In a stunning move, the United States has recently announced that it is withholding $5 million dollars worth of Drug War aid to Mexico due to repeated human rights violations committed by the Mexican government.
Jose Miguel Vivanco, executive director of the America’s Division of Human Rights Watch described the decision as “unprecedented.” He said that the State Department “has been systematically reluctant to use the leverage provided by law. What they have tended to emphasize is keeping the bilateral relationship as the principal objective, and human rights normally takes a back seat.”
In reality, the $5 million is only a portion of the aid that the U.S. provides to Mexico to continue fighting the Drug War every year. Most of this aid centers around training and equipping Mexican security forces and “strengthening its criminal justice system.”
Under the terms of the Merida Initiative, 15 percent of the funds allocated for Mexican police and military support are supposed to be conditional and tied to improvements in Mexico’s human rights record.
Still, the decision to withhold $5 million is sending a clear message to Mexico.
The question, however, is just what this message might be. While Americans must come to grips with the fact that their closest foreign neighbor is a third-world failed state, it is questionable at best to assume that a State Department that has supported bombing, torturing, raping and beheading across the world in the name of “democracy” is truly concerned with the human rights and lives of Mexicans.
Some are now wondering whether or not there is another reason for America’s warning to Mexico.
After all, as John Vibes wrote:
Later this month, the supreme court of Mexico will review the country’s current prohibition of marijuana, as well as the possibility of legalizing the plant for medical and recreational use. Medical marijuana is currently legal in Mexico, but the black market drug trade in the country continues to cause widespread violence, drug cartel, and gang activity, just as it does in America.
Marijuana legalization has traditionally been a very popular concept in Mexico, where people understand the real-life consequences of the drug war and prohibition. However, the United Nations has forced many countries around the world, including Mexico, to comply with the drug prohibition policy the United States government has championed.
Now, with many U.S. states choosing to legalize the plant, Mexico is seeing a window of opportunity to change the laws at home, keep non-violent offenders out of jail, and minimize the violence created by the black market.
On October 28th, supreme court judges in Mexico will vote to decide whether the current prohibition on marijuana is unconstitutional. If they do choose to legalize the plant — which many believe they will — the country will follow a number of countries that are beginning to change their drug laws.
With this in mind, one must wonder whether or not the U.S. cut in aid is based more on a threat to reduce it further if Mexico moves ahead with any type of reasonable drug policy as opposed to any crocodile tears over human rights violations. Frankly, until the United States stops funding for Saudi Arabia and Israel, the human rights argument will be null and void.
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