Living with the U.S.
LIVING WITH THE U.S. THE MERIDA INITIATIVE 4/28/2010 Colombia Colombia: Background 1985: M-19 seizes the Palace of Justice Deaths: 33 guerrillas, 11 security forces, 11 justices, 43 civilians 1986: Presidential Directive #221 (Reagan) makes drugs a U.S. national security threat 1979: M-19 begins kidnappings of the families of drug lords 1981: MAS forms 1982: Paramilitary groups form, merge with MAS 1989: La Rochela massacre (MAS); revocation of the 1965 law legalizing paramilitary groups 1990’s: FARC gives responsibility for local finances to local commanders; kidnappings increase 1993: Pablo Escobar killed What is “Plan Colombia”? A body of US legislation and policies aimed at ending drug production in Colombia and at weakening armed leftist groups An agreement signed by Pastrana and Clinton in 2000 which established U.S. aid for Colombian anti-cocaine efforts Initially Plan Colombia focused on ending civil conflict and on humanitarian and development aid The final agreement focused on counternarcotics and on military aid What is “Plan Colombia”? Goals: drug reduction and national security Counternarcotics Crop eradication Interdiction Alternative development Territorial Control Growth and professionalization of the military Military engagement Expanded police presence Aid Internally displaced persons Demobilization Judicial reform Poppy cultivation and heroin production declined about 50% Coca cultivation increased by about 15%; cocaine production increased by 4% FARC combatants decreased by about 50% What is “Plan Colombia”? Military as % of Total 80 % 99% 76% 80% 82% 82% 81% 80 % 64% 79% What is “Plan Colombia”? Myth: Planting coca improves the growers’ standard of living Myth: More coca means more forest, since other cash crops require greater area Myth: Fumigation will make immigrants who produce illicit crops return to their area of origin Myth: Illicit crop eradication increases consumer price thereby reducing demand Myth: Illicit crop eradication through aerial fumigation is environmentally neutral and it works Liliana M. Dávalosa; Adriana C. Bejaranob; H. Leonardo Correac. "Disabusing Cocaine: Pervasive Myths and Enduring Realities of a Globalised Commodity," International Journal of Drug Policy; 20 (2009) pp. 381–386. Mexico Calderón’s War Calderón wins the Presidential election by only 0.5% and assumes office Dec. 1, 2006 Targets corruption and the drug cartels The cartels respond with increased violence, targeted at security officers Since Calderón took office: government has extradited more than 200 criminal suspects, more than double the rate of predecessors accusations of human rights abuses by the army have risen sixfold more than 18,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence; half the murders have been isolated in four cities: Ciudad Juarez, Tijuana, Culiacan and Chihuahua. The U.S. Connection "Each year an estimated 350 tons of cocaine, together with other drugs, finds its way to the U.S., while more than $25 billion flows south into the cartels' coffers." Mexican production follow US consumption patterns 90% of the guns used by Mexican narco-traffickers come from the U.S.; up to 2,000 weapons a day cross the border. Mexican drug cartels have a presence in some 230 U.S. cities The "Merida Initiative" $1.4 billion in aid over 3 years to help Mexican police and military; this represents about 20% of Mexico's annual anti-narcotics budget helping disrupt drug gangs through better equipment, training and technology; helping create stronger institutions for the rule of law; creating a "smart" border that stops drugs, guns and drug money but allows commerce to continue; trying to address the underlying problems that fuel drug violence, such as a lack of job creation. Questions Why do cartels flourish in Mexico and Colombia? Is the state in question capable of addressing these weaknesses? What is the goal of the "war on drugs"? to dismantle the cartels, reduce their size, end the violence, and/or disrupt drug shipments? Is the US response to the Colombian and Mexican crises adequate? Is it appropriate? Is Plan Colombia a success? Plan Merida? Policy Papers Pick a point of contention between the US and your country- it does not have to be drugs. Look at various policies that might resolve this problem. The existing policy MAY be one of the options. Recommend one as having the best chance of success. the existing policy SHOULD NOT be the recommended option - if the existing policy works fine there would not be a problem.