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.