Calderon should accept Merida’s human right conditions?

In anticipation of the scheduled debate around the controversial Merida Initiative aid package in the US Senate this week, the Financial Times newspaper from the UK urges President Felipe Calderon to accept the human rights conditions attached to the US$400 billion injection aimed at helping Mexico fights its drugs barons. But should he?

“Mr Calderón should also accept the conditions. Co-responsibility is
more than just sharing the financial and logistical burden of fighting
the war against drugs. In its broadest expression, it encompasses many
related spheres, including human rights. If he is to use the argument
of co-responsibility as a way to get the US to pay more, he must also
accept that it implies doing more to improve his country’s human-rights
performance”, writes the newspaper’s Mexico correspondent, Adam Thompson.

The Merida initiative was approved by house lawmakers earlier this month and the Senate is expected to follow suit. You can read all about the controversial package here, which is being opposed by groups on both sides of the border and all parts of the political spectrum. From Amnesty International and Friends of Brad Will (who campaign for justice after the journalist was shot dead in Oaxaca last year), to Republican groups.

The main worry is that the cash boost will place more arms and power in the hands of an already corrupt police and army in Mexico, and that the money should instead be spent on poverty-reduction programmes or, in the case of the Republicans, strengthening the border.

Meanwhile, as Ken Ellingwood reported earlier this month, opposition is also coming from within Mexico. Senior Mexican officials have called the provisions a form of U.S. interference and threatened to turn down the first-year installment if the conditions survive in a final version yet to be worked out by the
House and Senate. They want the human rights provisions on the Initiative deleted.

Luckily, the border’s Minuteman border group already have a plan in case the Merida Initative doesn’t pan out…

This post also appeared on La Plaza, the Los Angeles Times blog.

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One Response

  1. Should Calderon . . . .

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