Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Tactic Worked

Henry Cuellar wants to train Mexican officials to combat cartels.  He cites the success in Columbia.
The tactic worked during the war in Colombia, where the situation was worse, he said. If officials were to weed out the corrupt officers from the honest ones in Mexico through extensive background checks and continuous polygraph tests, law enforcement officials on the U.S. side would be able to better communicate with them, he added.
So he wants people in Mexico to be vetted through more stringent background checks?  OK, that could work (not).  But using Columbia as an example may not be the best way to go.
Dube and Naidu's analysis provides a dark view of U.S. involvement in Colombia and suggests that the $5 billion we've sent to the country in the past couple of decades hasn't exactly been well-spent. When U.S. aid to Colombia increases, so do paramilitary attacks in areas with Army bases—but not in regions without bases, where the number of guerrilla attacks stays the same. Despite the explicit focus of aid on reducing drug production, the researchers found an actual decline in anti-narcotics operations by the Colombian military in response to greater U.S. aid, with coca production continuing unchanged. There's also some evidence that U.S. dollars may have been channeled to paramilitaries to intimidate voters and keep its government allies in power. Greater U.S. aid is associated with a decline in voter turnout, concentrated in municipalities with Army bases. (A related study finds that paramilitary presence leads to the election of legislators sympathetic to their cause.)

I mean, say that the U.S. would be able to rid all Mexican law enforcement agencies of corruption, how would that change the cartels' determination?  I'm not suggesting we turn our backs on Mexico, but I don't see how Cuellar's proposal makes a dent in the fight against cartels.


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