Congress scales back "Plan Mexico"
As part of an emergency appropriations bill, the Senate May 22 approved $350 million in drug war aid to Mexico, with an adittional $100 million for Central America, the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Reducing the Bush administration's request for $500 million to Mexico and $50 million to Central America, the Senate also adopted language that would hold up a quarter of the funds until the State Department rules that Mexico is meeting human rights markers. The House approved $400 million for Mexico, with similar provisions. Differences need to be worked out in a joint conference. "Human rights abuses in the army are routinely investigated by the military itself, and that leads to impunity," said Tamara Taraciuk of Human Rights Watch. "The big issue is accountability." (NYT, May 23) The Senate bill also provides $165 billion for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan into 2009. (AP, May 23)