US ‘Aid’ to Mexico Accompanies Training in Torture

August 10th, 2008 - by admin

Teresa Gutierrez / Workers World – 2008-08-10 09:07:47

MEXICO (August 8, 2008) — Almost the same day that the Bush administration was passing an aid package for Mexico, a Mexican newspaper leaked a sickening video about torture methods used in that country.

The aid package, commonly known as the Merida Initiative, was signed into law on June 30. It was attached to the reactionary Iraq war-spending bill and includes $400 million in aid for Mexico as well as $60 million aimed at Central America and $2.5 million each for the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

According to the Washington Post: “President Bush signed [the initiative] to help Mexico fight cartels…. The Merida Initiative was pushed through in large part by lawmakers who said they were impressed by Mexican President Felipe Calderón’s commitment to working more closely with US law enforcement. (July 11) Indeed, the law is intended to support President Felipe Calderon’s “war on drugs and organized crime.”

A Dangerous Liaison with the Oppressor
The video revealed the dangerous liaison that exists between US imperialism and Mexico’s ruling class. This unholy alliance has resulted in the Mexican regime—with Mexico an oppressed nation dominated by its powerful neighbor to the north—becoming one of Washington’s most violent and corrupt junior partners.

US imperialism is, of course, “the greatest purveyor of violence” of all, as Martin Luther King Jr. said in 1967. But it has demanded of its clients the defense of imperialist and capitalist interests by any means necessary.

The video in question showed two torture-training sessions conducted by the police department in León, Guanajuato. It was leaked by El Heraldo, a local León paper, and led to a national outcry in Mexico and around the world. The video is not for the faint of heart as what you see is shocking and inhumane.

Officers are graphically shown dragging an alleged volunteer from the León police force, visibly weakened and sick, through his own vomit. In another nauseating scene taken in a pitch dark cave, the police officer has his head forced into a hole with “rats and excrement.” His deep sighs and moans give one chills—especially if you think you could never have such pity for a policeman.

But perhaps what is most revealing of all is the voice one hears in the video of someone speaking US English. Clearly a US expert in torture is giving directions on what to do in this exercise, which were then translated into Spanish and carried out by a Mexican cop.

Laura Carlson of Americas Policy Program wrote in the Huffington Post on July 9: “Kristin Bricker, an investigative reporter from the online newspaper Narco News, covered evidence that indicates the trainers are from a Miami-based private security company called ‘Risks, Incorporated.’

“The company, incorporated in London, boasts ‘Psychological torture is the main tactic used in professional interrogations, it works and leaves no physical marks. We do this interrogation technique and others on some courses to show how easy it is to break a hostage and we’re being nice!’”

US/Mexican State at War with the People
Under Mexican law, torture is prohibited. But torture, a practice learned at the School of the Americas and fostered by US imperialism, is used so much in Mexico by the ruling class that the data could fill volumes.

Torture is used not to fight drugs, as the US and Mexican government claim. It is used to stop the progressive and revolutionary movements. It is used against the people who clamor for change and social justice. It is used in the fight for the bottomless swag in the most-lucrative drug trafficking industry that lines not only the coffers of the corrupt in Mexico but primarily the banks and the corrupt in the United States.

According to the Latin America Working Group based in Washington, DC, “More than 5,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence since Calderón took office in December 2006.”

But most significant is the wave of murders, kidnappings, rapes and attacks that have been waged against the popular and revolutionary mass movements in Mexico. The leaders of and participants in the heroic movements for social change in Oaxaca, Chiapas and Atenco have all been victims of acts of torture.

Writes Carlson in the Huffington Post: “Mexican human rights groups report that violations have been on the rise in Mexico since the drug war sent over 25,000 soldiers out into the streets and emboldened police forces. In its annual report, the Fray Bartolome de las Casas Human Rights Center notes ‘a regression in respect and protection of fundamental rights.’”

Mexico is everyday becoming more and more a militarized nation. The Mexican ruling class has become filthy rich as a result of its allegiance to US imperialism. It will do anything to keep those riches and defend its relationship to the empire on the other side of the northern border.

But the people and the movements in Mexico have shown over and over that their struggle will not be stopped—torture or no torture. The US government once again is sending aid to pay for this repression with the Merida Initiative. But that will not stop the struggle for change in Mexico.

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