Sen. Leahy Delays U.S. Drug War Aid to Mexico

Sen. Patrick Leahy, skeptical of a State Department report glossing over Mexico's human rights violations with respect to the war on drugs, has delayed U.S plans to send big bucks there to aid in Mexico's fight against traffickers.

The State Department intended to send the favorable report on Mexico's human rights record to Congress in advance of President Obama's visit to Guadalajara for a summit of North American leaders this weekend, U.S. officials familiar with the report said.

That plan was scrapped after aides to Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman of the Senate Appropriations foreign operations subcommittee, told State Department officials that the findings contradicted reports of human rights violations in Mexico, including torture and forced disappearances, in connection with the drug war.

Maybe we can get some Senators to scrap the funding permanently. The money could be used so much better at home, for health care, education and starting the transition from over-incarceration to greater reliance on alternatives like drug and mental health treatment and vocational training for inmates, to help reduce the risk of recidivism.

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    Amen. (none / 0) (#1)
    by masslib on Wed Aug 05, 2009 at 07:43:09 AM EST
    The war on drugs is immoral.

    The money, the money, THE MONEY! (none / 0) (#2)
    by SeeEmDee on Wed Aug 05, 2009 at 07:59:32 AM EST
    If 'progressives' want to 'walk the talk', then here's a perfect chance.

    If moral arguments against caging people, taking their stuff, wrecking their families and in some cases killing innocent people don't work for scrapping the DrugWar entirely (and they don't seem to) then all that's necessary is to point out the (hundreds of ) 'billions and billions' that have been thrown down the rat-hole of the DrugWar these past 40 years, and how we could suuuuuure use that money today, couldn't we? With millions facing the end of their unemployment bennies, the message will have greater resonance than ever before.

    So, 'progressives', how about it?

    Mexico needs the money to fight a war in which the (none / 0) (#3)
    by LatinoDC on Wed Aug 05, 2009 at 09:14:26 AM EST
    US also has some responsability.  The problem is that the Merida initiative does not focuse on funding police reform and other civilian security institutions, but rather on equipment.  The money is needed Jeralyn, and part of it should go to decrease the demand for drugs in the U.S., as you well note, but I think you are missing the part about the need for police reform in Mexico.

    How can there be reform when drug prohibition (none / 0) (#4)
    by SeeEmDee on Wed Aug 05, 2009 at 11:15:43 AM EST
    guarantees corruption?

    Throwing more money at the problem will do nothing but exacerbate it; we have Plan Colombia as proof of that. To state that the situation in Mexico is somehow different is to refuse to admit the reality on the ground. The recent articles in Mother Jones detailing how the infiltration of Mex law enforcement by cartels is so prevalent to be near universal makes that clear. Plan Mex- uh, excuse me, The Merida Intitiative (we must be PC about how we call it, lest the taxpayers recall that Plan Colombia was supposed to be the death blow to the cartels instead of creating a  worse mess)  will be nothing more than throwing more gasoline on an already raging 4-alarm fire.

    The problem cannot be dealt with effectively so long as the engine that powers the profit-making abilities of the cartels is left unmolested. And that means so long as drug prohibition remains in place, so will the trafficking and all the attendant miseries derived from it. And no amount of Pollyanna-ish thinking on the part of policy wonks and professional moral scolds will change that.

    Besides, with millions of former taxpaying US citizens unemployed today, and millions more soon to join them, that money is needed for social safety net spending at home, not for for foreign 'experiments' in social and political engineering. And I'd wager that if you asked those citizens standing in the unemployment lines today as to where that money should go, they'd point to their empty wallets and purses, not to the south. Maybe somebody ought to ask the people footing the bill for all this as to what they think of such 'generosity'


    Gotta love Vermont (none / 0) (#5)
    by Lora on Wed Aug 05, 2009 at 02:22:08 PM EST