Plan Colombia Heads for Mexico
by Stephen Lendman
May 29, 2008
It's called "Plan Mexico," or
more formally the "Merida Initiative," and here's the
scheme. It's to do for Mexicans what Plan Colombia has done to
that nation since 1999, and, in fact, much earlier. Since then,
billions have gone for the following:
-- to establish a US military foothold in the country;
-- mostly to fund US weapons, chemical and other corporate profiteers;
it's a long-standing practice; in fact, a 1997 Pentagon document
affirms that America's military will "protect US interests
and investments;" in Colombia, it's to control its valuable
resources; most importantly oil and natural gas but also coal,
iron ore, nickel, gold, silver, emeralds, copper and more; it's
also to crush worker resistance, eliminate unions, target human
rights and peasant opposition groups, and make the country a "free
market" paradise inhospitable to people;
-- it funds a brutish military as well; already, over 10,000 of
its soldiers have been trained at the Western Hemisphere Institute
for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC) - aka the School of the Americas
(SOA) at Fort Benning, Georgia; its graduates are infamous as
human rights abusers, drugs traffickers, and death squad practitioners;
they were well schooled in their "arts" by the nation
most skilled in them;
-- it lets Colombia arm and support paramilitary death squads;
they're known as the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC);
for more than a decade, they've terrorized Colombians and are
responsible for most killings and massacres in support of powerful
western and local business interests;
-- it funds drug eradication efforts, but only in FARC-EP and
ELN areas; government-controlled ones are exempt; trafficking
is big business; laundering drugs money reaps huge profits for
major US and regional banks; the CIA has also been linked to the
trade for decades, especially since the 1980s; after Afghanistan's
invasion and occupation, opium harvests set records - mostly from
areas controlled by US-allied "warlords;" the Taliban's
drug eradication program was one reason it was targeted; Colombia's
drug eradication is horrific; it causes ecological devastation;
crop and forest destruction; lives and livelihoods lost; large
areas chemically contaminated; bottom line of the program - record
amounts of Colombian cocaine reach US and world markets; trafficking
is more profitable than ever; so is big business thanks to paramilitary
-- it's to topple the FARC-EP and ELN resistance groups; Latin
American expert James Petras calls the former the "longest
standing (since 1964), largest peasant-based guerrilla (resistance)
movement in the world;" it's also to weaken Hugo Chavez,
other regional populist leaders and groups, and destabilize their
-- it supports the "Uribe doctrine;" it's in lockstep
with Washington; its policies are hard right, corporate-friendly
and militarized for enforcement.
Plan Colombia turned the country into a dependable, profitable
narco-state. Business is better than ever. Violence is out of
control and human rights abuses are appalling.
It gets worse. Two-thirds of Columbians are impoverished. Over
2.5 million peasant and urban slum dwellers have been displaced.
Thousands of trade unionists have been murdered (more than anywhere
else in the world), and many more thousands of peasants, rural
teachers, and peasant and indigenous leaders have as well. Paramilitary
land seizures are commonplace. Colombian latifundistas profit
hugely. Wealth concentration is extreme and growing. Corruption
infests the government. Many thousands in desperation are leaving.
Colombia's "democracy" is a sham. So is Mexico's. Plan
Mexico will make it worse. That's the whole idea, and it's part
of the secretive Security and Prosperity Partnership - aka the
North American Union.
It's planned behind closed doors - to militarize and annex the
continent. Corporate giants are in charge, mostly US ones. The
idea is for an unregulated open field for profit. The Bush administration,
Canada and Mexico support it. Things are moving toward implementation.
Three nations will become one. National sovereignty eliminated.
Worker rights as well. Opposition is building, but moves are planned
to quash it. That's the militarization part.
Business intends to win this one. People are to be exploited,
not helped. That's why it's kept secret. The idea is to agree
on plans, inform legislatures minimally about them, get SPP passed,
then implement it with as few of its disturbing details known
in hopes once they are they'll be too late to reverse.
SPP is ugly, ominous and hugely people destructive. Hundreds of
millions in three countries will be affected. Others in the region
as well. Plan Mexico is a contribution to the scheme. Below is
what we know about it.
Plan Mexico - Exploitation Writ Large
The plan was first announced in October 2007 as a "regional
security cooperation initiative." It's to provide $1.4 billion
in aid (over three years) for Mexico and Central America on the
pretext of fighting drugs trafficking and organized crime linked
to it. FY 2008 calls for $550 million for starters with about
10% of it for Central America.
In fact, Plan Mexico is part of SPP's grand scheme to militarize
the continent, let corporate predators exploit it, and keep people
from three countries none the wiser. Most aid will go to Mexico's
military and police forces with its major portion earmarked back
to US defense contractors for equipment, training and maintenance.
It's how these schemes always work.
This one includes a menu of security allocations, administrative
functions, and special needs like software, forensics equipment,
database compilations, plus plenty more for friendly pockets to
keep our Mexican cohorts on board.
After failing on May 15, House passage will likely follow the
Senate's approval on May 22 - below the radar. It's one of many
appropriations tucked into the latest Iraq/Afghanistan supplemental
funding request, and its purpose is just as outlandish. It will
militarize Mexico without deploying US troops. It will also open
the country for plunder, privatize everything including state-owned
oil company PEMEX, give Washington a greater foothold there, and
get around the touchy military issue by allowing in Blackwater
paramilitaries instead to work with Mexican security forces.
Only privatizing PEMEX is in doubt thanks to immense citizen opposition.
Thousands of "brigadistas" were in the streets, protesting
outside the Senate and Chamber of Deputies, as lawmakers considered
ending PEMEX state-control. They paralyzed debate and brought
it to a halt - temporarily putting off a final resolution of this
very contentious issue. Big Oil wants it. Most Mexicans don't.
The battle continues. Mexico's military may get involved.
The US State Department describes them as follows:
-- ...."impunity and corruption (in Mexico's security forces
are) problems, particularly at the state and local levels. The
following human rights problems were reported: unlawful killings;
kidnappings; physical abuse; poor and overcrowded prison conditions;
arbitrary arrests and detention; corruption, inefficiency, and
lack of transparency in the judicial system; (coerced) confessions....permitted
as evidence in trials; criminal intimidation of journalists leading
to self-censorship; corruption at all levels of government; domestic
violence against women (often with impunity); violence, including
killings, against women; trafficking in persons; social and economic
discrimination against indigenous people; and child labor."
Mexico's military fares little better with promises Plan Mexico
will worsen it. President Calderon now deploys troops around the
country. People fear them when they come. They're purportedly
against drugs traffickers, but that's mostly cover. Their real
purpose may be sinister - a possible dress rehearsal for martial
law when SPP is implemented.
Mexican soldiers are hard line. Their reputation is unsavory.
People justifiably fear them. They commit flagrant human rights
abuses and get away with them. The major media even report them.
The New York Times, CNN, BBC, USA Today and others cite evidence
of rape, torture, killings, other human rights abuses, corruption,
extortion, and ties to drugs traffickers. Little is done to stop
it. Government and military spokespersons often aren't available
for comment. They're part of the problem, not the solution. Plan
Mexico promises more of the same and then some. Billions from
Washington back it.
Social protests in the country already are criminalized. Hundreds
are filling prisons. Many languish there for years. Labor and
social activists are most vulnerable. Injustice and grinding poverty
motivate them. Plan Mexico ups the ante. Things are about to get
Militarizing society is toxic. Police state enforcement follows.
Accountability disappears. The rule of law no longer applies.
Plan Mexico assures it. So does SPP for the continent. In classic
doublespeak, the White House claims it will "advance the
productivity and competitiveness of our nations and help to protect
our health, safety and environment." Its real purpose is
to annex a continent, destroy its democratic remnants, lock in
hard line enforcement, and secure it for capital.
SPP Backdrop of Plan Mexico
A detailed SPP explanation can be found on the 2007 article link.
It's titled The Militarization and Annexation of North America
Plan Mexico is part of SPP. It will militarize and annex the continent.
It was formerly launched at a March 23, 2005 meeting in Waco,
Texas attended by George Bush, Mexico's President Vincente Fox,
and Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin. They forged a tripartite
partnership for greater US, Canadian and Mexican economic, political,
social and security integration. Secretive working groups were
formed to accomplish it - to devise non-negotiable agreements
to be binding on all three nations.
Details are hidden. No public input is permitted. Pro forma legislative
voting is approaching. It will try to avoid a NAFTA-type battle.
Legislatures aren't being fully informed. The worst of SPP is
secret. It's not a treaty, and the idea is to pass it below the
radar and avoid a protracted public debate.
What's known so far is disturbing, and considerable opposition
has arisen but thus far too inadequate to matter. SPP, Plan Mexico,
and a final continent-wide plan amount to a corporate coup d'etat
against three sovereign states and hundreds of millions of people.
It's to erase national borders, merge three nations into one under
US control, and remove all barriers to trade and capital flows.
It's also to militarize the continent, create a fortress-North
America security zone, and have in place police state laws for
enforcement. Billions will fund it. All for corporate gain. Nothing
for public welfare.
SPP takes NAFTA and the "war on terrorism" to the next
level en route to extending it further for more corporate plunder.
It's based on outlandish notions - that doing business, protecting
national security, and securing "public welfare" require
tough new measures in a very threatening world.
SPP bolsters US control. It enhances corporate power, quashes
civil liberties, erases public welfare, and creates an open field
for plunder free from regulatory restraints. It's being plotted
behind closed doors. A series of summits and secret meetings continue
with the latest one in New Orleans from April 22 to 24.
Three presidents attended and were met by vocal street protests.
They convened a "People's Summit" and also held workshops
-- inform people how destructive SPP is;
-- strengthen networking and organizational ties against it;
-- maintain online information about their activities;
-- promote their efforts and build added support; and
-- affirm their determination to continue resisting a hugely repressive
corporate-sponsored agenda. Opponents call it Nafta on steroids.
Business-friendly opposition also exists. Prominent is a "Coalition
to Block the North American Union." The Conservative Caucus
backs it. It has a "NAU War Room." It's the "headquarters
of THE national campaign to expose and halt America's absorption
into a 'North American Union (NAU)' with Canada and Mexico."
It opposes building "a massive, continental 'NAFTA Superhighway.'
It has congressional allies, and on January 2007 Rep. Virgil Goode
and six co-sponsors introduced House Concurrent Resolution 40.
It expresses "the sense of Congress that the United States
should not engage in (building a NAFTA) Superhighway System or
enter into a North American Union with Mexico and Canada."
The April summit reaffirmed SPP's intentions - to create a borderless
North America, dissolve national sovereignty, put corporate giants
in control, and assure big US ones get most of it. Militarism
is part of it. It's the reason for fortress-North America under
US command. The US Northern Command (NORTHCOM) was established
in October 2002 to do it. It has air, land and sea responsibility
for the continent regardless of Posse Comitatus limitations that
no longer apply or sovereign borders easily erased.
Homeland Security (DHS) and its Immigration and Customs Enforcement
(ICE) also have a large role. So does the FBI, CIA, all US spy
agencies, militarized state and local police, National Guard forces,
and paramilitary mercenaries like Blackwater USA. They're headed
anywhere on the continent with license to operate as freely here
as in Iraq and New Orleans post-Katrina. They'll be able to turn
hemispheric streets into versions of Baghdad and make them unfit
to live on if things come to that.
SPP maintains a web site. It's "key accomplishments"
since August 2007 are updated on it as of April 22, 2008. Its
details can be accessed from the following link: http://www.spp.gov/pdf/key_accomplishments_since_august_2007.pdf
It lists principles agreed to; bilateral deals struck; negotiations
concluded; study assessments released; agreements on the "Free
Flow of Information;" law enforcement activities; efforts
related to intellectual property, border and long-haul trucking
enforcement; import licensing procedures; food and product safety
issues; energy (with special focus on oil); water as well; infrastructure
development; emergency management; and much more. It's all laid
out in deceptively understated tones to hide its continental aim
- enhanced corporate exploitation with as little public knowledge
Militarization will assure it, and consider one development up
North. On February 14, 2008, the US and Canada agreed to allow
American troops inside Canada. Canadians were told nothing or
that the agreement was reached in 2002. Neither was it discussed
in Congress or the Canadian House of Commons. It's for "bilateral
integration" of military command structures in areas of immigration,
law enforcement, intelligence, or whatever else the Pentagon or
Washington wishes. Overall, it's part of the "war on terror"
and militarizing the continent to make it "safer" for
business and be prepared for any civilian opposition.
Congress may soon pass SPP, but with no knowledge of its worst
provisions kept secret. It's to assure enough congressional support
makes it law. Nonetheless, federal, state and local opposition
is building. It ranges from private activism to vocal lawmakers.
In 2008, a dozen or more states passed resolutions against SPP.
Around 20 others did it in 2007. Congress began debating it last
year with opposition raised on various grounds - open borders,
unchecked immigration, a NAFTA Superhighway System, and the idea
of giving unregulated Mexican trucks free access to US roads and
There's also talk of replacing three national currencies with
an "Amero." Unfortunately, little is heard about trashing
the Constitution or giving corporate bosses free reign. There's
even less talk about a militarized continent against dissent.
SPP is a "new world order." Companies are plotting to
get it. People better hope they don't. Disruptive opposition might
derail them. It's building but needs more resonance to matter.
Time is short and slipping away. These schemers mean business.
They want our future. We can't afford to lose it.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.