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Archive for Thursday, May 27, 2010

U.S. officials seek drug war change

May 27, 2010

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— The Obama administration wants to shift U.S. aid in Mexico away from high-priced helicopters and airplanes and toward reforming Mexico’s corrupt law enforcement, courts and politicians.

Marking a dramatic change from past years, most of the $310 million that the Obama administration seeks for Mexico in its 2011 budget request is aimed at judicial reforms and good governance programs in Mexico.

“We are moving away from big-ticket equipment” and toward programs that support “Mexican capacity to sustain adherence to the rule of law and respect for human rights,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobsen in testimony prepared for a congressional subcommittee hearing today.

“The starkest shift is in how funding will be spent,” said Shannon O’Neil of the Council of Foreign Relations, also in prepared testimony provided to The Associated Press ahead of today’s hearings.

While the administration has previously talked about emphasizing institution-building and prevention instead of law enforcement in the fight against drugs, State Department budgets obtained by The Associated Press show that funding has remained almost entirely devoted to law enforcement.

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