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Merida Initiative: More US backed militarization in Mexico, Central America and DR-Haiti

posted by dawn Geography: Latin America USA Topics: Merida Initiative

June 30, 2008

Merida Initiative: More US backed militarization in Mexico, Central America and DR-Haiti

The War Funding Bill was signed into law by President Bush today, allocating another $162 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan without a timeline for troop withdrawl.

Buried away in the Bill is $465 million for the first year of the 'Merida Initiative.'

The Merida Initiative, formerly known as 'Plan Mexico,' is a military plan whose aim, according to the Bush Administration, is to "combat the threats of drug trafficking, transnational crime, and terrorism in the Western Hemisphere."

The Merida Initiative will further militarize Mexico and Central America, and will likely mark an increase in the criminalization of migrants heading towards the US.

The total budget for the Merida Initiative is 1.6 billion dollars. During the first year, $400 million is destined for Mexico, and $65 million will be divided between Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Belize, Panamá, the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

The budget is destined for: helicopters and surveillance aircraft, increased US participation in policing, communications surveillance technologies, and "non-intrusive" inspection equipment, ion scanners and canine units for Mexican customs, the new federal police and military to "interdict trafficked drugs, arms, cash and persons."

The War Funding Bill, which was rejected by Democrats in May, was passed by 311-106 last week by the Democrat led House of Representatives.

In Colombia, coca production increased in 2005, this during the US government's Plan Colombia, whose aim is ostensibly to reduce coca production.

UPDATE: In related news, Plan Puebla Panama has been re-named, it is now called 'Proyecto Mesoamérica,' aka the 'Mesoamerican Integration and Development Project.'

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Merida Initiative

As an American, I note the irony. In the 1920s, during our noble experiment to stamp out alcohol, the best liquor came from Canada. Perhaps if my grandparents' generation had embarked on a Montreal Initiative, we Americans would now be alcohol-free.