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What Are the U.S.'s Real Motives for Launching a Drug War in Mexico?

James Cockcroft's new book 'Mexico's Revolution: Then and Now' exposes the thinking behind U.S. narcotrafficking policy and the militarization of Mexico and further South.

The following is an excerpt from James Cockcroft’s new book, Mexico’s Revolution: Then and Now ( Monthly Review Press , 2010).

U.S. Intervention

For decades, Washington, D.C., has been pouring military aid into Mexico. In 2008 there were 6,000 U.S. troops on the Mexican border, and in 2010 President Barack Obama decided to send in more. The U.S. side of the border is militarized, as it was before and during the Mexican Revolution of 1910–1917 and periodically since then. Drones routinely fly over Mexican soil. In the United States, video games show American troops invading Mexico.

Remember that the United States has often sent troops into Mexico. There is a long history of U.S. involvement in the internal affairs of the nation since the bloody seizure of one-half of Mexico’s territory—the outcome of the imperialist war of 1846–1848.

Today a militaristic weapon is the Alliance for the Prosperity and Security of North America organized by the governments of the United States, Canada, and Mexico in 2005. The Alliance is an expansion of the Plan Puebla Panama of 2001 that aimed at the integration of southern Mexico with Central America and Colombia. In 2008, the Alliance was strengthened by the Merida Initiative/Plan Mexico, an international security treaty established by the United States with Mexico and Central America to fight narcotraffic and integrate Mexico and Central America with the Northern Command of the United States.

These plans better U.S. chances of firming up energy security: Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, and Colombia are oil countries. The plans also make it easier for the United States, Canada, and Mexico to use their arms against outside threats and, above all, internal opposition. They represent a new phase of contemporary imperialism.

What are the real targets of these plans for the international coordination and militarization of the struggle against alleged terrorists and narcos? They are aimed at immigrants, original peoples, guerrilla resistance, political dissidents, and social movements against transnational corporations taking over natural resources, including water, and causing mining pollution. These plans, financed by billions of U.S. dollars, have made Mexico a security priority for the U.S. ruling class. They serve to “justify” the sending of U.S. personnel into Mexico to take part in intelligence operations to tighten control over the populations of both nations.

Mexico faces a dangerous and complex situation. Obama’s government has beefed up budgets for sending down agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), along with personnel to train Mexicans in the so-called wars against narcotraffic and terrorism, wars against “the Evil.” Obama calls it that, and righteous citizens applaud him or demand even stronger measures. Obama’s government has created a new “special force” made up of armed people from police and intelligence agencies that operate in the border zones.

The FBI and the DEA have offices in several Mexican cities. In February 2010, spokespeople for de facto president Calderón admitted that U.S. agents were active in Ciudad Juárez. The number of U.S. military contractors sent to Mexico has increased during Calderón’s administration. There are videos of contractors who have trained Mexican police taking part in the torture of prisoners. In 2008, U.S. involvement in Mexico took the form of that business enterprise called Blackwater. Exposed for its crimes against humanity in Iraq, it has changed its name to Xe Services. It came to “help” Calderón in his supposed war against the narcotraffic. He is fighting “the Evil,” and many churchgoing Mexicans thank him for saving their children from that horrible “narcotic,” cannabis.

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