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US Cuts Off Some of Mexico’s Drug War Aid Due to Human Rights Abuses

Maureen Meehan

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Since 2008, the U.S. Congress has appropriated $2.3 billion dollars to help Mexico in its battle against the drug cartels.

Now—following years of abuses committed by Mexico’s security forces—the U.S. State Department has announced that Mexico has not made the grade in terms of human rights goals, which will result in a portion of that aid being cut off. The most notorious case being the disappearance of 43 students last year, which the Mexican government has consistently whitewashed and covered up.

“I think they basically decided we cannot honestly or in good faith say there’s been enough progress made in Mexico,” Maureen Meyer from the Washington Office on Latin America told the Washington Post.

The State Department’s 2014 annual report on human rights underscored numerous allegations that the “Mexican government or its agents committed arbitrary or unlawful killings, often with impunity.” The report also described the forced disappearance of thousands of people, torture, arbitrary arrest and imprisonment.

In the past, U.S. diplomats have been tolerant of Mexico’s miserable human rights record, presumably to keep them as partners in the War of Drugs.

In the Washington Post, the Mexican Foreign Ministry called the U.S.’s certification of human rights efforts “an obligation imposed by the U.S. Congress on the government… not an obligation Mexico has to meet.”

As drug-related violence has continued to rage in recent years, Mexican soldiers and police have consistently been accused of killing innocent civilians, torturing witnesses and using disproportionate force in their battle against the drug cartels. In some parts of Mexico, the military has taken over for local police who disbanded because they had been infiltrated by drug gangs.

Although these issues have raised concerns in Washington, the money keeps flowing into Mexico and other Latin countries to continue the obviously failed War on Drugs.

“Decades of punitive drug policies intended to suppress illegal drug supply and demand have achieved little, even as they have generated enormous damage and human and financial costs throughout the Americas,” the Washington Office on Latin America wrote in preparation for its upcoming conference on the “Impact of Drug Policy on Human Right in the Americas.”

Maureen Meehan is a New York-based writer, who has worked as a foreign correspondent for many years.

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