Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s recent visit to the White House, which comes just months after outrage resonated throughout the world over the state-sponsored disappearance of 43 students from Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, proves what some of us already suspected about our own president: Obama’s concerns lie with investors, not with Mexicans or even Americans.

Al-Jazeera America:

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s visit to the White House last week was greeted by a throng of protesters whose chants were so loud, they could be heard in the Oval Office. Peña Nieto was in Washington not to discuss the deteriorating security situation in his country, the discovery of still more mass graves in the countryside or the staggering irregularities that have been recently disclosed about his government’s investigation into the forcible disappearance in September of 43 students from the town of Ayotzinapa in Guerrero state. He was there to talk about the money.

Peña Nieto visited Washington under the auspices of the High-Level Economic Dialogue (HLED), an initiative meant to promote competitiveness and foster the growth of the U.S. and Mexican economies. While the Ayotzinapa students apparently came up during the presidents’ conversation, President Barack Obama ultimately reiterated his support for the Mexican government. In doing so, he ignored the criticisms of human rights organizations and the demands of protesters who have gathered in the streets of cities in the U.S. and Mexico. But why does the U.S. government continue its uncritical stance toward its southern neighbor?…There is a financial motivation behind U.S. support for Peña Nieto’s security agenda…Much of the support that the United States has earmarked for Mexico under the Mérida Initiative — a George W. Bush–era bilateral program to combat drug trafficking and organized crime that Obama has continued — never leaves the U.S.: The $1.2 billion that the U.S. government has spent on Mexican security so far has gone to providing training to Mexican security forces and judicial officials and purchasing equipment such as surveillance gear and Black Hawk helicopters.

In other words, the billions of dollars appropriated under the Mérida Initiative go not to the Mexican government’s coffers but stay largely in the U.S. economy. Some of the funds underwrite training programs run by government agencies, such the Department of Justice’s Project Diamante or the Department of Defense’s Western Hemispheric Institute for Security and Cooperation, formerly known as the School of the Americas.

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—Posted by Natasha Hakimi Zapata


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