The Obama administration is considering a substantial spending increase on the Mexican drug war, the latest sign of its growing concern about the rampant violence incited by narcotics cartels in Mexico.New York Times, September 3, 2010:
Administration officials said internal debate on the issue continues, and they are not yet at a point where they can estimate how much of an increase may be requested. But they said the matter is considered urgent even at a time when the White House is struggling with costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The joint anti-drug effort with the Mexican government "remains a top administration priority," said a White House official who declined to be identified because he was not authorized to speak publicly on the issue. "We are constantly evaluating our efforts to make sure we are doing all we can on this issue."
The United States will withhold about $26 million promised for Mexico’s drug war because of concerns that the country has not done enough to protect its people from police and military abuse.So, the Obama Administration takes credit for both upping spending and being fiscally responsible; getting tough and being prudent. Good trick, that.
It is the first time that the United States, citing human rights concerns, has held back a portion of the financing for Mexico under the Merida Initiative, a three-year-old, $1.4 billion effort to help Mexico and Central American nations fight drug trafficking organizations.
Under the program, 15 percent of the money for Mexico is allotted on the condition that the country improve the accountability of the federal and local police; ensure civilian investigations and, if warranted, prosecutions of allegations of abuse by the police and the military; and ban testimony obtained through torture or other mistreatment.
The State Department, in a report delivered to Congress on Friday, said it would release $36 million from earlier budgets. But it said it would withhold 15 percent of the $175 million allocated in the most recent budget.