“Plan Mexico” Not The Answer

By David Simmonds

President Bush has requested that Congress pony up $500 million as the first installment of a $1.4 billion, two-year package to be sent to Mexico for the purpose of fighting drugs,apparently unaware that the U.S. domestic “war on drugs” strategy has been a rat-hole expensive failure for decades.

So far the Plan Mexico details of how the money will be spent are fuzzy, but helicopters and training for the Mexican army have been mentioned, which has a long, documented history of corruption and unaccountability.

Drug production has increased dramatically in Mexico since the signing of NAFTA in 1994, which largely eliminated subsidies to small family farmers, many of whom then turned to growing pot and poppies. Many others have migrated to the U.S. looking for work to support their families. The resulting social structure disintegration has been enormous throughout rural Mexico, leaving many villages with primarily women and kids, as the men have headed north.

The U.S. Congress will have many questions about the program when it is scheduled to be discussed on October 25, but there are also deep concerns within Mexico, with the fear that the U.S. will demand too much control over Mexico’s domestic drug-fighting efforts, essentially threatening Mexico’s sovereignty. A majority of Mexicans oppose the plan, according to most polls, where a long held distrust of their northern neighbor is widespread.

A better use of taxpayer’s money would be to implement education, rehabilitation and health programs in the U.S., with the goal of decreasing the demand for drugs. It does make one wonder what the actual goal is of an administration with a history of meddling in the affairs of other countries.

6 thoughts on ““Plan Mexico” Not The Answer”

  1. We all know that there is only one solution to the drug problem, and it is up to the United States to face the truth and legalize the use of certain drugs.

    As long as this does not happen, we will continue with band-aid policies. Unfortunately it is Mexico that faces the brunt of the violence created by the illegal drug trade. It is for this reason, that a band-aid policy like the so called “Plan Mexico” is needed.

  2. That’s a mighty expensive band-aid, Rodrigo. Even for a country dumping $3 billion per week chasing “evil-doers”.

    And drug-trade violence doesn’t often make headlines in the U.S. press, what with the important daily updates on Britney and OJ, but there is plenty of violence on the north side of the border, as well. As for legalizing certain drugs: exactly right.

  3. Dave:

    Mexico will have to spend the money anyway, as the Mexican Government cannot allow drug gangs to continue to gather power. So, the MExican Government will buy helicopters, planes and radar equipment no matter what the US Government does or does not do.

    So, the band aid from the US has in my mind two important benefits: (1) Share the responsiblity for the problem between two contries, and (2) Free resources in Mexico for more urgent programs like education and health.

  4. Dave, I forgot to mention in my previous posting that I agree with the people who criticize the limited scope of Plan Mexico. In particular, the US still fails to do something about the flow of arms from the US to Mexico. Given that the drug gangs in Mexico are armed with weapons coming from the US, we can imagine that drug gangs in the US are equally or better armed than drug gangs in Mexico. Something for Americans to think about when they talk about National Security.

    Also, the US still does little against money laundering. We all know that the only economy in the region big enough to launder all the drug money in the US. Thus, in spite of Hollywood movies showing evil Latin American bankers dealing with drug money, it is no big secret that the biggest money clensing operations have to take place north of the border, in respectable places like Wall Street.

  5. Good points all, Rodrigo. I’m just a little anal on money leaving the U.S. these days, more so now being here in San Diego watching the county erupt in flames and listening to politicians declare that it didn’t really matter that we didn’t have enough of the big tankers available from the start to knock down the fire since they can’t fly in the wind anyway. We can develop computer-generated weapons that will send a missile through a car window from miles away, but we can’t build a plane to drop fire-retardent that can fly when the wind blows. We know how to kill but not how to save houses and lives. It’s insane.

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