacted shortly after the hold, a top Leahy aide summed up the reason behind suspension of the aid, “We received less than three pages of explanation.Senator Leahy does not sign away a quarter of a billion dollars just like that.”
Since the Merida Initiative requests are usually buried in multi-billion dollar foreign operations and defense funding bills, it has not gotten the scrutiny it deserves. Leahy’s action turns the spotlight onto a situation that should never have gone on as long as it did.Representatives in Washington must go further now and call for a full review of the Merida Initiative before appropriating or releasing any funds. It is arguably among the most wasteful and counter-productive programs in the federal budget and raises grave concerns regarding human rights. A series of human rights stipulations have only served to whitewash an aid package that has encouraged a sharp rise in violations by Mexican armed forces and police by rewarding the perpetrators, who rarely face any consequences for their actions.Mexican and U.S. human rights groups have been calling to suspend the Merida Initiative for years. As that demand was ignored, the death toll mounted and organized crime groups grew more vicious and ambitious. The governments seemed to think it was enough to assure people it was just the darkness before the dawn and ask citizens to have patience.For the mothers and fathers of the war’s victims, patience is not a virtue. A caravan of family members of Mexican victims visited Leahy’s office and other Congressional members last September urging an immediate end to the drug war. The nation-wide caravan aimed to show how the Merida Initiative and other U.S. aid support for the war on drugs has devastated their families. Their stories brought many staffers to tears.It’s about time someone in government called for a halt to throwing good money after bad at Mexico’s drug war. It not only doesn’t work; it kills.[ed notes;click link for whole piece...meanwhile here is the problem sister Laura,they Mexican govt will do what Colombia(most likjely advised by washington) did when same approach was forced into public debate after genocide in Casanare on behalf of us corporations became clear was aided with us funds,and also later when the false positive scandals broke out,wich exposed the relation ship between us aid under plan Colombia/Integrated action, rightwing dathsquad paramilitary training alongside army and us advisers exactly where crimes took place...what happened when human rights organizations forced the leahy law applications?the Colombian govt reshuffled the military personnel and military brass responsible from units responsible to new units,wich made leahy law void and no longer applicable!!Expect same in Mexico,then resumption of that money pipeline back into it...note to my brother Pali remember that back in pl6,the reshuffled lists?wish i had categories on blog back then,so id go into archive and fish it today..its somewhere on my blog..good old days on pl6
btw how about we start 
applying leahy law against israhell?shhh dont let senator Leahy hear you utter such words!

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