FEBRUARY 18, 2011
Now that a federal agent has been murdered by a drug gang in Mexico, the Obama Administration promises to “look into” the crime-infested nation’s policy banningU.S. law enforcement officers from carrying weapons during official missions.That, of course, means that the U.S. government deploys federal agents intoMexico’s most violent regions unarmed. This may seem inconceivable considering that heavily armed drug cartels have taken over chunks of the country and Uncle Sam must send its overwhelmed government help to combat the growing crisis.In the last few years more than 34,000 murders have been associated with drug cartels and in 2010 serious crime connected to illicit narcotics operations hit record levels in scale and brutality. More than 13,000 people were murdered across Mexicoin disturbing and cruel ways not commonly seen in previous years, according to a report by a major newspaper in a border state. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton actually compared the drug-related violence in Mexico to a Colombia-style insurgency that devastated that South American nation a few decades ago.Earlier this week the ruthless Zetas cartel ambushed U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents stationed at the American Embassy in Mexico City as part of a human smuggling and border security enforcement task force. A 32-year-old special agent, Jaime Zapata, was murdered and another, Victor Avila, was shot twice in the leg. The men were traveling on a rural highway in an armored sports utility vehicle.In the aftermath of the vicious attack, Attorney General Erick Holder vows to look into perhaps changing the policy forbidding American law enforcement officers from carrying guns in Mexico. “We will look at this and we’ll do . . . an analysis of what it is that we need to do to make sure that everybody is as safe down there as we can make them,” Holder said during a news conference this week. Reading between the lines it’s probably best not to hold your breathe.Besides having around 30 ICE agents in Mexico, the U.S. has showered the country with more than $1 billion in the last few years to combat drug violence. The American tax dollars will keep pouring in under a multi-year program (known as theMerida Initiative) that also helps Central American nations, the Dominican Republicand Haiti fight crime. A disproportionate chunk of the cash goes to Mexico, however.
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