You know, I've got a lot of pictures I would like to put up, but this stuff is really important. Maybe it'll catch the eye of someone who can do something.
Plan Merida, created under GW Bush is, as I am sure most of you know, the US-Mexico agreement on fighting the so-called drug wars. The Plan calls for the US to provide hardware and technical training (supposedly). As has been noted, a lot of the money pledged has yet to be spent. Probably a good thing.
Did you wonder where all the hardware and technical training is going to come from? It's not money going to Mexicans, that's for sure.
And, according to an article in AlertNet it's not being provided by the US Military. It's coming from private contractors who are bragging about how suitable their Iraq experience is for this US-Mexico border work.
One firm bidding in July of 2009 was Texcalibur, a texas firm (no kidding) pecializing in armoring cars used in war zones. Other firms with similar experience in the Middle East and Colombia are bidding to overcome losses caused by the economic crisis in the US and, I dare say, the downturn in the Iraq war.
When private contractors are in charge, as Jan Schakowsky, US Congresswoman pointed out, it's hard to be sure they play by the rules, let alone hire Mexicans. You'd think that the US could at least take the opportunity to require that Mexicans be trained and employed by these companies for this work in Mexico!
The Americas Program has a terrific recent article on the Obama Administration's updating of the Merida Initiative (same thing) here. Needless to say the Initiative is more of the same EXCEPT the old Plan Merida had a three year time limit. This one is open-ended. And of course is directed to private US companies. There are links in the article to other excelent Americas Program coverage of the issue. [Note: I sometimes do translations for the CIP Americas Program].
The AlertNet article, which is a Reuters product, is full of the hideous hyperbole about Mexico that riddles the US and European press. Check it out.