Mexican law prohibits foreign armed forces to operate within the country without Congressional approval, but a new report claims that the United States has agents inside the country fighting in the “war on drugs,” and is planning to send even more as private contractors. The opposition says this is a violation of the country’s constitution.
The New York Times this weekend reported that CIA and DEA operatives have been posted at Mexican military bases to help collect information and plan operations against local drug cartels. The paper also said officials plan to embed American contractors as backup for Mexico’s own anti-drug agency.
Mexico’s National Security Adviser denied any foreign forces were taking armed action in the country. He refused to elaborate on the veracity of the Times report, citing “national security concerns.”
Ricardo Monreal, a representative of Mexico’s Labor Party in the Senate, condemned the “serious interference”, which he said was a “direct intrusion by a foreign government into our internal policies.”
The revelations come on the heels of an embarrassing report that thousands of military-style weapons ended up in the hands of Mexican drug gangs after the US government encouraged American gun shops to sell them to obvious cartel members. The gun-shop owners wanted to stop the sales but the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms encouraged them to continue so the arms could be traced and the cartels busted. But the guns are often only traced after they have killed many people and are found as evidence to a heinous crime.
More than 41,000 people have been killed in Mexico’s drug war since 2006, when President Felipe Calderón began the militarized offensive against the cartels, AFP reported. Most of these deaths come after the US’ $1.4 billion Mérida Initiative, which funds the Mexican government so it can stop the flow of drugs into the United States, the Americas’ primary illicit-drug consumer. The Mexican authorities cite the death toll as proof the initiative is working. Civil society groups aren’t so sure.
The Obama Administration, as usual, is silent on the matter.
(photo by Alexander Lapshin)