Bush is asking $1.4 billion, for aid in war on drugs

By beentheredonethatagain · Oct 31, 2007 · Updated Nov 1, 2007 · ·
  1. beentheredonethatagain
    By Héctor Tobar, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
    October 23, 2007
    MEXICO CITY -- The White House announced Monday a $1.4-billion military and security package to assist Mexico and several Central American countries in their fight against drug-trafficking groups threatening the region's democracies.

    President Bush requested an initial $550-million appropriation from Congress, with the rest of the funds to be distributed over one or two years. The aid is to go for helicopters, police training and communications and data-processing equipment.

    The package "delivers vital assistance for our partners in Mexico and Central America, who are working to break up drug cartels and fight organized crime," Bush said. "All of these are urgent priorities of the United States, and the Congress should fund them without delay."

    In Mexico, Guatemala and other countries in the region, drug traffickers have infiltrated police agencies, killed scores of public officials and journalists, and gunned down or decapitated rivals. The terror they sow has silenced the media in several Mexican cities and towns along the border with the U.S.

    The initial request includes $500 million for Mexico and an additional $50 million for six Central American countries. The aid would mark a tenfold increase in the annual drug assistance now provided to Mexico.

    The plan came after months of negotiations between U.S. and Mexican officials. Mexican diplomats had said that Bush and Mexican President Felipe Calderon would announce the plan at a joint appearance. But in the end, Bush made the official announcement at a Washington news conference.

    Mexican officials appeared caught off guard by the Washington news. Just an hour before the Bush news conference, Mexico's Foreign Ministry said it would have no announcement Monday on the proposed aid package.

    "The Mexican state must confront organized crime groups that have enormous resources and highly sophisticated weapons," Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa said at a news conference. "Given the dimensions of the problem, cooperation with the government of the United States is indispensable."

    Democrats on Capitol Hill complained that the Bush administration drafted the proposal without consulting Congress.

    "With 'Plan Mexico,' the devil will be in the details, and to this point, details are scarce," Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) said in a statement. "Dropping a $1.4-billion plan on our doorstep without much forewarning makes it harder to build a consensus and develop sound policy."

    More than 3,000 people have been killed in Mexico's drug wars since January 2006. And drug traffickers are said to be trying to influence next month's presidential election in Guatemala: They are believed to have killed several dozen party officials and candidates in the last year.

    Officials called the plan "the Merida Initiative," after the Mexican city where Bush and Calderon met in March to discuss security and other issues. But the Mexican media long ago dubbed the aid package "Plan Mexico," a reference to Plan Colombia, the 2000 initiative under which U.S. taxpayers have spent billions to assist Colombia in battling its drug cartels.

    Indeed, the proposal calls for the largest aid package to Latin America since Plan Colombia. But Mexican officials stress that, unlike that plan, this one will involve no U.S. military personnel on the recipient's soil.

    "This is not a Plan Colombia," Espinosa said in a recent interview with The Times. "There has been agreement with the Americans in a framework of cooperation with Mexico that does not include military troops."

    Plan Colombia has strengthened that country's judicial and police institutions, but has done little to stop the flow of cocaine north. Mexico and Central America are way stations in the shipment of cocaine to the United States: U.S. officials estimate drug traffickers transfer $8 billion to $24 billion in profits from the U.S. to Mexico annually.

    Bush announced the new plan as part of his supplemental funding request for military spending in Iraq and Afghanistan for the 2008 fiscal year. Details will be included in the appropriations requests likely to be submitted this week.

    Administration officials said the centerpiece of the aid package would be training Mexico's police forces. Mexican diplomats said negotiations dragged on for months because representatives from a dozen police, military and drug enforcement agencies on both sides of the border were involved in drafting the details.

    Jorge Chabat, a Mexico City security analyst, said the aid would mark a dramatic change in the quantity of counter- narcotics aid to Mexico.

    "Obviously, it doesn't solve the drug problem, but with this help the Mexican government will probably be more effective in fighting the traffickers," he said. "But if Mexico doesn't do much more than accept the money, the help won't be effective. Basically, the big problem here is corruption."

    Chabat said the U.S. had long resisted major aid to Mexico because of fears the money would be channeled to police and officials with ties to the drug trade.

    "If the U.S. government is willing to give this much money, it suggests they have confidence that Calderon's government will eventually be successful in controlling corruption," he said.

    Calderon has made the drug war a signature element of his presidency, sending army troops into several Mexican states and extraditing top cartel operatives to face trial in the U.S

    Human rights groups expressed skepticism about the initiative's ability to address issues at the core of the drug trade: high demand for illicit drugs in the U.S., and poverty in Mexico and other countries.

    "We need to be clear that while this package may have a positive short-term impact on drug trafficking and violence in Mexico, there should be no expectations that it will stem the flow of drugs into the United States," said Maureen Meyer of the Washington Office on Latin America.

    Cecilia Sánchez and María Antonieta Uribe of The Times' Mexico City Bureau contributed to this report.http://www.latimes.com/news/nationw...ugs23oct23,0,436091.story?coll=la-home-center

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  1. Woodman
    Oh Sure!
    That makes a lot of sense.

    The "War on Drugs" has been so fucking successful over the last 35 years that it justifies throwing a few billion more at it.

    I need to start smoking pot again to understand the logic behind this kind of ridiculous decision.

    Hey, while you're at it, why not throw a few trillion dollars at that Persian-Gulf abortion operation in Iraq?

    I figure one stupid move deserves another; besids, the war in Iraq is just as successful as the war on drugs, isn't it?

    Gotta keep those home-fires burning, support the troops and continue to piss good money after bad.

    ...that's the American Way!
  2. Heretic.Ape.
    I'd like more elaboration on
    a) how these countries' democracies are being threatened and
    b) how many places in the given explanation you could replace the word "democracy" with "US investors' interests"...
  3. Woodman
    HAAA,HA, HA!!!


    The only thing being "threatened" are local drug producing communities in Central & South America.

    I doubt that any CIA imports of cocaine will be affected, though; not a plane lost since 1986 when Eugene Hasenfus was shot down and busted for transporting a planeload of cocaine to the USA.
  4. Panthers007
    I smell Henry Kissinger around here somewhere. 1,4 billion dollars? What's that now? About three days in Iraq? Hmmm....Gotta pay Blackwater somehow. Guess we need to consolidate our drug-running out of Central America again (get a map - Central America is NOT in Kansas). I smell another Chile 1973 brewing.
  5. beentheredonethatagain
    All I know is that somebodys pockets are lined real well, who ever the hell is on the recieving end of that bundle of cash. How many gallons of gas was taxed to pay for it? or is that our kids problem?

    OO7 could sure buy alot of Kurt Vonnegut novels with a piece of that.
  6. beentheredonethatagain
    Re: Bush is asking $1.4 billion, for aid in war on drugs, here is an update

    MEXICO CITY — Nearly half of a new $500 million U.S. aid package for Mexico would be used to purchase surveillance planes and helicopters so that Mexican police can track drug traffickers who are often better armed and operating faster vehicles than they are.
    The new aircraft would help the Mexican government build on its recent success in cracking down on drug cartels, Thomas Shannon, the State Department's top diplomat for Latin America, said Thursday in a telephone interview.

    The $500 million, which has not yet been approved by Congress, is the first phase of a $1.4 billion anti-drug package that would be distributed in the next three years. The surveillance aircraft would help Mexican agents chase down the planes and speedboats that carry cocaine from South America to remote areas of Mexico, where it is then taken to the U.S. border.

    The U.S. government has credited Mexican President Felipe Calderón's aggressive anti-drug tactics with a reduction in cocaine supply in several U.S. cities. However, the crash last month of a U.S.-registered business jet carrying 3.2 tons of cocaine in Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula shows drug planes are still slipping into Mexico.

    About $208 million of the first wave of money would go toward eight Bell 412 transport helicopters and two CASA CN-235 surveillance planes, Shannon said. He said the aircraft would be new, avoiding a repeat of the 1990s, when the United States donated more than 70 Vietnam-era Huey helicopters to Mexico. The helicopters were so expensive to maintain that Mexico eventually returned most of them.

  7. purplehaze
    I bet he would have thought it would have sucked if this happened from a douche president while he was snortin cocaine in a cult.
  8. truth
    sweet at least the usa will be getting more drugs now =D
  9. Panthers007
    You want to jump out of your shoes and yell "Yes!" at the top of your lungs? I thought so...

    Go find a release date for the following documentary: American Drug War

    This is one of the best expositions on the so-called "War On Drugs" to appear. Ever. It first was run on Showtime cable network here in the Untied Snakes. Try to grab it before the goons burn it.

    And no. I don't own stock in the production company.
  10. MrG
    Swim (as a long time Bill Hicks fan) is a subscriber to Sacred Cow newsletters and got this the other day:

    Last night on Bill Maher "Real Time" (HBO)
    actor Esai Morales mentioned ADW.

    Bill referred to it as "Conspiracy Theory"

    Real Time Bill Maher Message board

    I wonder how many people remember Bill Maher's famous routine that got him fired from ABC -

    "Who is the real coward ? when the United States is launching missiles from floating Iron Islands 200 miles away"

    as first being performed by non other then Bill Hicks back in 1992

    But maybe thats just[SIZE=-2] "Conspiracy Theory[/SIZE]"

    And this followed it today:
    [SIZE=+1]Bill O'Reilly names Esai Morales "Pin-Head of the day" for mentioning "American Drug War"[/SIZE] on Bill Maher last Friday Night

    WTF is up wth Bill O'Reilly?

    Maybe he's worried about people realising he's been plagiarising Hicks' material if they start to get interested in Sacred Cow's productions.
  11. Panthers007
    "Sacred cows make the best hamburger!"

    - Abbie Hoffman
  12. Expat98
    Here's an update on this. Gotta help the defense companies sell their helicopters, surveillance planes, and communication equipment, you know? (Did you know that 70% of the money allotted for Plan Colombia never leaves the United States?)


    Gates urges Congress to avoid "slap" at Mexico

    Tue Apr 29, 2008 11:28pm EDT

    By David Morgan

    MEXICO CITY, April 29 (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Tuesday urged Congress to approve a $500 million anti-drug program for Mexico, saying not to do so would be "a slap" against a crucial neighbor beset by drug violence.

    Gates, only the second U.S. defense chief ever to visit Mexico, told reporters that U.S. congressional inaction on the program known as the Merida initiative would undermine Washington's ability to aid Mexico's counternarcotics fight.

    President George W. Bush proposed the three-year, $1.4 billion initiative last October and put an initial $500 million segment for Mexico in the administration's fiscal 2008 supplemental request for Iraq and Afghanistan war funding.

    Gates said he hoped Congress would vote to approve the program by the end of May.

    "Failure to do so would be a real slap at Mexico and would be very disappointing and it clearly would make it more difficult for us to help Mexican armed forces and their civilian agencies deal with this difficult problem," the defense chief told reporters.

    The initial segment, which also includes $50 million for Central America, would provide the Mexican army and navy with equipment such as helicopters, surveillance planes and inspection equipment to help interdict drug shipments headed for the United States.

    Later segments would provide assistance to help build up Mexican law enforcement and judiciary agencies that U.S. critics say are often overwhelmed by corruption.

    The measure has come under scrutiny by Democrats in Congress, including some who would prefer to see less emphasis on aid to the Mexican military, U.S. Senate aides said.

    One knowledgeable source said U.S. lawmakers have discussed the possibility of scaling back the overall program by as much as $400 million.


    Bush administration officials view the program as a possible lever for deepening U.S.-Mexican military relations at a time when Washington needs Mexico's help in shoring up border security against potential threats from Islamist militants.

    "There is a greater picture. It has to do with counternarcotics but it also has to do with protecting national air space and maritime boundaries," said one senior defense official.

    Mexican President Felipe Calderon has won praise from Washington for deploying about 25,000 troops and federal police to fight half a dozen drug-smuggling cartels since he took office in December 2006. There have been more than 900 drug killings in Mexico this year.

    The U.S. State Department's annual International Narcotics Control Strategy Report identified Mexico as a major source of heroin, methamphetamines and marijuana and the transit country for 90 percent of the cocaine that reaches the United States.

    The Pentagon sees crime, drugs and street gangs as the top security problems facing Latin America and wants the region's soldiers, not its police, to tackle them.

    But U.S. officials and analysts say the Calderon government has already spent billions of dollars on its own to combat drug traffickers and that its successes have led to a reduction in cocaine and methamphetamines in the United States.

    Armand Peschard-Sverdrup of the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies agreed with Gates' position that U.S. congressional failure could insult Mexico.

    "You'll have the president of Mexico looking like he had to walk away empty handed, and that could conceivably be seen as yet another snub," he said.
  13. fnord
    This is a strange change from someplace that recenetly was all for decriminlizing drugs.

    Why cant the U$A stay inside there own borders?
  14. Expat98
    Here is an article about Mexican opposition to this plan. But see the last paragraph: "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."

  15. beentheredonethatagain
    today no one is talking war on drugs as far as Hill or bama, or j mcCain
  16. Panthers007

    - great t-shirts.
  17. Nature Boy
    That's because the War on Drugs isn't even questioned any more. There were only a few candidates that brought it up earlier in the race: Ron Paul (R), Dennis Kucinich (D) and a handful of others who were quickly eliminated. It's a MASSIVE issue but somehow they've managed to totally squeeze it out of the picture. The media can take a large chunk of the blame for that one. It's not in the top ten issues, is it even in the top twenty?! :(
  18. Panthers007
    It's a "Third-Rail" issue in politics - if you touch it, you're dead.
  19. cosmicruler
    what the war on terror aint going too well so start a new war.........!!???
    whats gunna happen this time??the cia gunna stockpile all the drugs they confiscate so they can dictate world drug prices to help fund more wars...??
    or are they gunna stockpile them to get all the troops heading home from iraq hooked on smack...kinda like vietnam...

    nice 1 george w bush...your a fucking terrorist and a wanker!!!!
  20. Expat98
    Here's an update. Notice how Bush has attached this proposal onto the request for emergency war spending in Iraq and Afghanistan. So if you don't support this package for Mexico then you're supporting terrorism and failing to support our troops. [​IMG]

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