Hearings Today on U.S. Drug Aid to Mexico

the House Homeland Security Agency (Subcommittee on Border, Maritime and Global Counterterrorism) will hold a hearing on President Obama's plan to extend the Merida Initiative with Mexico, began under President Bush, with a plan to spend 1.3 billion on the war on drugs.

The heaering is called "“U.S.-Mexico Security Cooperation: Next Steps for the Merida Initiative.

You can watch the live feed here.

Testimony at Hearing will be provided by: [more...]

10:00 a.m. in 311 Cannon House Office Building

Subcommittee on Border, Maritime, and Global Counterterrorism and the Committee on Foreign Affairs’ Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere JOINT HEARING

“U.S.-Mexico Security Cooperation: Next Steps for the Merida Initiative”



Ms. Roberta S. Jacobson
Deputy Assistant Secretary
Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs
U.S. Department of State

Ms. Mariko Silver
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy/
Acting Assistant Secretary for International Affairs
U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Mr. Alonzo R. Peña
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Operations
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Mr. Allen Gina
Acting Assistant Commissioner
Office of Intelligence and Operations Coordination
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
U.S. Department of Homeland Security


Ms. Shannon K. O'Neil
Douglas Dillon Fellow for Latin America Studies
Council on Foreign Relations

Mr. Bill McDonald
Douglas, Arizona

The Honorable John D. Negroponte
Vice Chairman
McLarty Associates

The purpose, according to Fox News:The Obama administration is backing a new plan, one that does not rely as heavily on law enforcement toys like helicopters, and more on building up the infratructure in the cities and towns most affected by the violence, and teaching their Mexican allies how to move from reliance on helicopters to the rule of law, through training.

The hearings Thursday in two congressional subcommittees are to discuss the next steps in what is already dubbed "Beyond Merida."

Former Deputy Secretary of State John D. Negroponte said in his prepared comments that the U.S. should raise its investment because Merida has sparked something money can't buy: unprecedented cooperation.

Negroponte, a former U.S. ambassador to Mexico who has been working on drug control for 35 years, urged legislators to not be discouraged by the increased violence or drug availability.

"Problems with narcotrafficking remain with us today notwithstanding the enormous blood and treasure that has been expending up and down the length of the hemisphere to deal with these issues," he said. "So we just all agree that this is a long-term issue to which there are no quick fixes."

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  • Display: Sort:
    The administration wants to teach (5.00 / 0) (#2)
    by MO Blue on Thu May 27, 2010 at 09:38:43 AM EST
    other countries about the "rule of law?"

    Didn't your parents (5.00 / 0) (#3)
    by jbindc on Thu May 27, 2010 at 09:52:14 AM EST
    ever give you the "Do as I say, not as I do" speech?

    "No quick fixes"... (none / 0) (#1)
    by kdog on Thu May 27, 2010 at 07:57:28 AM EST
    well when tyranny is your play, yeah...there is no quick fix, or long-term fix...no fix at all, all that blood and treasure totally wasted.

    Freedom is the start to a fix...freedom and fostering opportunity.

    The simplest solution ... (none / 0) (#4)
    by nyrias on Thu May 27, 2010 at 10:56:45 AM EST
    is to legalize drugs with the government as the sole provider (or with heavy regulation like alcohol or tobacco) and compete the drug cartels out of business.

    That (none / 0) (#5)
    by jbindc on Thu May 27, 2010 at 11:13:48 AM EST
    won't put them out of business.  There are other places where drugs are illegal, and there will still be a black market for drugs here in the US (I know several smokers who get cheaper cigarettes in ways I don't want to know about).  They will also continue their business with other vices, including human trafficking, prostitution, and goodness knows what else.

    Black Market Cigs... (none / 0) (#6)
    by kdog on Thu May 27, 2010 at 11:27:20 AM EST
    are due to outrageous state/local added taxes...that's an easy fix, lower the taxes to the regular sales tax rates.  The black market cigs being sold are from legit vendors...it's not like people are growing/rolling/selling their own tax-free cigs.

    We can legalize & regulate prostitution as well to remove another revenue racket...and I think we'll find the people are less tolerant of human trafficking or kidnapping or armed robbery than they are of drug dealing & prostitution...leading to more cooperation with law enforcement.  I mean people like their drugs...kidnapping not so much.


    And (none / 0) (#7)
    by jbindc on Thu May 27, 2010 at 11:36:18 AM EST
    you think they are going to lower taxes?  No - especially as they were put there not only as revenue enhancers to the public coffers, but to purposely make cigarettes and cigars expensive to discourage people from smoking.

    And as I said before - the drug cartel members are not going to give up their lavish lifestyles to go take a low paying legitimate job, just because the US might make all that stuff legal.  They will find some other illegal outlet to maintain that lifestyle.


    Yes... (none / 0) (#10)
    by kdog on Thu May 27, 2010 at 11:52:58 AM EST
    but can't you see that those other illegal outlets are far less lucrative?  And will not be tolerated by the community like drug dealing/smuggling is?  

    I don't think any state is lowering tobacco taxes, that would require brains and a sense of decency...but that's the play if you wanna address black markets cigs...all the cops in the world ain't gonna accomplish sh*t except filling cages.  Something to keep in my mind too, if we ever decide to play it smart and legalize drugs...don't tax so heavily that the black market comes back to fill the void....find a happy medium where the state makes some cash, but not to where you're back to or exceeding black market prices.


    Again (none / 0) (#11)
    by jbindc on Thu May 27, 2010 at 12:09:33 PM EST
    I disagree that it would be "decent" to lower taxes on cigarettes, but beyond my opinion, there is a very good public policy for keeping the prices of them high - to discourage people from smoking (or smoking as much).  As much as you'd like to see that as the government impinging on their freedom to smoke, the other side of that coin is the cost borne by society (read: the government) when those same people (or people they live with who breathe in second hand smoke) generally tend to have higher health issues than non-smokers. Businesses suffer too (and non-smoking co-workers) as, on average, smokers tend to take more and longer breaks during the work day, and miss work more often than non-smokers, leaving non-smokers to pick up the slack.

    And it doesn't matter what I think about drug lords, but human nature and common sense has to tell you they will not go quiet into that good night just because drugs are made legal here.

    Legalizing drugs may solve some problems, part of the way, but there is no way it will solve all the problems people imagine it will.  It just isn't rational to think so.


    Of course... (none / 0) (#13)
    by kdog on Thu May 27, 2010 at 12:49:49 PM EST
    no such thing as a crime or violence free world...the question is do we want to reduce crime and violence or not?  If the answer is yes, than legalization is the best play.  

    As for the smokes, fair enough...I'll give the Poopsatucks my money...it's easier on the conscience anyway:)  But for the sake of convenience I'd give the man say 2 bucks a pack total...no way I'm giving 6 plus.  May as well be a slave.


    Prohibitive cigarette taxes subsidizing terrorism (none / 0) (#15)
    by aahpat on Fri May 28, 2010 at 03:09:28 PM EST
    After new York City mayor Mike Bloomberg kept a campaign peomise to give NYC the highest cigarette taxes in the nation the Wall Street Journal reported: "How lucrative this arbitrage game can become was shown by the recent conviction of a Charlotte, North Carolina, businessman who was running a cigarette smuggling ring and using the profits to help fund Hezbollah. " http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v02/n1432/a07.html?1094

    Prohibitions CREATE black markets. Black market foster crime and subsidize tax-free anarchy.


    at least it will compete the price down... (none / 0) (#8)
    by nyrias on Thu May 27, 2010 at 11:44:14 AM EST
    so they won the huge profit margins to fund violence.

    Plus, if this is conducted as a "war on drugs", the govt can charge at cost prices (that is already a huge savings from the cost of the "war" today) and no drug lord can afford to compete on that kind of prices.


    You are more optimistic than I, my friend (none / 0) (#9)
    by jbindc on Thu May 27, 2010 at 11:51:58 AM EST
    Considering who's on the panel, it's a joke (none / 0) (#12)
    by SeeEmDee on Thu May 27, 2010 at 12:30:10 PM EST

    Namely, people with a vested interest in the highly lucrative (for them) status quo...which is bleeding American taxpayers in more ways than one.

    What's needed are a bunch of Mex campesinos in sandals telling their stories of being victimized by the 'side effects' of attempting drug prohibition, not a bunch of stuffed three-piece suits who bought those suits from the money received by shilling for the DrugWar.

    Alternative corruption (none / 0) (#14)
    by aahpat on Fri May 28, 2010 at 02:55:09 PM EST
    Many people like to say that the criminals would simply go to another form of corruption should they lose the value of the drug black markets.

    1. organized criminals and terrorist armies would lose this $320-bn a year renewable income. For the Taliban this would represent as much as 70% of their operating income. For the Mexican cartels it represents tens of billions of dollars a year worth of incentive to circumvent America's best border security efforts.

    2. There is no other form of corruption as lucrative as the drug black markets.

    The United Nations World Drug Report for 2007 asserted: "..drug trafficking remains the single most profitable sector of transnational criminality."

    "Drug trafficking is of interest to transnational organized crime groups because drugs generate more profits than any other form of trafficking. Placing a value on illicit markets is difficult, but the estimates generated by specialist organizations show that the drugs trade is greater in value than most other criminal commodities by at least an order of magnitude. In the 2005 World Drug Report, UNODC valued the world narcotics trade at some US$320 billion, a figure in keeping with previous estimates from a variety of sources. Estimates for other major illicit flows are considerably less. For example, in 2005 the International Labour Organization estimated the value of global human trafficking to be US$32 billion.  Estimates of the value of the trade in conflict diamonds range from 1.5 - 2 per cent to 3 -15 per cent of the overall trade in rough diamonds. Small Arms Survey puts the value of the illicit firearms trade at no more than US$1billion. The relatively high value assigned to the drug trade is understandable because, unlike human beings, diamonds or firearms, the drug supply is consumed each year and in need of continuous renewal. As a result, drug trafficking remains the single most profitable sector of transnational criminality."

    Researching the terrorism issue since 911 I have come to the conclusion that support for the War on Drugs prohibition policy amounts to giving America's sworn enemies "aid & comfort".

    Compound this funding issue with the fact that there are published reports dating to 1998 asserting that alQaida has been intentionally flooding the west with heroin to addict western youth and so destabilize western culture in a campaign they call "silent jihad". Leadership of both parties in our government has known both about the criminal/terrorist subsidy issue and the silent jihad since 911 and still they support the policy that provides our enemies with this financial "aid" and tactical "comfort".