With the U.S. government proposing a major increase in security aid to Mexico and Central America, WOLA Executive Director Joy Olson testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Western Hemisphere Subcommittee on Thursday on the aid package and drug-related violence in Mexico.
Olson analyzed the prospects and pitfalls for the $550 million aid package, which President Bush announced Monday.
She emphasized that any plan to curb drug trafficking and violence in Mexico should be based on strengthening and reforming civilian institutions — particularly police and the judiciary — and not on military force.
“Experience has shown that all roads lead back to the need for functioning police and justice systems, with oversight and accountability mechanisms that reduce the likelihood of corruption and promote effective investigations,” said Olson in her written testimony, which was submitted for the record. “Assistance geared toward these reforms should be the primary component of any aid package.”
She added that the security package has the potential to curb drug-related violence, but, if badly implemented, could “simply throw money at the problem, or worse yet, further empower corrupt individuals and reinforce unaccountable institutions.”
To read the full text of Olson’s written testimony, please click here. (Her oral testimony was an abbreviated version of this text.)
WOLA staff at the hearing offered pre-publication copies of our upcoming report “At a Crossroads: Drug Trafficking, Violence, and the Mexican State,” to be released next month by WOLA and the Beckley Foundation Drug Policy Programme.
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Kristina DeMain, Communications Assistant, firstname.lastname@example.org