New US-Mexico Agreement Under Biden Leaves Failed Drug War Policies Intact

Top U.S. and Mexican officials launched a new “United States-Mexico Bicentennial Framework for Security, Public Health, and Safe Communities” in Mexico City on October 8, which laid the groundwork for further consultations along the same lines in Colombia and Ecuador (October 19-21). Configured at a summit meant to forget the failures of Mérida Initiative — the longstanding vehicle for the U.S.-Mexico dimension of the regional “drug war” — the new framework ostensibly aims to redefine the landscape of the two countries’ still-evolving and potentially highly contested relations in several key dimensions. Key participants included Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) and Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard (a leading contender to succeed him), plus U.S Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Department of Homeland Security(DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, and Attorney General Merrick Grland, among others.

The summit’s joint statement and fact sheetPrioritized issues related to trans-border criminality and drug policy, such an “evidence-based public health and public safety approach to reducing drug demand, overdoses, and saving lives, as well as a focus on ensuring racial equity, community based crime prevention, and the promotion of harm-reduction efforts.” All of this echoed the long discredited rhetoric of Plan Colombia, its key forerunner, while carefully avoiding any details as to the most critical dimensions of key unfolding issues at the U.S.-Mexico border and Mexico’s border with Guatemala, such as the de factoBinational management of the recent Haitian migration surge has complicated regional implications. But the essence of the new framework, as with the Mérida Initiative, is U.S support for, and complicity with, the “strategic fallacy” of continuing militarization of public security throughout Mexico and the regionAs a whole. Both countries were left with concrete, urgent human right issues. The ceremony was decontextualized. paragraph.

The summit was over by the end of the day over 10,000 Haitian migrantsWithin three weeks, over 8,000 people from the United States were expelled or deported from the Western Hemisphere. Several thousand more came from Cuba, Mexico, Cuba, and the Turks and Caicos Islands. Hundreds of them were intercepted at sea from the U.S. Coast Guard. This included complex, often secret collaboration on the ground between U.S. and Mexican authorities regarding the logistics and execution of these expulsions at Mexico’s northern and southern borders, and the presence of U.S. immigration agentsOn the ground in the area

These were mainly expulsions under emergency public health powers. Title 42Activated in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. without any assessmentIndividual and family protection, refuge, or asylum. There are no clear standards to distinguish between expelled individuals or those who were allowed to remain in the U.S. to file potential asylum claims.

All of these abuses are serious human rights violations that could rise to the level crime against humanity. They also reinforce deeply embedded elements of overall discrimination in the application of U.S. immigration policies against people of Haitian origin — and more broadly against immigrants of African descent — which have been characterized by recurrent patterns of abuse against Haitians since the 1980s. The underlying structural injustices in Haiti make it more difficult for migrants of Haitian origin to be subject to repeated violations. product of longstanding U.S. policies? including support for corrupt and repressive elites and their illegitimate régimes there, as elsewhere in Latin America.

Increasing outrage about these racist human rights crimesIn solidarity with Haitians and other Black immigrants, a National Day of Protest was organized in more than a dozen U.S. Cities. October 14A National Week of Action between October 10-16 As well as other actions in defense Cameroonian migrantsDuring deportation, were subjected to restraints that were equivalent to torture.

This is the single largest mass expulsion that the U.S. has ever undertaken. since “Operation Wetback” in 1954During the height of the convergence of deeply rooted Mexicans and deeply rooted Americans, hundreds of thousands of Mexicans had to be returned. traditions of anti-Mexican racist violence and the McCarthy era’s targeting of foreigners as national security threatsThis helped to create the conditions for renewed xenophobia, virulent white nationalism, and post-9/11, especially during Trump’s administration. But ironically, now it is under the ostensibly more progressive Biden administration and AMLO’s supposedly “leftist” leadership in Mexico that the two governments have colluded most deeply to undermine human rights on both sides of the border. This kind of complicity continues to be a guiding thread of the new “Bicentennial Framework.”

The U.S. has acquiesced in AMLO’s unprecedented deployment of the Mexican military and security agents to persecute migrants throughout Mexico, including the violent containment and repression of migrant caravansThere and in Guatemala. It also includes for the first time measures taken by Mexican officials to limit travel on public buses to passengers. proof of legal immigration statusIn order to avoid the type of crisis which led to the images showing Border Patrol agents using whips and reins against Haitian migrants in Del Rio Texas, Texas, There has been widespread collusion by Mexican authorities?In the meantime, the U.S. has taken regressive measures under both Trump and Biden. “Remain in Mexico” program and Title 42.

Persistent regional implications include Mexico’s increasingly direct role in containing and repressing migration flows throughout its territory in service to U.S. policy imperatives, at a high cost to its sovereignty and relations with neighboring countries of origin in the Mesoamerican region and the Caribbean (especially Haiti, Cuba and the Dominican Republic). Migration policy issues have also become much more central to hemispheric relations within the last few years in contexts such as Venezuela, Colombia and Panama, including Blinken’s leadership of a regional ministerial summit focused on migration issues during his trip to Bogotá.

The Mérida Initiative was launched in October 2007 with emphasis on Mexico’s role within the regional framework of the U.S. drug war and was further reinforced during Security of State Hilary Clinton’s tenure during the Obama administration. Its domestic counterparts in Mexico include unprecedented levels of militarization of public security during Felipe Calderón’s presidency between 2006 and 2012? which were further intensified by his successor, Enrique Peña Nieto, between 2012 and 2018, including Mexico’s Southern Border Plan,This was the first time that Mexico militarized its southern border with Guatemala in order to control immigration.

The results of the Mérida Initiative, in addition to increases in drug trafficking and consumption in both countries, have included a surge in serious human rights violationsCollaboration between civilian and military authorities with drug lords. This includes crimes of mass proportions like the San Fernando migrant massacre and mass graves in 2010 and 2011, and the disappearance of 43 students from the Rural Teachers’ College at Ayotzinapa2014. These mass crimes were committed within a broader framework, which now includes more than 100,000Forcibly disappearances dispersed among hundreds if mass graves throughout the country more than 200,000 civiliansThese deaths are likely to surpass those in Colombia over a longer period of time. In the meantime, there are tens to thousands of migrants have disappearedWho are still not included in this human rights holocaust. Key indicators for human rights have continued to worsenAMLO, who has relied more heavily on the military than his predecessors to sustain his authoritarian rule. with U.S. funding and support.

A closer U.S.-Mexico cooperation within the framework of drug war has also been associated with extraordinary cases of corruption in Mexico at the highest level, including prosecutions for its successive public security and drug cartel czars. Genaro García Luna (Calderón’s coordinator of public security between 2006 and 2012) and Gen. Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda (the country’s defense minister between 2012 and 2018), as well as several state governorsIn cartel-controlled territories like Veracruz, Tamaulipas, and QuintanaRoo.

Despite the shifts in packaging and rhetoric between the previous versions of the Mérida Initiative and the new Bicentennial Framework, nothing fundamental is likely to change in the devastating patterns and consequences described above, until the structural failures of the drug war and its inherent tendencies towards militarization and corruption are finally abandoned. The root cause of this is the deeply embedded inequities between the U.S. and Mexico relations, and more broadly U.S. relations with Latin America. These relations are still shaped by the outdated pretensions to regional hegemony. A renewed process of Latin American and Caribbean integration “from below” in resistance to U.S. hegemony, including the persistent impositions of the drug war and of “free” trade in contexts such as Mexico and Colombia, is the crucial next step as U.S. domination begins to wane regionally and globally.