Common Sense letter to NY Times on the ‘Drug War’ in Mexico

To the Editor:
Re “Mexico’s New Blood Politics” (Sunday Review, Jan. 17):
Ioan Grillo’s conclusion that the United States (and American taxpayers) “should use its drug-war aid to push harder” for anti-corruption and judicial reforms is off base.
As a political analyst living and working in Mexico for the last three decades, I have watched with horror how the United States-Mexico drug war strategy has led to the explosion of violence and criminal activity here. The deep-rooted complicity between government officials and security forces on the one hand and cartels on the other means that the training, equipment and firepower given in aid and sold to the Mexican government fuel violence on both sides.
The lines blur. The cartels are not fighting the state for political power; they are seeking to protect a $40 billion drug-trafficking business that has been converted into a war for control of territory, a war against the people.
Victim organizations that have organized throughout the country demand that the United States stop funding the drug war under any guise. They are the ones who have lost the most, and have the most at stake. We should finally listen to them.
Director, Americas Program
Center for International Policy
Mexico City


El Chapo, Episode III: The Farce Awakens By Francisco Goldman

published in the New Yorker

by Francisco Goldman

January 14, 2016

Quote: The weakening of the Sinaloa cartel would only become a reality, he said, if El Chapo’s capture was followed by the arrests of corrupt politicians and functionaries at all levels who permitted and aided the Sinaloa cartel’s operation and expansion, and so on. As long as the chains of complicity between politicians and cartel capos remain intact, he said, “then the war against the narco-traffickers can be considered lost. Continue Reading »


Solidarity with the Mexican People in the Year Ahead

Happy solstice, Merry Xmas, and a Happy Gregorian New Year,

Peace and justice to all.

Friends of Brad Will continues to support demands of the parents of the Ayotzinapa students, who participated this week in a hunger strike at the Mexican Consulate in New York City. Antonio Tizapa, the father of Jorge Antonio Tizapa Legideño, who was taken by the Mexican police in view of the Mexican military along with the other students on the night of September 26, 2014, ended his 48-hour hunger strike today to draw attention to his son’s disappearance by the Mexican State.

The Mexican government and the U.S. government have worked together to minimize the scandal which adds to the many outrages by the Mexican security forces and corrupt civil administration against the Mexican people. The disappearances have created increased demands from around the world that President Obama’s failed ‘drug war’ program, Plan Mexico (aka the Merida Initiative), be ended.

Here’s an interview which Robert from Friends of Brad Will gave on Christmas night at the Mexican Consulate hunger strike.



Tlatlaya Massacre and U.S. Military Aid

By Laura Carlsen
12 / November / 2015

Excerpt: “Evidence that the armed forces approve of the practice of extrajudicial executions from the highest levels should be a watershed in the drug war. It should shock society into demanding a return to constitutional rule and respect for human rights.
Moreover, Tlatlaya is not an isolated incident. There are serious questions about the role of the army in Iguala. Its presence at the scene of the crimes. . .”

For the rest of this intense bulletin, click here.


Murdered 9 years ago yesterday

One person in jail. Not clear he was culpable but there were others identified and pictured shooting into the crowd. Also, there was the cover-up and scapegoating by the civil administration at the Mexican State and Federal level.

Our government is bent on sending lethal aid under the guise of law enforcement reforms and administration of justice. They should be pressured to account for the lack of pressure to resolve the murder of a U.S. journalist as well as at least 17 Oaxaqen@s murdered in 2006.

Let’s work this year to insist our government – which is arming the Mexican government which is (in league with) the narcos – publicly demand accountability for these murders before 10 years elapse.

If they can kill Brad and cover up his murder, what are they doing to those without networks of friends in the U.S. that provides political cover for this thuggery? We know. And we can help stop it.

paz amor

Brad Will Presente


¡Fue el Estado!

Q&A: A look at Mexico’s armed conflict through a lens of Drug War Capitalism

In this concise and powerful interview, DAWN PALEY, author of must-read “Drug War Capitalism,” explains how drug cartels in Mexico are actually paramilitaries, working with security forces and reinforcing state power.


Who Killed Rubén Espinosa and Nadia Vera?


How Obama’s expansion of Bush’s “war on drugs” under Plan Mexico and CARCI is predictably increasing corruption at the highest levels of Mexican (and Latin American) civil administration/government, police and military.

Quote from piece: Espinosa and Vera, like many people throughout Mexico these days, would have feared turning to the police for protection because of the possibility that law enforcement would be complicit with organized crime. As the renowned Mexican writer and journalist Juan Villoro told the Spanish newspaper El Mundo, on August 12th, “In Mexico, the police and the army cause as much fear as organized crime . . . the majority of journalists killed in Mexico have been murdered by people tied to government.”


Father of Missing Mexican Student Calls on Obama to Stop Drug War Aid

Exclusive from Democracy Now here.

Excerpt: “As parents who have traveled from Mexico cross the United States in three protest caravans, we speak with two relatives of the missing students who live here in New York City: Antonio Tizapa is the father of Jorge Antonio Tizapa Legideño; and Amado Tlatempa is the cousin of Jesús Jovany Rodríguez Tlatempa. Tizapa, who believes his son is still alive, calls on the Obama administration to stop the Mérida Initiative, the multibillion-dollar U.S. aid program used to fund the war on drugs in Mexico.”


Thanks to El Comité de La Resistencia

For spirited demonstrations against the disappearance of our fallen comrades!

We will never forget and we will keep on fighting for justice in your memory.




February 26th will mark five months of the Ayotzinapa students’ massacre. The organized crime embedded in the Mexican government keeps providing false and contradictory versions of these facts that we cannot and should not forgive. They wanted to bury the truth and turn it into ashes along with the bodies, but sowed seeds of indignation and solidarity worldwide instead.
Join us in our non-violent protest outside the Mexican Consulate this Thursday starting at 5 pm. Help us tell the survivors and relatives of victims that are not alone and we will not rest until justice is done for them and for our crying country.
Come join us to remember them and to show your solidarity. We hope seeing you there! Bring your rage and your creativity to tell the Mexican Consulate employees they work for a criminal government. Tell all your friends and family. Here is the Facebook Event page:


ALSO, we the group Somos los Otros NY will be gathering for a Cultural Event for Ayotzinapa this Sunday back to Union Square at 3p.m. There will be dance, poetry and indignation. Come join us!


Este 26 de febrero se cumplen cinco meses de la masacre de los estudiantes de Ayotzinapa. El narcogobierno continúa dando versiones falsas y contradictorias de estos hechos que no podemos ni debemos perdonar. Quisieron enterrar la verdad y calcinarla junto con los cadáveres, pero sembraron semillas de indignación y solidaridad por todo el mundo.
Súmate a nuestra protesta pacífica frente al consulado de México este jueves a partir de las 5 de la tarde. Ayúdanos a decirles a los sobrevivientes y a los familiares de las víctimas que no están solos y que no descansaremos hasta que se haga justicia para ellos y para nuestro sufrido país.
Ven a recordarlos y a solidarizarte. ¡Te esperamos! Invita a todos tus familiares y amigos.


Obama’s Latin American Legacy


Nearly a decade ago, a keen observer of Honduras produced a damning analysis of the country. “In a very real sense, Honduras is a captured state,” he began. “Elite manipulation of the public sector, particularly the weak legal system, has turned it into a tool to protect the powerful,” and “voters choose mainly between the two major entrenched political parties, both beholden to the interests of individuals from the same economic elite.” The situation required a “strategy that will give people the means to influence public policy,” the report concluded.

Read more about President Obama militarizing Latin American authoritarian and narco-tied governments at the expense of democracy and human rights here.


Johann Hari: Everything We Know About the Drug War & Addiction is Wrong

And I would say to anyone watching this, you know, it’s so easy to feel daunted by the big political challenges we’ve got. It’s so easy, especially with something as huge as the drug war. You are so much more powerful than you know. Bud (Osborne) was a homeless street addict, and he started a movement that has transformed Vancouver, transformed Canada, and saved thousands of people’s lives. If he can do it, we can do it. This war has been going for a hundred years. We can end it now if we choose to.


Tuesday Jan 6, 2015 Rally in D.C.

Sorry for last minute notice. Here is the message below.

We are everywhere!


There is still time for you to invite friends in Washington today Saturday for Tuesday rally!

Also, our 20+ people delegation from New York supporting Ayotzinapa will be traveling and rallying all day long. We don’t have any resources except our salaries to support this trip and food is expensive for Mexican workers in that area surrounding the White House. Bringing some food and water for some will be highly appreciated!

CORRECTION: 6th at 10 am is Tuesday (not Monday). Lafayette Square in front of the White House (1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20500) Look for us with Somos los Otros NY signs and Zapatista buttons.



Do you have a friend in Washington? Invite her/him to join us to what we need to be a huge rally against Mexican President with YOUR help.

Mexican President Peña Nieto does not represent the people of Mexico – we will be there to tell him that. Continue Reading »


End Broken Windows from New York City to Mexico and Beyond

Excellent piece in Al Jazeera about the US exporting a failed and brutal policing method abroad, which you need to know in order to oppose these policies and their liberal boosters (in NYC and DC) effectively.



Demonstrations continue against US lethal aid to Mexico

Wednesday, December 10th – International Human Rights Day – demonstrations will be held (again) nationwide challenging the lawlessness of the USG in not holding Bush and Co. accountable for torture, thereby signaling that it may continue with impunity. In NYC members of our network will do our part to challenge the USG militarization of Latin America under the ‘drug war’ and the devastation it has caused. Plan Mexico and other militarization/lethal aid schemes targeting Latin America have come under fire.

So we can expect more distortions of Plan Mexico’s value by inside the beltway pundits. Continue Reading »


43 Cities Protest, Demanding U.S. Stop Funding Mexican Drug War

Good piece here too.

And this one too below.
These are the people who fund Plan Mexico and they’ve ignored us. Call them and tell them what you think. Stop Obama and the Democratic Party’s 7 year policy of support for Plan Mexico (and other USG militarization) projects targeting Mexico and Latin America.

Senator Gillibrand: Tel. (202) 224-4451
Senator Durbin: Tel. (202) 224-2152
Senator Leahy: Tel. (202) 224-4242

Make these calls to end the carnage!

Rallies, vigils in NYC and across U.S. for missing Mexican students ask for end of drug war

By Andrew O’Reilly
Published December 03, 2014
Fox News Latino

New York – A group of over a hundred academics, activists and students gathered Wednesday afternoon in New York City to protest the U.S. government’s funding of the Mexican military in the midst of the unrest engulfing that country following the disappearance 43 students from a rural teachers’ college.

Congregating in a cold rain outside the Jacob K. Javits Federal Building in Lower Manhattan, demonstrators from as far away as Santa Fe, New Mexico – some holding signs with messages like, “Mexico is family,” in Spanish and the hashtag #USTired2 – are part of a group of more than 43 protests and vigils taking place across the U.S. on Wednesday to demand the end of U.S. government anti-drug funding to Mexico.

“The Mexican government has received more than $2 billion,” said Maria Heyaca, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, told Fox News Latino. “What we’re seeing with the disappearance of these 43 students is that it’s not an isolated case. We’re talking about more than 30,000 people who are disappeared in Mexico, more than 100,000 people have been murdered.”
Continue Reading »


New #USTired2 Mobilization for Peace in Mexico Scheduled for 43 US Cities on December 3


Read Ayotzinapa Resistance: “This is just getting started” for excellent insight into the role of the Mexican state and the U.S. Government in fomenting the violence in Mexico.


End the Killing of Students Now: Peace, Justice, and Democracy for Mexico

Important petition. Please sign and share.

Go here to sign.


“The depth of the Mexican crisis, the state and drug cartel violence, and the perception that the electoral route is closed because of widespread fraud, manipulation and corruption, means that Mexican popular movements have to work in the middle of a boiling cauldron of repression and violence. The United States is deeply involved in this cauldron through military agreements with the Mexican armed forces in carrying out this repression in Mexico under the cover of the drug war. And Canadian mining companies are also deeply involved as they seize and despoil the waters and lands of Mexican peasants and carry out brutal repression through private armies aided by various levels of the Mexican government against many Mexican communities. The giant oil corporations welcomed in by the privatization of Mexican oil will be protected from popular protests by the Mexican armed forces with the ongoing massive military assistance from the United States. U.S. and Canadian companies and their governments are involved in direct and indirect ways alongside the Mexican state in the repression of the Mexican people and the despoliation of their society.”


8 years since Brad’s murder. 7 years since Plan Mexico and its predictable carnage. . .

Join us in New York or wherever you are.

In New York, at 5 pm until we leave, on Monday, October 27th, we will gather in front of US Senator Gillibrand’s and Senator Schumer’s offices, at 780 Third Avenue (between 48th and 49th street) to urge they show leadership in meeting Friends of Brad Will’s demands.

We will draw attention to the impunity Brad’s murderers and those who covered up his murder enjoy. We will also urge the Senators’s effective attention to

* Tlatlaya, where 22 youth were killed and the government has admitted that most were executed by the 102nd army battalion, whose members were trained in the US;

* the 43 disappeared students of Ayotzinapa and Iguala in Guerrero state (where people “do not trust any of the professional police“; did the USG train them too? the US State Dpt isn’t saying);

* the targeting of Dr. Mireles and the repression of grassroots self-defense organizations faced with corrupt (US-backed Mexican federal government and local state governments) in the states of Michoacan and Guerrero, and

* the many thousands of victims of the ‘war on drugs’ in which the Mexican state and the US Government and its friends in money-laundering banking circles collude.

Join us and spread the word. Urge your organizations to support our calls. And urge elected officials to recognize these demands. (for more, go to “Take Action” on this website)


“Kill the Messenger” Resurrects Gary Webb, Journalist Maligned for Exposing CIA Ties to Crack Trade

An important piece on the US government colluding with narco-trafficking, a story still relevant today.


San Fernando Migrant Massacre: How US, Mexican and Latin American Governments Share Responsibility

Read this devastating piece on the San Fernando massacre of demonstrating students.

The article describes a pattern of ‘predictable and thus preventable’ results of Mexican government actions and omissions that was “responsible for systematic, egregious and recurrent human rights violations”. We warned Amnesty International and the Washington Office on Latin America as well as Human Rights Watch about the ‘drug war’ military aid package known at Plan Mexico (which the article refers to by its official name, “the Merida Initiative” in 2006 and 2007 precisely for these predictable results. These organizations nevertheless refused to oppose and even praised the package despite our warnings. Only Human Rights Watch has since taken an official position against the ‘drug war’ although we have not seen forceful and effective advocacy by them to oppose the Obama expansion of it.


Global Drug Report: Don’t Just Decriminalize, Demilitarize

155,000 dead not counting tens of thousands disappeared. Narco-trafficking organizations as powerful as ever with profits relatively untouched.
Why would Hillary Clinton and Patrick Leahy call this a successful policy?
Other good piece here:
The Mexican drug war is the most deadly conflict in Latin America other than Guatemala’s 30 year civil war: http://t.co/zp68K43izV
— The Takeaway (@TheTakeaway) June 19, 2014
Global Drug Report: Don’t Just Decriminalize, Demilitarize
Paramilitaries and narcotics

“The drug war is a pretext for the militarization of resource rich areas in Mexico and Central America, as happened with Plan Colombia in Colombia,” said Dawn Paley, author of the forthcoming book “Drug War Capitalism.”

A report released earlier this month by former heads of state and other global political figures made headlines across the world for calling the drug war a failure and for its endorsement of the decriminalization of drugs, including heroin and cocaine.

However, one of the report’s major criticisms, its critique of the militarization of the drug war, was largely neglected by the media.
Rest of article here.


As Pot Decriminalization Advances in U.S., Former World Leaders Call for End to Failed War on Drugs

Important new developments in the “War on Drugs”!

The tide has turned.


Blowback on the Border

Published on Countpunch Weekend Edition July 25-27 (go to Counterpunch site for the version with important hotlinks).

* Laura Carlsen is the Director of the Americas Program.

After three years of relative silence, the U.S. press has finally “discovered” the crisis of tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors piling up on the U.S. border. Although the coverage often began with moving stories of the hardships these young migrants faced, it soon turned ugly. For right-wing pundits and politicians, the “humanitarian crisis” has become a crackdown on kids.

The dominant narrative has been that foolish parents, perhaps duped by scheming criminal bands, are sending hapless children north to take advantage of loopholes in U.S. immigration practices.

This is just plain wrong. On every count.

Knowing the Risks
Continue Reading »


Destroy their economic livelihoods and they will come

More at The Real News


Solidarity action: Friends of Brad Will at Mexican Consulate action

7:19:14 FoBW support zapatistas against violent attacks on their communities

In New York City, supporting an end to the violence against Zapatista communities, including the recent murder of teachers. Read about it here and here.

Another reason Plan Mexico must be ended and for us to support the people of Mexico against the violence and corruption plaguing their government.


Bless Brad Will’s memory! He would have been 44 years old today!

Take action urged by the Americas Program at the Center for International Policy!

Action Needed

Demand justice in the murder of U.S. journalist Brad Will

Suspend Merida Initiative aid to Mexican security forces

June 14 would have been U.S. journalist Brad Will’s 44th birthday. Will was shot and killed covering protests in the Mexican state of Oaxaca in 2006. Years later, his murder and that of at least 18 Mexicans murdered in the protests have still not been fully investigated and prosecuted by the Mexican government.

(See details of the Brad Will case here)

THIS WEEK: Please call Senator Dick Durbin who represents the state where Brad’s parents live (D, Illinois) and urge him to use his leadership position to demand justice in the murder of Brad Will and immediately halt US aid to Mexican military and police.

Call Senator Dick Durbin (202) 224-2152 and your own Senator requesting: Continue Reading »


Friends of Brad Will and allies take action

In the first complaint filed with the new Inspector General of the Police Department for the City of New York, on his first day in office, Friends of Brad Will recommend to the Inspector General a course of action for exposing and ending targeting of political activists by the NYPD, including the spying on and infiltration of Friends of Brad Will.

5:27:14 three file facing cameraIf you are a member of a human rights, environmental justice, police reform, good government or other civic organization, you and your organizations may have been targeted by NYPD operations over the last two decades.

You and your organizations can join us in calling on the Inspector General Philip Eure to conduct a full and public  audit of NYPD spying, infiltration, and subversion of political activist groups and dissenters and to recommend laws mandating severe penalties for continuation of such unlawful  practices to serve as an effective deterrent to their repetition. Read full complaint here.

Take action by contacting Mayor De Blasio and your City Council member and urging them to support our complaint and call for a full audit of the NYPD’s history of targeting political activists and an end those practices. Click here to view a sample letter to Mayor De Blasio you can cut and past and modify to your tastes. Continue Reading »


Urge US government action to end impunity for the murder of Brad Will

Here is an example of a letter you could send to Senator Durbin to end impunity for the murder of Brad Will and many others by Mexican government-backed paramilitaries


Subject: Plan Mexico (aka the Merida Initiative) and he Murder of US journalist Brad Will
To: schedule@durbin.senate.gov, state_scheduler@durbin.senate.gov, pat_souders@durbin.senate.gov, Max_Gleischman@durbin.senate.gov, dena_morris@durbin.senate.gov, christina_mulka@durbin.senate.gov

Mr. Souders,

Please thank Mr Durbin for writing about Illinois resident Brad Will’s murder in Oaxaca Mexico some time ago.  What is the latest?

Senator Durbin represents the state where Brad’s parents live (D, Illinois) I urge you to use you leadership position to end immediately US aid to Mexican military and police and that such aid be ended until Brad Will’s murderers and the murders of other innocents (at least 18 Mexicans during the same period) and those in the Mexican civil administration who helped cover up these murders are all brought to justice.

Senator Durbin serves as the Assistant Majority Leader, the second highest ranking position in the Senate. Also known as the Majority Whip, Senator Durbin has been elected to this leadership post by his Democratic colleagues every two years since 2006. He sits on the Senate Judiciary, Appropriations, Foreign Relations and Rules Committees.

You have the power to rally publicly your Senate colleagues and thereby to impress on  the Obama Administration the importance of taking public action to ensure that ALL of those responsible for these murders and their cover-up are brought to justice and that military and police aid to Mexico is halted until they are.

Please reply, thank you.

Your Name Here


US aid to Mexico’s federal police wasted as corruption soars, study finds

By Joseph J. Kolb
Published May 12, 2014

Note: We warned Washington Office on Against Latin America about the absence of benchmarks in Plan Mexico funding proposals by Bush. But they just pushed ahead despite the obvious failure of the model as made clear by corruption and brutality scandals that are endemic in the Colombia “drug war”. Of course, Plan Mexico is as much about ‘fighting drugs’ as Plan Colombia was.

Mexican police have captured high-profile drug kingpins in recent years, but complaints of abuse and corruption from members of the force have skyrocketed.AP
More than $1 billion in U.S. aid has done nothing to stem the rampant corruption and human rights violations within Mexican law enforcement, and lawmakers ought to rethink the flow of another $900 million in taxpayer dollars earmarked for south of the border, according to a new report from a Washington nonprofit.
The aid is part of the 2007 Merida Initiative, which promised Mexico’s federal police force funds for equipment and training, but tied the money to efforts to curtail corruption and abuse within the vast department. But the Washington Office on Latin America found complaints to Mexico’s Human Rights Commission have exploded over the same time, rising to 802 in 2012 from 146 six years earlier. Although the authors recognize Mexico’s attempts to improve its dysfunctional criminal justice system, they found it has failed to root out corruption and human rights violations among its police officers. Continue Reading »