By Lourdes Cardenas
(Courtesy of  The El Paso Times)


rickperryGovernor Rick Perry ‘s statement supporting the idea of sending U.S. troops to help Mexico fight the drug cartels will create controversy on the other side of the border. It is ironic that Perry made that statement exactly one day before Mexicans will celebrate the centennial of the revolution that ended up the 26-year dictatorship of General Porfirio Díaz.

Mexicans do not have good memories of U.S. interventions. You need only to mention the 1846-1848 U.S-Mexico War–when Mexico lost a big part of its territory–to provoke a complete rejection of any idea of American intervention.

Historically, Mexicans have not viewed American intervention as support for the people (el pueblo). When they have come into the country, Americans have supported the interests of private companies or they have backed politicians hated by the people.

In 1906, for example, when Porfirio Diaz was still in power, American troops came into the country to help the dictator to crush a miners’ strike in Cananea, Sonora.

The mine, Cananea Consolidated Copper Company, was owned by William C. Greene, who asked for help from the government of Arizona. In response to his petition, the government sent a group of rangers to protect the company’s facilities and to quell the unrest. In doing so, the rangers were actively involved in the killing of several of the rebel miners.  The Cananea strike is considered a precursor to the Revolution.

Eight years later, U.S. troops invaded again, this time to occupy Veracruz and to reject the government of Victoriano Huerta, which, by the way, came into power due to the assistance of the infamous US Ambassador Henry Lane Wilson. The U.S intervention in Veracruz lasted six months. And again, in 1916, U.S. troops were sent to Mexico to pursue Pancho Villa, who had dared to invade the US through Columbus, Nuevo Mexico. General Brigadier John J. Pershing was appointed by President Wilson to lead an army of 4,800 troops on a punitive expedition into Mexico.  However, the mission failed.

The problems that Mexico is facing now are totally different from the ones that prevailed during the revolution, but the America’s special interests in Mexico are as strong as they were during the 20th Century.  Shared concerns such as immigration, border security, trade, investment, flow of capital, among others, could explain Perry’s suggestion about sending troops to Mexico. Mexicans are very concerned about the violence of the drug war and they want a solution to the problem, but that doesn’t mean that they support a foreign intervention of troops, although they would support more American involvement in terms of training and financial help.

Last August, the Pew Research Center released a survey that showed that 78 percent of Mexicans favor the US providing training to Mexican police and military personnel.

“A smaller majority (57%) favors the U.S. providing money and weapons to Mexican police and military personnel, down slightly from 63% last year… Opposition to the deployment of U.S. troops in Mexico has also increased from an already high 59% last year to 67% in the current survey.”

The Pew survey also showed that the support for American assistance to Mexican forces tends to be strongest in northern Mexico, where the violence has affected people more directly and dramatically. Mexico and the US have been working together to fight drug trafficking because this is a problem that concerns and affects both countries. As we know, through the Merida Initiative the US is helping Mexico with over $1.3 billion for police professionalization, judicial and prison reform, border security, intelligence and many other issues.

Furthermore, according to Mexican magazine Proceso, the US has already established a bi-national center of intelligence in Mexico, from where agents from the CIA, DEA, ATF and the Pentagon are already investigating drug trafficking organizations and organized crime.

If the US is already helping Mexico and getting involved in the drug war –through training, research, intelligence and resources–why would Perry voice such an absurd idea?

(Ed. Note: Governor Perry is famous for making fatuous statements, viz. his call for Texas to secede from the Union. This is more than stupid, it is deeply offensive. Perry seems to have forgotten a war in which hundreds of thousands of brave Americans fought and died over this very issue. Perry also seems to have overlooked the fact that if such a secession came to pass, all federal military installations and financial assistance would quickly vanish, causing Texas to immediately thereafter declare bankruptcy. This all makes me wonder how my beloved home-state of Texas can elect such mentally-challenged politicians. AG)

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