MARY BETH SHERIDAN
Posted November 16, 2010
The U.S. military has begun to work closely with Mexico’s armed forces, sharing information and training soldiers in an expanding effort to help that country battle its violent drug cartels, according to U.S. and Mexican officials.
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
U.S. military officials have been hesitant to discuss publicly their growing ties with Mexico, for fear of triggering a backlash among a Mexican public wary of interference. But current and former officials say that the U.S. military has instructed hundreds of Mexican officers in the past two years in subjects such as how to plan military operations, use intelligence to hunt traffickers and observe human rights.
The Pentagon’s counter-narcotics funding for Mexico has nearly tripled, from $12.2 million in 2008 to more than $34 million in 2010, according to estimates by the Government Accountability Office. While that is a small fraction of the Mexican anti-drug money provided by the State Department, the funding is significant because of the history of chilly relations between the two militaries.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton recently reflected U.S. alarm over the Mexican cartels, saying that in some cases they were “morphing into or making common cause with what we would consider an insurgency.” The comment was splashed across front pages in Mexico, and President Barack Obama hastened to assure angry Mexicans that he did not characterize the traffickers as a rebel movement.