Left and Right Unite to Oppose Mexico Foreign Policy Scheme

Immediate Release ********************** May 13th, 2008

Left and Right Unite to Oppose Mexico Foreign Policy Scheme

Amnesty International Joins Opposition to Bush’s Merida Initiative

NYC: Robert Jereski, 212-973-1782
Washington, DC: Harry Bubbins, 646 641 5788

Opposition to the President’s ebbing “Merida Initiative” scheme to give $1.4 Billion in military aid to Mexico’s police and military implicated in widespread human rights violations grew with Amnesty International issuing a statement to Congress.

“Aid for Mexico must not be a blank check for Mexican security forces that have been implicated in crimes like rape and torture,” said Larry Cox, executive director of Amnesty International USA (AIUSA). Amnesty International said that any initiative to support Mexico’s fight against drug cartels and organized crime must focus on the rule of law and should also press for justice in the unresolved killing of U.S. journalist Bradley Roland Will, and other civilians, in Oaxaca in 2006.

“We are encouraged by Amnesty International’s recognition of human rights abuses by Mexican forces,” said Robert Jereski of Friends of Brad Will. “But we hope for more from human rights organizations, especially when top labor unions reject this dangerous scheme outright.”

“Authorizing assistance for the security forces without requiring human rights violators to be punished and ensuring that basic freedoms are protected would further undermine the rule of law in Mexico,” said Renata Rendón, advocacy director for the Americas at AIUSA. “American taxpayers should not foot the bill for military and police forces with histories of abuse …”

“We do not believe “human rights safeguards” are adequate.” said Harry Bubbins, of Friends of Brad Will “Given the outstanding crimes by Mexico, including the murder of U.S. reporter Brad Will, we need to see actual progress on these cases. Military aid now would only reward impunity,” added Mr. Bubbins.

Even Republicans oppose aid

Rep. John Culberson, R-Houston, said he opposed providing the assistance to Mexico. “These resources should go to our own law enforcement officers rather than Mexico’s,” Culberson said. Senator John Cornyn, R-Texas, opposes including the funds in the Iraq war supplemental. Senator Coryn believes additional funding requests should be reviewed on their merits through the normal appropriations process, a position advanced by Friends of Brad Will since 2007.

If Congress were to rubber stamp this scheme in the President’s waning days, U.S. foreign policy options would be severely curtailed for decades to come. The Merida Initiative would arm unaccountable, corrupt and brutal military and police; contribute to the erosion of civil liberties in one of our largest trading partners; increase violence and instability in Mexico; and waste U.S. taxpayer money to benefit a few connected military contractors, like Blackwater.

Friends of Brad Will is a nationwide network of activists, friends and family members of Brad Will, the U.S. journalist who was murdered by Mexican government paramilitaries in broad daylight in Oaxaca, Mexico in October 2006. Despite numerous eye witnesses and photographic/video evidence, no one has been held accountable. Friends of Brad Will has been educating, organizing, and pressuring the U.S. government to work on behalf of Brad Will and to reject the Merida Initiative. https://www.friendsofbradwill.org

More on the Merida Initiative here: http://americas.irc-online.org/am/5118
For more information, please visit: www.amnestyusa.org/mexico

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