Here's the backstory: The U.S. offers money to other countries so they can join our glorious war on drugs. To get the money--and here's the catch--other countries had to pass a formal (now less formal) "certification" process where we tell them if they're doing enough to fight the war on drugs, if their judicial system is good, and if their human rights record passes our test. We obviously can judge these things, you know, because our record in the war on drugs has been nothing but success after success in what is now a drug-free America!
Mexico considered certification a violation of its sovereignty. "Why don't we tell the Americans to use those [funds] for their own interdiction forces or interception forces ... and stop the flow of weapons," [Mexican assistant attorney general for international affairs] Santiago Vasconcelos said in a radio interview. "Rather than giving them to Mexico, they can be used by the Americans to reinforce their Customs service, their Border Patrol, and stop the arms trafficking to our country."
I'm always amazed how arrogant the war on drugs makes us. Mexican police are getting killed in battle right and left, but we'll tell them if they're doing enough to fight drugs. Can you imagine our reaction if, after September 11, 2001, other countries offered us big bucks but only if we could certify to their standards that we were really serious about fighting terrorists?
What if Mexico offered us billions of pesos to protect New Orleans from hurricane damage, but only if we let their army corp of engineers certify the quality of our levies? (I mention this example because time and time again, Mexico proves very able at hurricane disaster relief. Kudos to them.)
Can you imagine how insulted we would be if Cuba offered us billions of dollars, but only if we, say, ended the practice of electing judges, abolished the death penalty, found a way to cut our prison population by 80%, and agreed to end our Cuban embargo?
As soon as New Orleans was destroyed by hurricane Katrina, Cuba offered us 1,500 doctors and 26 tones of medicine and aid. No strings attached (except political embarrassment)! We turned them down. Seems we were already doing a heck of a job. About 2,000 people died (we don’t even know for sure) and we couldn't get clean water in for days.
Anyway, I hope Mexico does tell the U.S. to stuff it. Often these countries know the war on the drugs is stupid and hurts them, but $1.4 billion sure is tough to turn down. That’s a lot of change to fill a lot of pockets. If we bribe enough people, they'll poison their fields or arm militias or whatever else we tell them to do. I've been to both Mexico and Egypt, and let me tell you, they sure have nice police cars… thanks to our money. Too bad none of this money is going to the Baltimore P.D.