Mexico: The Support Package


September 11, 2007: Mexican officials continue to send the message that Mexico wants the U.S. to be a "partner" in its fight against drug gangs. The government says it does not want financial aid from the US, but better "collaboration," and possibly a "permanent collaboration agreement" for monitoring criminal activity along the border. This is good news in the U.S. - such an agreement would have a positive impact on American counter-terror operations. It might also have an effect on illegal immigration, but that's a sensitive subject with the Mexican government. Still, defeating the drug cartels is the number one priority for Mexico and the U.S. and despite the Mexican statement about not wanting financial aid, it looks like money and material support from the US is forthcoming. The US has put together an aid program that will help Mexico buy new communications gear. It is very likely Mexico will also get new aircraft, especially helicopters. The entire US "support package" might be worth one billion dollars over a three year period.

September 5, 2007: The Mexican judiciary is coming down harder on the drug cartels. Judges may be more confident that Mexican security forces will protect them from gang intimidation. The sentencing of Benjamin Arellano Felix, a leader in the Tijuana cartel, is an example. Today Arellano Felix received an additional 22 year prison sentence for "organized criminal activities" and narcotics trafficking. Arellano Felix's "organized activities" include several cartel-directed murders. Arellano Felix was already in prison, serving a sentence for illegal weapons possession. The Mexican government announced that the 22 year sentence will be added to his current five year sentence.

September 4, 2007: A federal police commander was murdered by gunmen" in a parking lot in Mexicali, not far from the California-Mexico border.

September 2, 2007: President Felipe Calderon gave his first "state of the union" speech, and said that the Mexican military and police forces have gained "momentum" in their war against drug cartels. He noted that 200 Mexican soldiers and policemen have died in the last year and half at the hands of drug cartels and organized criminals. He also said that 10,000 people have been arrested for drug-related crimes since he took office in December 2006. Recent polling indicates the Calderon has a 65 percent approval rating as president.


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