Mexico’s President to U.S.: We Don’t Want Your Armed Helicopters

On May 7, Mexico’s new populist president, Andrés Manual Lopéz Obrador, announced his country was withdrawing from the Merida Initiative, the regional U.S.-led drug enforcement pact, and will be turning down the aid package offered through the program. “It hasn’t worked,” he told reporters in Mexico City. “We don’t want cooperation in the use of force, we want cooperation for development.”

He’s proposed across-the-board drug decriminalization in both nations and wants to “reorient” the program away from drug enforcement and toward social programs. “We don’t want armed helicopters or resources for other types of military support,” Lopéz Obrador, who’s known as AMLO, declared.

ALMO: “We don’t want cooperation in the use of force, we want cooperation for development.”

Since 2007, the U.S. has supplied the Mexican military and police with training and equipment under the $1.6 billion Mérida Initiative, which also includes the Central American nations. Most of the big transfers of military equipment were made early in the program, and in recent years more of the funding has gone toward training police and prosecutors in an effort to reform Mexico’s notoriously corrupt justice system.

Economic development in Mexico’s Southeastern states and Central America could help stem the

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