Mexico

The Mexican Army's Unsystemic Human Rights Violations

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In the last three years, The Washington Post reports, Mexico's National Human Rights Commission has received more than 2,000 complaints about abuses committed by soldiers waging the country's U.S.-backed war on drugs. But according to the Interior Ministry, only one of those cases has resulted in a conviction: A soldier who fired on civilians at a checkpoint, killing one of them, received a nine-month sentence. The military says there have been 10 convictions, but it declines to provide details. The U.S. State Department puts the number of convictions at 12 and says another 52 soldiers are being investigated for homicide, torture, kidnapping, and extortion. Evidently 97 percent of the complaints proved groundless.

A military spokesman who demands anonymity assures the Post that "the army does not systemically violate human rights." But even if it only does so in an unofficial, disorganized way, the alleged abuses—which include torture, beatings, illegal raids and arrests, and gunfire aimed at civilians—are a predictable result of expecting soldiers to act like cops and cops to act like soldiers. The military spokesman complains:

It's like the United States in Iraq or Afghanistan, only more difficult because they can usually tell who are the criminals and who are the civilians. We do not have that luxury. In the drug war, the line between criminal and civilian is blurred.

According to Abel Barra, executive director of the Tlachinollan Human Rights Center in Guerrero, "militarization has caused more damage to society here than it has helped us live in peace." Yet the U.S. supports this policy financially and politically while disclaiming responsibility for its consequences:

"The U.S. Congress made clear that it supports the Merida Initiative against the cartels, but it does not support a blank check for the Mexican military," said Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). "A portion of our aid is conditioned on respect for human rights."

Another way of saying this is that the U.S. would continue funding Mexico's war on drugs even if the government made no pretense of caring about human rights. With a little lip service but very little action, it can earn the entire $1.4 billion allocated by Congress.

NEXT: How Many Pot Dispensaries in One City Are Too Many?

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  1. In the drug war, the line between criminal and civilian is blurred.

    QFT.

    1. Sound like the opening tag for Law and Order: Narcotics Division

  2. In the drug war, the line between criminal and civilian is blurred.

    Uh . . . What?

    That’s misleading – the Mexican Army and the Federal Police KNOW EXACTLY WHO ARE the drug dealers, because it is the drug dealers that have them in their payroll! What the Mexican Army and Federal Police do is bother citizens with Mickey-Mouse searches and shows of force, which will invariably lead to Civil Rights violations and civilians being hurt – the Army has been less and less willing to commit soldiers to fight the dealers with open warfare because that would lead to greater losses and a strain on recruiting efforts. The Federal Police is already too much in the pockets of the dealers to be of any use against this ridiculous war against personal choices.

  3. Senator Leahy: “A portion of our aid is conditioned on respect for human rights.”

    “The rest of the aid, well, it’s conditioned on crackin’ skulls, motherfuckers! Yeaaaaaahhhhhhh!!!!”

  4. A military spokesman who demands anonymity assures the Post that “the army does not systemically violate human rights.”

    Indeed, that sounds about right – their violations of Human Rights are more or less random.

  5. What the fuck does our government care anyway? They’re just Mexicans, right? Our government has no qualms about harming its own citizens; why the hell would it care about Mexico’s?

  6. There’s a Monty Pythonesque joke somewhere in the title of this article. I just can’t find it.

    1. “This here’s a real nice citizenry, Colonel. Wouldn’t want somethin’ to ‘happen to it, would we?”

      (knocks knickknack off mantle)

  7. “The U.S. Congress made clear that it supports the Merida Initiative against the cartels, but it does not support a blank check for the Mexican military,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). “A portion of our aid is conditioned on respect for human rights.” [italics added]

    Spare me the dissembling bullshit Senator. How much drug war money have we ever withheld from anybody due to human rights abuses?

    You’ll be getting back to us on that, right?

    1. Yeah, as if stopping people from consuming something of their own free will wasn’t a human rights violation in and of itself.

      1. It’s for the children. (sarcasim)

  8. They aren’t convicted because chihuahas are a lot harder to shoot then American sized dogs.

  9. How much drug war money have we ever withheld from anybody due to human rights abuses?

    One time, I split a gram heavily in my own favor because dude tried to David Blaine some of it when he was handing it to me.

    1. i think “Copperfield it” makes a better phrase.

  10. Well, once you do away with the notion that human beings own their own bodies, i’m not sure that you can really expect any better.

  11. Mexico polices its southern border with none of this feel good crap. But lefties don’t care when its brown people hurting brown people.

    1. Not being smart alekie but do righties care???

  12. But even if it only does so in an unofficial, disorganized way, the alleged abuses?which include torture, beatings, illegal raids and arrests, and gunfire aimed at civilians?are a predictable result of expecting soldiers to act like cops and cops to act like soldiers.

    Can I take this opportunity to point out that treating terrorism as a law enforcement problem takes us down this very road?

    1. Do you really want the U.S. military kicking down doors within the U.S. when Congress waters down the definition of terrorism?

  13. The War on Drugs has, of late, been a costly and monumental failure. Whether this is the fault of the U.S., Mexico or both, I can’t say. But it’s not working, as we see in the events unfolding every week in Jaurez.

  14. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) “A portion of our aid is conditioned on respect for human rights.”

    Spare me the dissembling bullshit Senator. How much drug war money have we ever withheld from anybody due to human rights abuses?

    In Thailand, we supported the Thai government killing over 3,000 people.

    The War on Drugs has, of late, been a costly and monumental failure.

    “Of late”? Where have you been?

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  16. In the war against drugs, crime blurred the boundary between and civilians.

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