Great news! Friends of Brad Will met with Senator Schumer yesterday in Brooklyn to urge his support of accountability for the murder of U.S. journalist Brad Will and others murdered in Mexico by Mexican government paramilitaries and bring the Merida Initiative to his attention and urge he speak out against it.
The Merida Initiative known as Plan Mexico is a $1.4 billion military package proposed by President Bush for Mexico. It is being debated in Congress now (even though they haven’t even seen the full ‘security’ initiative.
Please read through the brief note (w/talking points on Plan Mexico) below and give Senator Schumer a call or email urging an end to impunity for Brad Will’s murder and the murder of innocent Mexicans in Atenco, Oaxaca and elsewhere in Mexico by Mexican security forces and that he oppose Plan Mexico.
* Senator Schumer (D-NY), Senator for New York State where Brad Will lived and did much environmental volunteer work:
easy click link here, and you can cut and paste the info from below…
if you have time, call, it matters a lot more!:
Talking Points for Opposing the Merida Initiative
Justice for the murder of Brad Will and an end to impunity in Mexico!
A. The initiative would not effectively combat drug-trafficking
The Merida Initiative would fail to have a lasting impact on drug
trafficking for three key reasons:
1. Military interdiction efforts have a “balloon” effect. As stated by the Centro Pro, a national human rights organization in
Mexico City, “History has proven time and time again that such law enforcement efforts merely divert trafficking routes, creating a
geographic shuffle of social and criminal problems.”
2. The Merida Initiative ignores a root cause of the problem: U.S. demand. Even the right-wing RAND Corporation has concluded that far-flung attempts to stop drugs at their source is 23 times less cost effective than domestic drug treatment at home.
3. The Merida Initiative model also fails to recognize poverty as another root cause of drug trafficking. So long as such poverty persists in Mexico, some Mexicans will continue to choose drug-running as a lucrative alternative to migration or unemployment. So long as the U.S. implements policies that perpetuate Mexico’s poverty, it will be working at odds with its own counter-narcotics initiatives.
B. The initiative further threatens human rights
Numerous Mexican and international human rights organizations have expressed concern that counter-narcotics aid for Mexico’s military and police constitutes a recipe for unchecked human rights violations. Espacio Civil, a civil society coalition comprised of 52 Oaxacan organizations, adds that in 2007 “the army committed severe human rights violations in their supposed counter-drug operations. We are concerned that the funding from the U.S. government will ultimately
make this situation worse.
C. The initiative could likely be used to suppress legitimate political expression
Many Mexican groups fear, with good reason, that the US military hardware and training in the Merida Initiative would be used directly against citizens participating in acts of legitimate political expression. Mexican military and public security forces have
consistently been deployed to stop and often brutally repress popular protest. Perhaps the most alarming example of late is the crackdown of the Oaxacan social movement that began with a teacher’s strike in 2006. Both federal and state security forces brought an iron fist down on the demonstrations, leaving a wake of human rights violations that include over 20 assassinations (including U.S. journalist Brad Will), hundreds of arbitrary detentions, and torture. The cases against the
security forces, which have been well documented by Amnesty International and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, remain unresolved in Mexico. A sizeable portion of the money from the Merida Initiative would support the very security forces responsible for these violations. Many in Oaxaca fear that with this support, legitimate protest in Mexico will continue to be answered with repression.