Tuesday, October 20, 2015

U.S. To Cut Some Mexico Security Funds Over Human Rights Abuses

"This is going to be a tough week for Mexico on human rights."

Image from article, with caption: A man wearing a skull mask carries a black protest version of the Mexican flag at a march on Oct. 2, 2015 commemorating the anniversary of the 1968 Tlatelolco student massacre.

Roque Planas, The Huffington Post
Mexico will lose a portion of its U.S. security funding after the State Department concluded that Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto's administration hasn’t made enough progress in confronting human rights violations. ...
Despite Mexico’s current human rights crisis, U.S. officials rarely criticize their Mexican counterparts. Mexico is a key ally, and the two countries work closely on national security issues -- particularly border enforcement and fighting drug cartels. Since 2007, Congress has appropriated $2.3 billion in security assistance for Mexico under the Merida Initiative to confront organized crime and drug trafficking.
Fifteen percent of that funding depends on a periodic review of the Mexican government’s progress toward improving its human rights record. To disburse the funds, the State Department must issue a report to Congress detailing the Mexican government's human rights efforts.
Mexico had made progress in its efforts to rein in organized crime, a spokesman for the State Department said. But the agency was "unable to confirm that Mexico fully met all of the criteria in the FY 2014 appropriation legislation, and thus did not submit the report." 
The money has been held up in the past, either because the State Department or members of Congress expressed concerns -- but declining to issue a report on Mexico’s human rights progress, and thus blocking the funding, is unusual. 
“The U.S. hasn’t made this a point of public diplomacy,” said Christopher Sabatini, the director of the think tank Global Americans. “This signals that they’ve had concerns all along and they’re taking them to a new level.”...

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