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Human rights and the rule of law dominated the news this week in Mexico. Human Rights Watch reported that, in fighting the drug war, security forces in Mexico have committed numerous human rights violations and that soldiers enjoy impunity in these cases.

 

The Mexican government initially issued a

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Every year, at least until 2013, the Defense Department must report to Congress about how it uses its rather untransparent counter-narcotics budget to give aid to other countries' militaries and police. We endeavor to obtain those reports, and usually succeed (they are here.)

We recently got a copy of the report covering aid in 2010. One of the types of aid the Defense Department can provide is "The establishment ... and operation of bases of operations or training...

Just before Christmas, the U.S. Congress approved, and President Obama signed into law, a big 2012 budget law that included funding for the State Department and official foreign aid. Here are some highlights of how the 2012 budget law affects assistance to Latin America and the Caribbean.

  • The State Department and Foreign Operations law

  • ...

Drug war news this week centered on the politics of the war strategy. The new president of Guatemala, former general Otto Perez Molina--following Mexico's model--ordered the army into the countryside to fight the cartels. However, a few days later, he also called for an international discussion of decriminalization of drugs.

Later in the week, President...

In March 2011, Mexican poet and journalist Javier Sicilia’s son was brutally murdered by drug traffickers. Sicilia’s high profile in Mexico brought national attention to his son’s unfortunate killing. In the midst of the media attention, Sicilia recognized the deafening silence that accompanied the stories of so many thousands of other victims of drug violence. In the five-year period since President Felipe Calderón initiated the militarization of the...

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