WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas
23 Oct 2007 | News

WOLA Expresses Doubts on Mexico, Central America Aid Package

A press release on the newly announced $550 million dollar "security cooperation initiative" for Mexico and Central America that the administration has submitted to Congress.

October 22, 2007

For immediate release

Press Release

WOLA Sees Positive Points, Shortcomings in Bush Administration's Mexico and Central America Aid Package

President Bush announced today a $550 million dollar “security cooperation initiative” for Mexico and Central America that will be part of the Iraq supplemental spending package that the administration has submitted to Congress.

WOLA, the research and advocacy group, finds some potentially positive aspects in the plan, particularly its provisions aimed at reducing gang violence in Central America and strengthening judicial institutions and respect for human rights in Mexico.

“This cooperation package reflects the Bush Administration’s growing recognition of the United States’ shared responsibility for drug trafficking and drug related violence in Mexico,” said WOLA’s executive director, Joy Olson. “Addressing this problem is not something that it should face alone.”

WOLA is concerned, however, about the lack of details on some aspects of the plan. For example, the plan does not specify which government institutions in Mexico and Central America will actually receive the funds.  If they are allocated to civilian control structures, the funds are more likely to have a positive effect in strengthening the rule of law and civilian institutions. If funds are sent directly to the receiving countries’ military forces, the plan could undermine civilian control of the armed forces and weaken efforts to strengthen civilian public security institutions.  

“The U.S. has a moral obligation to help Mexico deal with drug violence because of U.S. drug policies and use,” said Maureen Meyer, WOLA’s Associate for Mexico and Central America. “But we need to be clear that while this package may have a positive short-term impact on drug trafficking and violence in Mexico, there should be no expectations that it will stem the flow of drugs into the United States.” 

“Cooperation is a two-way street,” said Olson. “Although the package mentions an unspecified amount of money to reduce drug consumption in Mexico, it has not been accompanied by any new major federal initiative to cut drug demand in the United States.”


Maureen Meyer [email protected], 202-797-2171

Roger Atwood, [email protected], 202-797-2171