#352 Just Say NO To ‘Plan Mexico’

Date: Thu, 16 Aug 2007
Subject: #352 Just Say NO To ‘Plan Mexico’

JUST SAY NO TO ‘PLAN MEXICO’

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DrugSense FOCUS Alert #352 – Thursday, 16 August 2007

On Tuesday, Aug 14th, The New York Times featured an updated summary
of ongoing discussions between the federal government of Mexico and
the United States government. On the agenda are intensive talks to
develop a plan for the United States to provide billions of dollars to
Mexico to support its fight against drug cartels.

Since 1970 the U.S. has spent over a trillion dollars in the war on
drugs. Now they are negotiating to spend another $1.2 billion over the
next 3 years to fight the “Nuevo Laredo-style” violence in Mexico.

Dubbed “Plan Mexico”, this further escalation of the North American
War on Drugs seems rather unlikely to be any more successful than the
counterproductive Plan Colombia which the U.S. has funded with tens of
billions of dollars over the past decade.

According to the U.N. “with 2 to 3 million displaced persons, Colombia
presents the highest number of internally displaced people in the
Western Hemisphere, and the second largest displaced population in the
world after Sudan.” If the success of Plan Mexico relies on the U.S.
continuing more failed Prohibition style policies, no wall or fence
will be able to stem the tide of Mexicans seeking entry into the U.S.

The NY Times coverage is shown following the below. Meanwhile,
continuing coverage of this news story may be followed by visiting
either of these links:

Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/topic/Plan+Mexico (Plan Mexico)

Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/people/Felipe+Calderon

Please consider sending a Letter to the Editor to the New York Times
expressing your opinions regarding the proposed Plan Mexico and why it
is a bad idea for both the U.S. and Mexico. Please consider sending
letters to other newspapers which have covered this story. If you
elect to write to more than one newspaper, we suggest at least some
modification of your message so that each newspaper receives a unique
letter.

Letters of 200 words or less have the best chance of print unless
otherwise noted in MAP headers.

Note that the New York Times requires letters to be no more than 150
words.

Thanks for your effort and support.

It’s not what others do it’s what YOU do

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Pubdate: Tue, 14 Aug 2007
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 2007 The New York Times Company
Contact: letters@nytimes.com
Author: James C. McKinley Jr.

U.S. MAY PROVIDE BILLIONS TO MEXICO TO FIGHT DRUG CARTELS

MEXICO CITY — Mexico and the United States are holding intensive
talks to develop a plan for the United States to provide billions of
dollars to Mexico to support its fight against drug cartels, but the
negotiations are not likely to produce an agreement before next week’s
trilateral meeting with Canada, officials from both countries said.

Both sides are trying to keep the details of the talks secret, but
officials with knowledge of the issue said the aid would include money
and training for the Mexican police, as well as advanced
eavesdropping, surveillance and other spying technology.

Mexican officials insisted that any agreement would not involve
operations by the United States military or drug enforcement agents on
Mexican soil, as has happened in Colombia and Peru.

“The bottom line is precisely some help with equipment so we can do
our job from a more solid perspective,” said Eduardo Medina Mora, the
Mexican attorney general, in an interview with Radio Formula last
week. “What are the concrete components? That is obviously on the
table, but always obviously with the principle of respect for our
sovereignty.”

Mexican officials said the negotiations began in March, around the
time that President Bush met for talks with President Felipe Calderon
in Merida, Mexico. The new discussions come as Mr. Calderon has
started using federal troops in a major offensive against drug cartels
and has begun extraditing top drug traffickers to the United States, a
break with past practice.

In general, Mexico is seeking money, training and advanced technology
for its state and federal police forces. One problem for Mexican
antidrug officials has been the rampant corruption in municipal police
departments.

Recently released tapes of police radio conversations in Tijuana, for
instance, suggested that officers had been working hand in hand with
gunmen for the Arellano Felix drug cartel to allow them to slip away
from federal agents.

But Mexican officials also want the United States to do more to reduce
the consumption of drugs at home and stop the flow of arms and
ill-gotten cash back into Mexico. “We don’t see this as an assistance
package,” said one high-ranking official in the president’s office,
who requested anonymity because of the delicate nature of the
negotiations here. “We see this as increased cooperation.”

Mr. Medina Mora, the attorney general, said in the radio interview:
“There is a flow, of course, of drugs from the south to the north, but
there is also an important flow of arms and money from the north to
the south.”

While discussions so far have taken place between top diplomats and
security experts in the executive branches of both countries, any
major aid package for Mexico would probably have to have Congressional
approval, officials from both sides said.

Representative Henry Cuellar, a Texas Democrat who represents a border
district that includes Laredo, said he supported the proposal, saying
it would mark a “historic shift in policy” by giving Mexico an array
of tools to crack down on drug dealers. On the table are tools such
as surveillance equipment, aircraft, and advanced radar and
telephone-tapping equipment, Mr. Cuellar and Mexican officials said.

“It’s equipment and technology to make sure they are able to match the
power of the drug cartels,” Mr. Cuellar said in a recent interview.

Mr. Cuellar was part of a delegation from the House Homeland Security
Committee that visited Mexico in April and heard from high-ranking law
enforcement officials about the hurdles they faced in fighting
well-financed drug cartels.

The official in the Mexican president’s office, however, said it might
be weeks before a deal could be presented to lawmakers, while United
States officials voiced doubt that an agreement would be reached
before the Aug. 20 trilateral meeting in Montebello, Quebec.

“There is no final deal,” the Mexican official said. “There are many
things on the table right now and many of those things involve what
the U.S. will do in their territory. This has been going on for
several weeks. There is no deadline for this.”

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