Record High Mexican Violence As U.S. Dollars Flow South
Although the U.S. government has showered Mexico with more than $1 billion in the last few years to combat drug violence, serious crime associated with illicit narcotics operations hit record levels in scale and brutality in 2010.More than 13,000 people were murdered across Mexico in disturbing and cruel ways not commonly seen in previous years, according to a Dallas newspaper report the exposes a new level of brutality among the country’s thriving drug cartels. The problem is especially critical along the U.S.-Mexico border but also in regions that were once spared such bloodshed.In one northern Mexican city the mayor was murdered and his eyes gouged out, in a quaint town south of Mexico City four decapitated men were hanged from a bride along a busy highway and in the narcotics hotbed of Ciudad Juarez across from El Paso, university students were recently hunted like animals, shot dead and set on fire.The drug-related violence has been well documented in Ciudad Juarez, where the situation is so serious that bullets from shootouts among rival smugglers regularly spill into the U.S. In fact, just a few months ago a myriad of bullets fired into El Paso, striking City Hall and a public university building. El Paso’s sheriff says the gun battles are breaking out everywhere but his hands are tied because local law enforcement officials are legally forbidden from intervening in another country’s war.In the meantime, U.S. tax dollars keep flowing south to fund the drug war in the famously corrupt Latin American country. Since 2008 Uncle Sam has generously given Mexico $1.2 billion as part of a multi-year program (known as the Merida Initiative) that also helps Central American nations, the Dominican Republic andHaiti fight crime. A disproportionate chunk of the cash goes to Mexico, even as the violence escalates; $400 in 2008, $300 million in 2009 and $450 million in 2010.The money is supposed to provide equipment and training to support law enforcement operations and technical assistance for long-term reform and oversight of security agencies, according to the State Department’s description of the Merida Initiative. It’s also intended to demonstrate the United States’ commitment to partner with foreign governments to confront criminal organizations that plague the region and spill over into the U.S.