US Intervention in Latin America Essay

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3 Plan Colombia and the Mérida Initiative—waging war to advance capitalist globalization As illustrated above for much of the twentieth century different U.S. governments have promoted prohibitionist drug control policies focused upon the destruction of illegal drug production, drug interdiction, and the arrest/killing of cartel leaders. This prohibitionist campaign was escalated and militarized beginning in the 1980s coinciding with a social structure of accumulation in which market liberalization and increasing “surplus populations” were marginalized through greater criminalization, incarceration, and drug war repression. For much of the administration of Bill Clinton (1993–2001) drug policy continued this prohibitionist mission, repeatedly enacting politically advantageous “get tough” on crime bills that were fully supported by a “narco-­enforcement complex” that mushroomed during the Reagan and Bush administrations (Bertram et al. 1996, 116–127). Plan Colombia and the Mérida Initiative were striking examples of the ratcheting up of U.S. foreign drug control policy. The two largest U.S. foreign drug war policies in terms of committed budgetary resources, Plan Colombia (initiated in 2000) and the Mérida Initiative in Mexico (initiated in 2008), involved billions in U.S. aid primarily to military and police forces in Colombia and Mexico over multiple years, prioritizing law enforcement and the strengthening of security forces over alternative strategies. In addition, they both represented unprecedented levels of U.S.–Latin American cooperation over counternarcotics strategies despite the ostensibly different ideological orientations of the Clinton and Bush administrations (Lozano Vázquez and Rebolledo Flores 2015, 241; Velazquez Flores and Schiavon 2009, 95; Mares 2006, 116). The trend begun in the late 1980s and early 1990s with the George H.W. Bush Administration to stress cooperation/consensus in order to legitimize drug war policies was continued with these governments and into the Obama administration. This process has been aided by the existence of transnational factions in Colombia and Mexico prepared to institute this key part of a transnational grand strategy. In the specific cases of Plan Colombia and the Mérida Initiative the initiation and development of these plans were led by globalist factions or transnationally oriented elites within and outside the U.S., Colombian, and Mexican states that developed and promoted these policies. The continuation of ineffectual prohibitionist policies in Latin America is in part explained by how these policies helped to facilitate more central goals of U.S., 62   Plan Colombia and the Mérida Initiative Mexican, and Colombian foreign/domestic policies. In fact, these programs did little to actually change the role of Colombia and Mexico in the illegal drug industry. While the Medellín and Cali cartels of the 1980s and 1990s were dismantled long before Plan Colombia they were simply replaced by smaller organizations that effectively consolidated production and distribution within Colombia, with Mexican traffickers playing a growing role in the country as well (Insight Crime 2017). Criminal groups such as the Urabenos, the Rastrojos, as well as specific guerrilla units of the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarios de Colombia (FARC) and Ejercito de Liberación Nacional (ELN) presently play central roles in this trade, though the FARC’s peace negotiations with the government between 2014 and 2016 has substantially reduced their role (ibid.). Seven years after the announcement of the Merida Initiative Mexico was still considered a major transit and source country for illicit drugs for the U.S. and a center for money laundering (U.S. State Department Narcotics Report 2015, 235). In 2006, the year that Felipe Calderón was elected president, there were three to four major DTOs: the Tijuana/Arellano Felix Organization (AFO), the Sinaloa Cartel, the Juárez/Vicente Carillo Fuentes Organization (CFO), and the Gulf Cartel. By the end of his administration these major groups had fractured, with the DEA estimating that there were seven dominant organizations while others suggested a number as high as sixty to eighty different groups, though not all with the regional or global reach of cartels such as Sinaloa, the Gulf Cartel, or Los Zetas (Beittel 2013, 9–10). Despite the failure to make progress on the stated rationales for these policies other objectives were achieved. In Colombia, U.S. technology and intelligence obtained through Plan Colombia was instrumental in helping the Colombian government severely weaken radical, anti-­neoliberal guerrilla armies (Hylton 2011, 2). The expanded security from guerrilla attacks contributed to a tripling of foreign direct investment in Colombia’s extractive sector during the first ten years of Plan Colombia (Hylton 2011, 10). Formal market changes to the economy were also an important part of Plan Colombia, as fifty-­two areas of Colombia’s economy were targeted for neoliberal reforms by the USAID during the implementation of the plan (Paley 2015, 115). Finally, in the first decade of the Plan trade unionists throughout Colombia continued to be targeted for assassinations and hundreds of thousands of Colombians were displaced from their lands, with much of this territory being obtained by Colombia’s landowning elite or extractivist sectors. By 2009 it was clear that these drug trafficking paramilitary groups enjoyed an array of connections with local, regional, and national governmental leaders—many of whom were allies with President Uribe (2002–2010). In fact, Uribe himself was implicated by a 1991 report from the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency as working with Medellín cartel when he was a senator and as being a “close personal friend” of Pablo Escobar (as cited in Kozloff and Weinberg n.d.). During Uribe’s administration the armed forces were implicated in a “false positives” scandal that involved Colombian soldiers killing unarmed civilians Plan Colombia and the Mérida Initiative   63 and dressing them up as FARC guerrillas with the aim of improving their combat statistics. Approximately 3,000 Colombians would be killed in this way by the U.S. backed military, the vast majority after 2002 (Isacson 2010; Semana 2014). Finally, the U.S. backed Administrative Department for Security (DAS), the Colombian President’s intelligence service, was involved in coordinating military operations with paramilitary groups and providing lists of labor leaders, human rights defenders, and opposition leaders to be killed (Isacson 2010). These crimes against humanity, crimes that were similar to pre-­Plan Colombia ones, did nothing to stop U.S. “drug war” assistance to Colombia’s security forces. The Mérida Initiative, which prioritized assisting the Mexican military and police, coincided with a 1,000 percent increase of alleged abuses by its armed forces during the first three years of the Calderón administration, with 4,772 reports of human rights related complaints reported to Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission (Haugaard et al. 2011, 4). One study by the Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE), a Mexican research center, found that homicide rates increased by 8 percent in those communities where the army was deployed (9 percent where they were active) (Ahmed 2017). In fact, between 2006 and September 2014, at least 3,600 civilians were killed in confrontations with Mexico’s armed forces—including the 2014 massacre of twenty-­two individuals in Tlatlaya (Washington Office on Latin America 2015). These violations often occurred against human rights, environmental, and social justice activists (Amnesty International 2010, 9–14). The International Civil Commission on Human Rights reported in 2008 that “there have been widespread arbitrary arrests of members of social movements … To justify the arrests false evidence is used … even false accusations of possession of drugs or arms … The logic behind all of this is to criminalize the members of social movements” (as cited in Mercille 2011, 1648). Like in the case of Colombia, the idea of maintaining Mexican stability in the face of domestic threats was promoted in the Bush Administration and the Obama administration. Mexico was ranked first by the director of National Intelligence in February of 2009 in the “arc of instability” while the undersecretary of the Army Joseph W. Westphal stated in February of 2011 that “… drug trafficking cartels of Mexico are a form of insurgency and potentially could take control of the Mexican government” (as cited in Tokatlian 2015, 72–73). The reported fears of the Mexican government being under siege was in part belied by the anecdotal and arrest data evidence that the most powerful Mexican cartel (the Sinaloa cartel) received protection from the Felipe Calderón administration (2006–2012) while human rights violations by the Mexican army and police (central recipients of U.S. aid) significantly increased (National Public Radio 2010). The Obama administration’s rhetoric about the “threat” to the Mexican government coincided with a decade-­long trend of U.S. foreign policy in the region in which fears about the “ungoverned spaces” of the region were pointed to as justification for U.S. security assistance and the various programs promoted by U.S. SOUTHCOM. 64   Plan Colombia and the Mérida Initiative For example, in 2003 SOUTHCOM commander General James Hill argued that “… today’s foe is the terrorist, the narcotrafficker, the arms trafficker, the document forger…. This threat is a weed that is planted, grown and nurtured in the fertile ground of ungoverned spaces such as coastlines, rivers and unpopulated border areas” (as cited in Emerson 2010, 42). When the “drug war” is not the explicit pretext, the strengthened Mexican police and army have been utilized to repress anti-­neoliberal social movements. A recent example of such an outcome took place in Qaxaca, Mexico in June of 2016. Teachers on a month-­ long strike against the implementation of a national neoliberal educational reform were attacked by Mexican federal police seeking to remove them from roadblocks in different parts of Qaxaca. Eight teachers were killed by these police who had received millions in U.S. drug war funding in the previous eight years under the Merida Initiative (Gallón and Berlinger 2016). Grassroots activists and anti-­privatization campaigners have been assassinated in states such as Chihuahua as part of anti-­drug/anti-­terror operations while Zapatista communities in Chiapas have been attacked as part of Calderón’s anti-­cartel offensive (Carlsen 2008, 21). The widespread repression of oppositional forces that has been facilitated by U.S. drug war monies and training in Mexico and Colombia is in part a reflection of the policy elites that were key to planning these strategies in the United States. Elites that had no qualms with expanding U.S. cooperation with compromised forces in Mexico and Colombia given the alleged gains for “stability,” the “rule of law” and progress against drug trafficking organizations. Within both the Clinton and Bush administration key state managers involved in advancing U.S. foreign drug policies enjoyed important links to transnational corporations and/or corporate dominated policymaking groups such as the Council on Foreign Relations or the Woodrow Wilson Center. They were individuals closely interconnected with the leading social forces in this period of accelerating capitalist globalization and included key foreign policymakers (such as secretary of state, secretary of defense, National Security Advisor, and Secretary of Treasury). The research of Van Apeldoorn and de Graaf (2014) found fifteen individuals with forty-­one corporate affiliations in the Clinton administration and twenty-­two individuals with eighty-­nine corporate affiliations in the case of the Bush administration (44). In addition, in both cases, the corporate policy making group the Council on Foreign Relations was represented in their Secretaries of State, National Security Advisors, and Defense Secretaries. Table 3.1 and Table 3.2 illustrate these key individuals as well as their corporate affiliations (and the number of affiliations) as well as their membership in corporate dominated think tanks. As will be shown below, these corporate links and membership corporate policymaking groups were shared by policymakers dealing with “drug war” policies in all three countries, facilitating cooperation behind repressive, neoliberal advancing drug control policies. Thus, the “foreign policy establishment,” described by Page and Jacobs (2005) as consisting of state managers in foreign policy institutions within the U.S. and internationally oriented U.S. based Plan Colombia and the Mérida Initiative   65 Table 3.1 Clinton administration Name and position Corporate affiliations Corporate dominated policymaking organization Bill Clinton, President Received over 130 million CFR, Trilateral dollars for speeches to Commission corporate interests between 2001 and 2015 Madeline Albright (Ambassador 4 to the UN/Secretary of State) Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) Samuel Berger, Deputy National Security Advisor 6 CFR Warren Christopher, Secretary of State 5 CFR Arturo Valenzuela, Deputy Assistant Secretary for InterAmerican Affairs in the U.S. State Department 1 CFR Thomas Pickering, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs 2 CFR, Trilateral Commission Gen. Barry McCafferty, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy 1 CFR William Perry, Secretary of Defense 17 CFR William Cohen, Secretary of Defense 2 CFR, Trilateral Commission, Partnership for a Secure America (PSA) U.S. Ambassador to Colombia, Myles Frechette (1994–1997) 1 Senior Associate, CSIS; former President and Chief Executive Officer of the Americas Society and Council of the Americas; Executive Director of the North American-Peruvian Business Council U.S. Ambassador to Colombia, Curtis Kamman (1998–2000) Career foreign service U.S. Ambassador to Colombia, Anne Patterson (2000–2003) Career foreign service, InterAmerican Dialogue Associate Source: Van Apeldoon and de Graff (2014, 43–44); author’s searches of online biographical material, policymaking groups’ membership rolls and corporate websites. 66   Plan Colombia and the Mérida Initiative Table 3.2 Bush administration Name and position Corporate Corporate dominated affiliates policymaking organization John Bolton, Under Secretary of State/ Ambassador to the UN 5 CFR, American Enterprise Institute (AEI) John Negroponte, Ambassador to the UN/ 6 Deputy Secretary of State CFR, Trilateral Commission Colin Powell, Secretary of State 6 CFR Condoleeza Rice, National Security Advisor/Secretary of State 8 CFR Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense 16 CFR, Hoover Institution, Project for a New American Century Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense 6 CFR Kimberly Breier, National Security Council’s Office of Western Hemisphere Affairs 1 National Policy Association, CSIS Tony Garza, U.S. Ambassador to Mexico John Walters, Office of National Drug Control Policy 1 CFR Hudson Institute Source: Van Apeldoon and de Graff (2014, 43–44); author’s searches of online biographical material, policymaking groups’ membership rolls and corporate websites. businesses, transcended U.S. territory and also involved transnational elites and transnational corporations operating from other national territories. This transnational community was central to the unprecedented cooperation over drug war policy that occurred with Plan Colombia and the Mérida Initiative. U.S., Mexican, and Colombian members of the transnational elite worked through their respective state institutions to implement drug policies that would not only address specific “drug war” objectives (the arrest/killing drug “kingpins” or the eradication of coca crops) but serve the larger interests of transnational capital often at the expense of progress against the illegal drug economy. These included: • • • • Greater military-­military relations and operational cooperation on a transnational basis; Exporting the mass incarceration/criminal justice model to address socioeconomic problems; Utilizing strengthened security forces to facilitate foreign direct investment; Provide profitable opportunities for private military and security contractors. Many of these goals are highlighted by Bush’s Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Thomas Shannon, in an April 2008 speech where Plan Colombia and the Mérida Initiative   67 he highlighted how North American security cooperation and the Mérida Initiative views: … North America as a shared economic space and that as a shared economic space we need to protect it, and that we need to understand that we don’t protect this economic space only at our frontiers, that it has to be protected more broadly throughout North America.… we’re armoring NAFTA. (Shannon 2008, emphasis mine) The need for greater security and strengthened states was also highlighted in the 2004 report of the U.S. National Intelligence Council,1 Mapping the Global Future, which stresses the irreversibility of globalization and the emergence of internal conflicts: At their most extreme, internal conflicts can result in failing or failed states, with expanses of territory and populations devoid of effective governmental control. Such territories can become sanctuaries for transnational terrorists (such as al-­Qa’ida in Afghanistan) or for criminals and drug cartels (such as in Colombia). (National Intelligence Council 2004, 14) Plan Colombia and the Mérida Initiative represented policies that internalized this global capitalist agenda within the policy itself, an outcome that is not surprising given the role that a transnational foreign policy establishment played in crafting these policies. The following will illustrate the specific role of this elite in the making and promoting of these two counternarcotic programs. Plan Colombia The late 1980s and early 1990s was a period of economic transition in Colombia, as a transnational elite came to national power and initiated a series of neoliberal economic measures. These policies were more or less maintained and expanded throughout the 1990s and have been national economic strategies for the presidential administrations that have governed to the present-­day. Colombia has become a more attractive destination for FDI, a free trade agreement with the United States has been instituted and labor protections have been weakened since the early 1990s. Throughout the 1990s Colombia experienced increasing rates of unemployment due to the opening of its economy with the agrarian sector being hit the hardest with the steady elimination of unemployment opportunities. This deteriorating economic context forced “… more and more agrarian workers to abandon their traditional crops and engage in drug production or join either the irregular guerrilla armies or the paramilitaries” (Ahumada and Andrews 1998, 462). Landownership in Colombia is one of the most concentrated in the world, with 0.4 percent of landowners owning 61.2 percent of registered agricultural 68   Plan Colombia and the Mérida Initiative land, while 97 percent of landowners control only 24.2 percent of registered agricultural land (Calligaro and Isacson 2004). In 2004, Colombia’s Comptroller General concluded that Colombia was the third most unequal country in Latin America (Calligaro and Isacson 2004). The country’s informal labor market steadily increased during this period, standing at over 50 percent in 2013 while its domestic drug war legislation contributed to a 300 percent increase in its prison population between 1991 and 2014 (Metaal and Youngers 2011). Prohibitionist drug policies had little effect upon major drug trafficking, but disproportionately punished the most marginal links of its illegal drug industry. In their study of the Colombia’s drug policies and prison population Rodrigo Uprimny Yepes and Diana Esther Guzmán conclude that: … the vast majority of persons incarcerated for drug offenses has played only a minor part in the drug cycle, and so are easily replaced in the networks of manufacturing and trafficking; they generally have limited schooling and have lived amidst precarious socioeconomic conditions. (2011, 49) In essence, they are part of the surplus population that global capitalism and neoliberalism simply has little use for, a population that is marginalized and imprisoned on the basis of Colombia’s domestic war on drugs. The economic policies that have been aggressively promoted by the USA globally, and within Colombia by a transnational elite since the early 1990s, have contributed to a socio-­ economic environment conducive to the illegal production of coca and the trafficking of cocaine. By the end of the 1990s Colombia had become the central producer of coca in the world while facing a powerful anti-­globalization armed insurgency in different parts of the country. This was in large part due to what is referred to as the “balloon effect,” as successful coca eradication progress in Peru and Bolivia in the 1990s led to a shifting of coca production to Colombia, as traffickers consolidated much of their operations within the country.2 The resulting increase in coca production, coupled with the defeat of the Medellín and Cali cartels opened up increasingly profitable opportunities for right-­wing paramilitary organizations and the FARC, allowing both groups to expand their operations and presence throughout the country. The priority for elites in Colombia and the United States, as it had been for decades, was not the rising power of paramilitary groups whose violence often went hand in hand with protecting foreign direct investments and/or creating opportunities for export markets, but the power of the FARC. The FARC was founded in 1964 and represents the longest existing guerrilla force in Latin America. The organization reached its military heights in the late 1990s and early 2000s, maintaining military units throughout Colombia with a fighting force of approximately 20,000 under arms and tens of thousands more providing financing, shelter, and political support in other capacities. Over the decades it has been committed to a struggle against, at least rhetorically, Plan Colombia and the Mérida Initiative   69 “imperialism and neo-­liberalism” and toward a “world where capitalist exploitation is finally brought to an end” (FARC-­EP 2016). In response to the increasing strength of the FARC and Colombia’s seeming inability to arrest its progress in June 1999, an inter-­agency group was established within the Clinton Administration to develop an integral proposal to ostensibly assist the Colombian government with what were presented as drug-­related challenges. The armed insurgency, the FARC, enjoyed an important stream of revenue through the taxation of different segments of the production process related to the cocaine trade. This allowed both the U.S. and Colombian governments to present them as part of the larger challenge associated with illegal drug trafficking. However, as retired U.S. army officer Stan Goff notes, the justification of counternarcotics was historically utilized to promote counterinsurgency tactics, writing that “When I was training Colombian Special Forces in Tolemeida in 1992, my team was there allegedly to aid the counter-­narcotics effort. Narcotics were the cover story for a similar trip to Peru in 1991. In both cases we were giving military forces training in infantry counter-­insurgency doctrine” (1999). The inter-­agency group was led by Arturo Valenzuela, Thomas Pickering, and Sandy Berger, and involved experts from the Department of State, the Pentagon’s Southern Command, the Department of Justice, the Treasury, the Central Intelligence Agency, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) (García 2001, 227–228). This group consulted closely with U.S. officials in the U.S. embassy in Colombia and members of Andres Pastrana’s administration (1998–2002), including the Colombian military and national police (García 2001, 228). The partnership between Thomas Pickering, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, and General Barry McCaffrey (retired), head of the Office of National Drug Control Policy “… would form the basis of the Clinton administration’s new policies towards Colombia” (Crandall 2002, 162) and Colombianist Arlene Tickner claimed that visits by Thomas Pickering to Colombia in August of 1999 “planted the seed for Plan Colombia” (Tickner 2001, 223). McCaffrey had also been the former commander of the U.S. SOUTHCOM. Ostensibly, these meetings in the U.S. were focused upon supporting plans being developed in Colombia, but the centrality of U.S. financing to the Plan would give U.S. planners greater weight in the policy results. The number one strategic objective of the original plan that was proposed by Colombia in September of 1999 was to strengthen the fight against drug trafficking and destroy drug trafficking organizations (Salgado Tamayo 2000, 2). It emphasized the importance of “strengthening” Colombia’s armed forces and the “rule of law” as key to successful development and resolving Colombia’s political crisis. The economic strategy that would be employed was one focused upon balancing the national fiscal budget, expanding exports and creating incentives for greater private investment (Bergquist et al. 2001, 234). This Colombian development plan was aided by the legislation signed into law by Bill Clinton in July 2000, legislation that would be popularly referred to as Plan Colombia. 70   Plan Colombia and the Mérida Initiative The legislation committed approximately $1.6 billion dollars over two years, with over 70 percent of U.S. assistance devoted primarily to Colombian military and law enforcement for an invasion of southern Colombia, the central region for coca growth in the country and a stronghold of the FARC. Plan Colombia would continue to receive U.S. support at similar levels in the years that would follow with Colombia receiving approximately $10 billion drug war assistance as of 2016. Eighty percent of this aid went to Colombia’s security forces prior to 2008, and 70 percent since 2008, and allowed for the training of over 90,000 Colombian military and law enforcement personnel, the supplying of twenty Black Hawk helicopters and over eighty Huey helicopters, over twenty different aircraft (including multiple spray planes to poison coca fields), over one hundred boats and other related military material (Washington Office on Latin America 2016). Plan Colombia would be a central part of an expansion of U.S. spending on drug interdiction/supply reduction with a total of $45 billion spent between 1981 and 2004, but one-­third of that amount being spent between 2000 and 2004 (Freisendorf 2007, 13). The two leaders of Clinton’s Colombian policy team, Arturo Valenzuela and Pickering, were both members of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). After his tenure in the Clinton administration, Pickering, would go on to take a Senior Vice-­President position in the transnational corporation, Boeing. In 2006, Pickering would represent Boeing at the annual World Economic Forum, an international organization dedicated to creating partnerships between TNCs and political elites to help shape and manage “global, regional and industry agendas” (World Economic Forum, n.d.). Clinton’s ONDCP’s director, General Barry McCaffrey, would later go on to become a member of the international advisory board for Fleishman-­Hillard, a communications consulting firm that advises corporations on their investment strategies in the USA and throughout the world. The career paths of Pickering and McCaffrey suggest their ideological sympathies to a globalist orientation. Their view is not surprising given the globalist orientation of the Clinton administration whose 1998 National Security Strategy for a New Century called for the enlargement of “free-­market democracies” as well as the maintenance of a global U.S. role in order to “ensure that the world remains stable so the international economic system can flourish” (The White House 1998, 9). Furthermore the document asserts that “the ultimate objective of our (economic) reform efforts is a stable, resilient global financial system that promotes strong global economic growth providing benefits broadly to workers and investors in all countries” (The White House 1998, 31, emphasis mine). This 1998 strategy followed the Clinton administration’s 1994 National Drug Strategy Report, which concluded that “market-­oriented governments are much easier to work with and more willing to cooperate with the international community in a common effort against the illicit drug industry” (as cited in Andreas 1995, 76) while the 1996 National Drug Strategy Report emphasized that: Drug-­related corruption, intimidation, and dirty money undermine democratic governments and free-­market economies around the world … [and] Plan Colombia and the Mérida Initiative   71 Foreign-­based trafficking organizations are a direct and increasing threat to democracy and free-­market economies abroad. (The White House 1996, 13; 41) In fact, the 1999 Western Hemisphere Drug Elimination Act refers to the U.S. military’s “Global Military Policy” and demands that the U.S. Defense Department place its counter-­drug mission as a higher priority, just below engaging in actual wars (U.S. House of Representatives/U.S. Senate 2006, 362–363). The 1990s was also a period in which the DEA, the FBI, and the CIA expanded their counter-­drug operations around the globe, training European officers in Hungary, supporting Thai troops in various jungle operations, working against traffickers in Nigeria as well as linking various bilateral treaties with the extradition of drug trafficking suspects (Friesendorf 2008, 11). Members of the U.S. Congress, such as Senators Bob Graham and Mike DeWine, were also actively involved in the development of Plan Colombia. DeWine was one of the co-­sponsors of legislation in October 1998 to increase resources for the “drug war” and for Colombia in particular (García 2001, 247). Both Graham and DeWine worked with the CFR and the policy-­making group, the InterAmerican Dialogue (ID), in special task forces focusing on the Colombian situation. The ID is a Washington DC-­based policy planning organization with members from all over Latin America comprising corporate executives, scholars, and politicians. Key Clinton appointees for Latin American policy were selected from the Dialogue (Oppenheimer 1993). The ID was founded in 1982 with the stated goals of promoting democracy, economic reform and economic integration, that is, neoliberalism, throughout Latin America. The primary funders of the ID include TNCs, international financial institutions, foundations (including the MacArthur Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation) and governmental institutions (including the United States Agency for International Development, United Kingdom Department for International Development) (InterAmerican Dialogue 2002, 32–35). An independent review of the Dialogue activities concluded that the ID had become “the most important hemispheric policy forum, and that no other independent institution could match [its] access to policy makers and private opinion leaders in the Americas” (InterAmerican Dialogue 2002). The ID, like the CFR, maintains a special “corporate circle” for membership by domestic corporations and TNCs. The special task force organized by the ID and the CFR released an interim report before the final congressional vote on Plan Colombia in March of 2000 that was consistent with the broad goals of the Clinton administration’s plan and the means required to achieve those goals, that is, the strengthening of Colombia’s army and internationalization of its economy. Fifty percent of the signatories of the task force’s interim report worked for TNCs, law/financial firms that represented TNCs, or think tanks that disproportionately received funding from TNCs (Council on Foreign Relations 2000). In the end, a U.S. faction of the transnational elite/transnational capitalist class was central in the development and promotion of Plan Colombia. 72   Plan Colombia and the Mérida Initiative The Bush administration would continue the agenda that the Clinton administration began, shifting more overtly to direct U.S. support of Colombia’s counter-­insurgency war. Specifically, funding was made available to the Department of Defense to support a unified campaign by the Government of Colombia against narcotics trafficking and against activities by organizations designated as terrorist organizations, such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the National Liberation Army (ELN), and the United Self-­Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC). (U.S. House of Representatives/U.S. Senate 2006, 222) This was in line with a more aggressive posture in the region after 9/11. For example, after 9/11 SOUTHCOM effectively utilized the label of “narcoterrorists” to demonstrate the centrality of its role in the “war on terrorism” wedding it directly to the “illegal drug threat” (Tokatlian 2015, 79). In fact, in the Defense Authorization Law of 2002 the central enemies of their various missions in the region were changed from “narcotraffickers” to “narcoterrorists” in sections 1004 and 1035 of the law (Emerson 2010, 43). In the 2000s SOUTHCOM would also seek a role in “fostering prosperity” through developing training programs in the “internal security” field; increasing the number of so-­called cooperative security locations; supporting a joint military unit initiative in Central America “to carry out stabilization operations” in this subregion; collaborating with Latin American countries in the development of “national security strategies”; and improving the definition of the Department of Defense’s role in “the political and socio-­economic development processes” in the region. (Tokatlian 2015, 80) The Bush administration also went further in directly assisting the U.S. based transnational Occidental Petroleum, by designating $100 million to finance a special Colombian brigade to protect its central oil pipeline. Between 1990 and 1999, the production of oil in Colombia increased by 78 percent, making it the largest source of export revenues for the Colombian economy. This oil is extracted almost entirely by TNCs such as British Petroleum and Occidental Petroleum (Dudley and Murillo 1998, 42–46). In justifying the Bush administration’s financing of oil pipeline defense, U.S. ambassador to Colombia, Anne Patterson, argued that the pipeline plan was “something we have to do … It is important for the future of the country, for our petroleum supplies and for the confidence of our investors” (Washington Office on Latin America 2003b, 4). The relationship between energy interests and Plan Colombia is clearly outlined by Secretary of Energy during the Clinton administration (1998–2000), Bill Richardson, speaking in Cartagena, Colombia in 1999: “The United States and its allies will invest millions of dollars in two areas of the Colombian economy, Plan Colombia and the Mérida Initiative   73 in the areas of mining and energy, and to secure these investments we are tripling military aid to Colombia” (Ramirez Cuellar 2005, 32).3 According to a 2005 report of the Colombian mining worker’s union SINTRAMINERCOL, Plan Colombia provided for the construction of three counternarcotics bases in “energy and mineral-­rich zones where foreign companies are trying to gain a foothold” (Ramirez Cuellar 2005, 36). US-­based companies such as Occidental Petroleum had invested hundreds of millions of dollars into the Colombian oil economy and had been suffering repeated attacks by leftist guerrillas upon its oil pipelines in the country for over a decade. Occidental not only directly lobbied in favor of the U.S. contribution to Plan Colombia, but also financially contributed monies to various congressional campaigns, spending over $8.6 million lobbying the U.S. government between 1996 and 2000 and specifically promoting an increase in U.S. military aid to Colombia (PBS Frontline 2002). Along with the oil industry private military contractors such as DynCorps and MPRI, with operations in scores of countries, have benefitted greatly from Plan Colombia. They earned over $1 billion a year in the first five years of Plan Colombia facilitating the eradication of coca and/or in the monitoring of drug traffickers (McCallion 2005, 320). Finally, the Bush administration, like the Clinton administration, consistently waived human rights concerns despite extensive evidence of brutal massacres by paramilitary groups working with the armed forces. According to Scott Wilson, a Latin American correspondent for the Washington Post, U.S. officials at the time viewed these drug trafficking paramilitary groups as providing “… the force that the army did not yet have. The group served as a placeholder for the more professional U.S.-trained force that would come along years later” (Wilson 2009). This transnational policymaking elite in the Clinton administration was supported in creating the conditions in Colombia for FDI by a similar faction operating within the Colombian state. Transnational elites, Colombia, and Plan Colombia In October of 1999, before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Pickering stated, “The USG consulted closely on the ‘building blocks,’ which make up the plan, with Colombian leaders and senior officials. However, the plan was formulated, drafted and approved by President Pastrana and his team” (Pickering 1999). Colombia’s “team” consisted of a core group of globalizing technocrats linked with transnational policy-­making groups and/or transnational institutions. The ultimate version of Plan Colombia was originally published in English when it was introduced to the international public in September 1999 and was unknown to the Colombian Congress at the time of its presentation (Salgado Tamayo 2000, 2). Some of the policy-­makers within the Colombian government that were central to the development and promotion of the Colombian plan were Jaime Ruiz, Mauricio Cardenas, Luis Moreno, and Andres Pastrana himself. One of the principal architects of the September 1999 plan was Jaime Ruiz, who was the head of the Department of National Planning in Colombia at the time and in 74   Plan Colombia and the Mérida Initiative 2001 became an Executive Director of the World Bank. According to Colombianist Garbriel Marcella (whose source was the U.S. ambassador to Colombia), Ruiz wrote “the plan in a week in English” (Marcella 2001, 7). Mauricio Cardenas followed Ruiz in the Department of National Planning and also played an important role in the administration of Plan Colombia (Center for Latin American Studies 2001). Cardenas went on to head a securities and mortgage-­lending firm in Colombia. He has also taught at the University of Los Andes in Bogota, Colombia since 1992, the source of some of Colombia’s leading globalizing economic thinkers and technocrats (Avilés 2006). Colombia’s ambassador to the USA, Luis Alberto Moreno, an economic adviser to President Cesar Gaviria (1990–1994) during a substantial period of neoliberal reform, was designated ambassador to the USA by Andres Pastrana in 1998, and was re-­nominated to the post by Pastrana’s successor, Alvaro Uribe. Moreno worked tirelessly to lobby and convince U.S. congressional representatives to support Plan Colombia (Sweig 2002). Prior to coming to this office, Moreno worked as a telecommunications consultant and private adviser to one of the largest transnational financial conglomerates in Colombia, the Luis Carlos Sarmiento Organization. Moreno, Ruiz, and Cardenas reflected the general orientation held by Andres Pastrana, the man that appointed them to their positions within his government.4 Pastrana, the son of a former president of Colombia and a member of the Conservative party, had been a part of Colombia’s political establishment and economic elite for years prior to being elected to the presidency in 1998. He was a committed neoliberal whose economic strategies focused on increasing the number of privatizations, including the privatization of state-­owned power, telephone, and mining companies. According to the Wall Street Journal, Pastrana sought the advice of foreign executives on developing different strategies to increase foreign investment and exports as well as other economic policies (Vogel 1999, A15). The chairman of the Drummond Ltd, a transnational coal company with over 1 billion dollars in investments in Colombia referred to Pastrana as a “breath of fresh air” (Vogel 1999). Key representatives of a transnational elite based in Colombia and the USA actively promoted a militarized drug-­war policy that would deepen Colombia’s integration into capitalist globalization. The Uribe administration (2002–2010) would actively expand Pastrana’s counternarcotics operations during his two terms as well as directly link a more aggressive counterinsurgency approach to the FARC. Thousands would be killed during his government’s escalation, including through the “false positives” scandal in which civilians would be kidnapped by the Colombian military, dressed as guerrillas and murdered as a way to improve a particular unit’s combat statistics. Relatively few officers were prosecuted for these years-­long crimes and U.S. counternarcotics assistance was never threatened during or after the outbreak of these military killings. Indeed, those Colombia’s military units receiving the highest level of U.S. financing or training between 2002 and 2009 committed more extrajudicial executions during and after receiving this assistance (Fellowship of Reconciliation 2010, iii). The human rights organization, Fellowship of Reconciliation found that Plan Colombia and the Mérida Initiative   75 for the 16 largest increases of aid from one year to the next to army units operating in a specific jurisdiction, the number of reported executions in the jurisdiction increased an average of 56 percent from the two-­year period prior to the increase to the two-­year period during and after the increased assistance. (Fellowship of Reconciliation 2010, see Figure 3.1) Furthermore, the group found a positive correlation between “false positives” and U.S. assistance as a statistical analysis of 1,821 of these executions where responsible units were directly identified showed that Army brigades that received a moderate as compared to low level of US assistance correlated to ten more executions per brigade in the two years following assistance. (Fellowship of Reconciliation 2010, 4) For members of the U.S. and Colombian transnational elite in the administrations that governed during this period the regular violations of human rights facilitated by “drug war” assistance did little to shift either Colombia or the U.S. from a prohibitionist agenda. In fact, Colombia brigade commanders whose respective brigades were widely involved in the “false positives” scandal went Figure 3.1 US aid and extrajudicial executions in Colombia. 76   Plan Colombia and the Mérida Initiative on to receive promotions including three who became commanders of the army (Fellowship of Reconciliation 2014, 5). How could the well-­known history of Colombian security forces actively working with drug trafficking paramilitary groups before Plan Colombia not prevent the largest drug war aid package in the history of U.S. drug policy in Latin America? The benefits to transnational capital of a weakened and defeated FARC, the greater security for future investments in Colombia’s extractivist industry, and overall contribution to “stability” for FDI were all fully in line with the long held ideological objectives of a transnational grand strategy shared by state managers in both Colombia and the United States. Almost a decade later a similar cooperative dynamic would play itself out in the case of the U.S.–Mexico Mérida Initiative. Mérida Initiative The decades prior to the development and enactment of the Mérida Initiative were years that witnessed Mexico’s steady integration into global capitalism through a radical shift from the state-­protected/state-­subsidized economy of its ISI years of the 1960s and 1970s. As others have correctly pointed out Mexico’s embrace of neoliberalism for over three decades has greatly facilitated the trafficking of illegal drugs. The various trade links between Mexico and the United States that have accelerated with neoliberalism and trade agreements like NAFTA have greatly expanded the potential entry points that traffickers utilize to export their merchandise to the United States as well as allowing Mexican DTOs to import U.S. armaments and precursors to facilitate their security and drug production respectively. In fact, the Salinas administration that governed Mexico during the negotiations and signing of NAFTA was enmeshed in a series of networks with Mexican drug trafficking organizations—including the President’s own brother (Gootenberg 2012, 175). John Gibler nicely highlights the trafficking advantages of NAFTA: More than 2,000 trucks and 34,000 cars cross from Juárez and El Paso every day. In 2009, more than $42 billion in legal trade crossed into Juárez and El Paso. An estimated $1.5 million to $10 million worth of illegal drugs moves over the border from Juárez to El Paso every single day. How do you think the drugs—bulky, heavy packages of cocaine, marijuana, heroin and crystal meth—get across? Where does the infrastructure and organizational capacity exist to transport so much merchandise? On the backs of mules led out through the desert? In the backpacks of pedestrians? In the trunks or spare tires of SUVs and sedans going through customs? Sure there are the occasional sensational discoveries of underground tunnels. But what about the thousands of daily cargo trucks with their NAFTA fast passes? What about the maquiladora warehouses? Recall, when Forbes first listed El Chapo Guzman on its list of billionaires, the magazine, with no moral qualms or qualifiers, credited the source of his fortune as “shipping.” (2011, 188)5 Plan Colombia and the Mérida Initiative   77 The reality is that the vast majority of drugs trafficked into the United States are smuggled through legal ports of entry—concealed in passenger vehicles and legitimate merchandise (Washington Office on Latin America 2017). How disruptive to global trade and investment would a more systematic and rigorous search of shipping containers from China or trucks from Mexico be? At minimum it is implicitly understood that these economic relations will be prioritized over any substantive inspection/interdiction effort. Not only has trade and capital liberalization facilitated the trafficking of drugs from Mexico, but agreements such as NAFTA have been important in expanding Mexico’s informal sector and surplus populations. Since the beginning of NAFTA, in 1994, the country’s annual per capita growth has averaged a stagnant 1.2 percent, real wages have declined and unemployment has increased. Twenty-­five percent of the population does not have access to basic food and 20 percent of the population suffers from malnutrition with the vast majority of workers existing in the low-­paying informal sector (Carlsen 2013; Roman and Velasco 2014). Thus, Mexico’s embrace of capitalist globalization has also contributed to the creation of a potential pool of recruits for the multiple drug-­ trafficking and other criminal organizations that have proliferated in the country during these last two decades. Furthermore, financial liberalization has also been a central part of Mexico’s neoliberal shift helping to ease money laundering in the country as well as creating opportunities for transnational banking institutions to gain access to the funds generated by the lucrative illegal drug industry. Ironically, 1994 was also the year in which the Mexican government increased penalties for drug production, transport, trafficking, and commerce (Paula Hernández 2011, 61). These increased penalties did little to slow the dramatic shift of trafficking away from routes on the Atlantic coast to the U.S.–Mexican border with Mexican traffickers expanding in their size and power in the decade that would follow. The profitable drug trade and the centrality of Mexican traffickers in shipping illegal drugs produced in Mexico and Colombia across the U.S.–Mexican border contributed to increasing levels of violence in the years leading to the election of Felipe Calderón in 2006. Furthermore, the decades prior to Calderon’s election also illustrated “blowback,” the unintended consequences of previous drug control policies in other regions of Latin America. For example, relatively successful efforts by the U.S. state in restricting the trafficking of drugs through Florida contributed to traffickers increasingly relying upon the U.S.–Mexican border to ship their merchandise (90 percent of the U.S. cocaine supply by 2010) (Gootenberg 2010, 8; Gootenberg 2012). In addition, successful U.S. and Colombian efforts to weaken the Medellin cartel during the 1980s and 1990s shifted power/influence to the Cali cartel, which enjoyed important links through Central America and Mexico via different Pacific routes (ibid., 9). Finally, Mexico’s democratization during this same period gradually weakened the power of the country’s one party system, which had for decades co-­opted criminal networks, creating more possibility for conflict and violence in a less politically predictable environment. 78   Plan Colombia and the Mérida Initiative In the years leading up to the Merida Initiative Mexico had witnessed a doubling of murders attributed to organized crime between 2001 and 2006 and opinion polls indicated that security outranked the economy and corruption in terms of the Mexican public’s priorities (Haugaard et al. 2011, 1). Previous governments had turned to the military as a tool for drug control efforts, typically as a result of pressures from the United States, and these forces often served objectives outside of the drug war. For example, the Mexican military used helicopters obtained with U.S. drug control assistance to move troops to the southern state of Chiapas to fight the anti-­neoliberal guerrilla forces of the Zapatistas in 1994 (Council on Foreign Relations 1997, 43). The controversial election of Felipe Calderón in 2006 under extremely questionable circumstances witnessed a radical expansion of the military’s use. Only eleven days after he was sworn in the national security budget was increased by 24 percent and 27,000 military and federal police were deployed to eight Mexican states (Lozano-­Vásquez and Rebolledo Flores 2015, 243). This deployment was celebrated by the United States, which continued to demand an internal security role for the region’s armed forces with the police being viewed as too weak and/or corrupt relative to the military (Roberts 2007). In fact, for many scholars Calderón’s declaration of war against the cartels is viewed as an early attempt by his government to create a degree of legitimacy and support for his administration, something to rally the Mexican public behind him—“legitimacy through the use of force” (Alvarez-­ Bejar 2007). From the very start of Calderón’s administration his government believed that the United States had to play a more prominent role in Mexico’s war against DTOs given the centrality of the U.S. market and the U.S. guns arming these cartels. In March of 2007 Felipe Calderón met with George W. Bush in Mérida, Mexico to discuss U.S.–Mexican relations. During this meeting the two governments committed to expanding bilateral and regional counternarcotics and security cooperation in line with expectations of the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP). The SPP was a 2005 initiative agreed to between Mexico, the United States and Canada to “… increase security and to enhance prosperity” in North America, specifically an understanding of the importance of the three countries working together to protect themselves from alleged security threats (Watt and Zepeda 2012, 193–194). Some have argued that the Mérida plan was imposed by the United States in the form of a “new mandate” (Carlsen 2008, 18) or simply reflected a U.S. objective to defend NAFTA (Watt and Zepeda 2012, 194). However, these authors ignore the fact that it was equally a project promoted/advanced from the very beginning by the Calderón administration. Following their March meeting, representatives from both governments met secretly for several months to hammer out the details of the aid package, which was publicly introduced in October of 2007. The Mérida Initiative was a multi-­year plan that involved approximately $1.4 billion in U.S. assistance in the first three years (2009–2012) predominantly for Mexico and Central America (though approximately 85 percent of the aid was dedicated to Mexico) and a total of approximately $2.5 billion for Mexico Plan Colombia and the Mérida Initiative   79 alone between FY2008 and FY2015 (Ribando Seelke and Finklea 2015, 1). Relatedly, Mexico’s legal system was to be transformed as “by 2016, all of Mexico is expected to be using a US-­styled legal system, a complicated transition funded by the Mérida Initiative” (2014, 102). The UN’s special rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers concludes that the impetus behind the rule of law projects has often been the belief that markets require predictable legal structures to protect property rights, facilitate foreign direct investments, and contract enforcement—that is to establish U.S. law as the “lingua franca” for business and politics. (As cited in Paley 2014, 104) Similar to Plan Colombia, three-­fourths of U.S. assistance was for Mexico’s military and police forces (Haugaard et al. 2011, 3). Also, in FY 2008 the Central American Security Initiative was established in which the Congress appropriated $1.2 billion in assistance to “… to strengthen the long-­term capacities of Central American governments to address security challenges and the underlying social and political factors that contribute to them” (Meyer and Seelke 2015, Summary). Both these programs were modified and supported by the Obama administration, with increasing efforts to promote judicial and social reforms in the region ostensibly to modernize state institutions as a strategy to disrupt drug trafficking and the power of these criminal actors. Michael Huston, Chief Principal Director in the Department of Homeland Security in the Office of Policy in the Trump administration viewed the Merida Initiative as the “… real beginning of a join approach … to address a common set of issues” (C-­Span 2017). The plan provided support for Mexico in an array of policies, including counternarcotics, counterterrorism, law enforcement, and “institution building.” The majority of the first year’s funding would go towards the purchase of eight Bell 412 helicopters, surveillance planes and to improve “database interconnectivity” between Mexico’s different intelligence agencies. The program during the Calderón administration would also involve extensive intelligence and law enforcement cooperation between the two countries (in line with “armoring NAFTA”) as special “fusion centers” were established where U.S. and Mexican personnel worked side-­by-side against drug trafficking organizations (Evans 2014). Personnel from the National Security Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency and U.S. NORTHCOM all worked at these centers in Mexico, deepening transnational security connections while largely failing to stem the flow of illegal psychoactive substances from entering the U.S. or the significant increase in homicides in different regions of Mexico. An examination of the central actors behind the development of the Mérida Initiative in the United States and Mexico demonstrates the role of transnational policy networks in shaping this “drug war” policy. 80   Plan Colombia and the Mérida Initiative Transnational elites, the United States, and the Mérida Initiative Though the Calderón administration importantly sought greater U.S. support, the ideas underlying the MI had long been promoted in the elite policy community within the U.S. For example, as early as 1997 a special CFR task force on international drug control policy called for taking the fight directly to the cartels (a central mission of the Merida Initiative), concluding that “… America’s international drug control priorities should shift from a primary focus on foreign drug supplies to the growing power and profits of transnational drug cartels that challenge the integrity of political, financial, and judicial institutions …” and that the United States should “… combat money-­laundering, drug-­related corruption and violence through bilateral and multilateral initiatives” (Council on Foreign Relations 1997, 57). Almost ten years later (November 2006) the Council on Foreign Relations released a “Council Special Report” by Pamela Starr examining U.S. Mexican policy after the controversial election of Felipe Calderón. The report detailed a number of concerns for U.S. policy, including security and narcotrafficking. The report highlighted the importance of Mexico’s energy supplies to the U.S. economy as well as its role as an ally in support of a hemispheric free trade agreement (the Free Trade Area of the Americas) (Starr 2006, 4). In her recommendations to U.S. policymakers Starr presented the core justifications and proposals that would eventually be part of the Merida Initiative: The United States should redouble current efforts to help Mexico build its law enforcement capabilities. The lack of security for foreign investors, especially in the border region, and Mexico’s limited ability to deal with the drug cartels are a direct threat to U.S. interests … bilateral cooperation between the two countries’ militaries should be continued and deepened. The United States should enhance technical and financial assistance to support Mexican efforts to improve the training, pay, and effectiveness of its federal and state police forces … (2006, 26) The concern for the security of foreign investors and its relationship to the power of drug cartels was complemented with a demand that the Mexican state go further integrating its security institutions with U.S. ones, Starr writes that: If Mexico is serious about improving the security environment within its borders, it also needs to overcome its historic sensitivity to joint operations with U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies. These agencies possess a wealth of experience in dealing with organized crime, in screening and training police recruits, and in criminal investigations that could jump-­ start Mexican security reforms. Accepting such assistance, including close collaboration at the command level with U.S. personnel in Mexican territory, will be politically difficult in a country that has long harbored Plan Colombia and the Mérida Initiative   81 suspicions of its northern neighbor. But it is an important element to building a solution to Mexico’s growing security problem. (2006, 26–27) In the months following this report members of the U.S. Congress would propose legislation reflecting many of the priorities laid out by the CFR. On January 17, 2007 Congressmen Henry Cuellar and Silvestre Reyes, two Democratic representatives of Texas introduced the “Prosperous and Secure Neighbor Alliance Act of 2007,” that Cuellar believes “… laid the ground work for aid to Mexico” (Cruz Cruz 2009, 352; Cuellar 2010). The act, which was never passed, called for U.S. assistance to improve security and economic development in Mexico, with a focus on professionalizing Mexican law enforcement, providing technological support and supporting anti-­corruption programs in Mexico, which would all be central to the final Mérida Initiative legislation (Library of Congress 2007). Cuellar and Reyes were frequent players in lobbying members of Congress on the importance of such aid as well as in consulting with political allies within Mexico through periodic congressional meetings with their counterparts from Mexico’s legislative branch (Chanona Burguete 2009, 59). Democrats in the House would overwhelmingly support the legislation over Republican opposition with 244 Democrats and only 32 Republicans while Democrats were unanimous in support for the funding package (Bricker 2008). Reyes, a representative from 1997–2012, was close to the defense industry with his top five contributors during 2011–2012 represented by defense contractors including General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, and Honeywell (Open Secrets 2012).6 These corporations, while closely tied to U.S. military spending, are very much transnational corporations with operations in different regions of the world. General Dynamics serves commercial customers and governments in forty different countries, Raytheon maintains operations in nineteen countries, while 55 percent of Honeywell’s revenues are generated from outside of the United States—including from Mexico (Raytheon n.d.; General Dynamics n.d.; Honeywell n.d.). The top career contributors to Cuellar included the “leading free enterprise group” Club for Growth, the International Bank of Commerce and AT&T that all promote greater economic integration and neoliberal economic policies within the United States and globally (Open Secrets 2015). The links with TNCs held by promoters of the Mérida Initiative within the U.S. House as well as the ideological commitment to capitalist globalization can also be seen within the Bush administration. For example, the Bush administration’s 2006 National Security Strategy (The White House 2006) declared that the U.S. must “ignite a new era of global economic growth through free markets and free trade” (1) while “pressing for open markets, financial stability, and deeper integration of the world economy” (26). During his administration the number of U.S. free trade agreements expanded from three to sixteen with his government seeking to establish a Free Trade Area of the Americas that would extend NAFTA to the entire Western Hemisphere. In fact, greater trade relations was acknowledged to be central to the 82   Plan Colombia and the Mérida Initiative administration’s counternarcotics strategies, as then Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Richard Fisher told a Senate hearing on narcotics control and international trade in February 2000. A strong trade and investment relationship with the Andean region is a vital component of our counter-­narcotics efforts … Our trade policy … has been designed to give countries in the region greater opportunities to move away from narcotics cultivation into legitimate trade. (As cited in International Consortium of Investigative Journalists 2001) This same commitment to economic integration was shared by Bush’s director for Mexico and Canada within the National Security Council’s Office of Western Hemisphere Affairs, Kimberly Breier. Breier, who was also the lead NSC staffer for the 2006 North American leaders meeting for the SPP, had a career before and after her public service assisting/advising transnational capital. Prior to her work in government she worked as a senior fellow and director of the National Policy Association’s North American Committee, a trilateral business and labor committee involving senior officials from the United States, Mexico, and Canada. The National Policy Association was a think tank dedicated to the idea that the private sector should play a central role in the formulation of public policy. After her time in the Bush White House she became the vice president of the boutique consulting firm Peschard Sverdrup International, leading country risk assessment teams for private clients in Mexico, Argentina, and Chile as well as the deputy director of the Americas Program and director of the U.S.–Mexico Futures Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) (Center for Strategic and International Studies n.d.).7 CSIS is a conservative think tank whose central contributors included a who’s who of transnational capital and military industries including Lockheed Martin, the Boeing Company, Exxon Mobil, and Bank of America.8 Other central players within Bush’s foreign policy team shared a similar outlook as reflected by their involvement with transnational corporations and/or their links to corporate policy­making groups. Bush’s first two Secretaries of State, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, were both interlinked with transnational corporations and/or corporate policymaking organizations. Powell had been a director of Gulfstream Aerospace and America Online prior to his appointment as well as a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (he became a CFR trustee after his time in office). Rice served on the boards of directors of Chevron and Transamerica as well as a member of the CFR prior to joining the Bush administration (Domhoff 2010, 185). She played an important role in publically advocating for the Mérida Initiative and criticizing human rights conditions being placed on the legislation during the legislative process. She was also instrumental in working with her Mexican counterpart, Patricia Espinosa, in establishing a process of collaboration in the implementation of the plan in the months following Bush’s signing it into law (Cortes et al. 2009, 402–403). In relation to the Mérida Initiative itself, one of the Bush administration’s leaders in the negotiations with the Mexican government over the specifics of Plan Colombia and the Mérida Initiative   83 the plan was the then U.S. ambassador to Mexico, Tony Garza (Torre 2013, 176). Garza was Bush’s ambassador between 2002 and 2009 and worked closely with Mexico’s ambassador to the United States Arturo Sarukhán in not only developing the plan, but in ensuring its passage by the U.S. Congress (ibid.; Corchado 2015). In fact, in the months before Calderón’s inauguration Calderón consulted with Garza about his plan to increase military pressure on narcotraffickers. Garza agreed with this strategy, arguing that if Mexico wanted to improve its economy that “foreigners and Mexicans alike had to be reassured that the rule of law would prevail” (as cited in Boullosa and Wallace 2016, 91). Garza, along with representatives from the Inter­American Dialogue, promoted the plan with the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations during their November 2007 hearings on the initiative (U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations 2007, 13–14). After his service as ambassador, Garza would take an attorney position at the international corporate law firm, White & Case LLP, which maintains offices in Mexico, the United States as well as in over thirty other countries (White and Case n.d.). According to his personal website, “Ambassador Garza’s professional expertise … affords his clients the breadth of experience so vital to effective cross-­border and global business ventures” (Garza n.d.). Garza’s “expertise” is also reflected in his membership to the globalist Council on Foreign Relations (Council on Foreign Relations 2014). Membership to the Council on Foreign Relations was also shared by Bush’s Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte. Negroponte oversaw the development and presentation of the Mérida plan to the U.S. Congress, playing an early role in “… launching the Mérida Initiative” in the U.S. and in Mexico (U.S. House of Representatives 2010, 78–79). He personally visited Mexico in the lead up to passage of the Mérida Initiative to assure his Mexican counterparts and the globalist business community in Mexico that this plan served their interests. In one 2008 visit, Negroponte spoke to the “Northamerican Forum” organized by the Mexican Council on Foreign Relations, a largely corporate funded think tank whose corporate members include ExxonMobil, Shell, and Toyota (Wikileaks 2008; COMEXI n.d.). At this event Negroponte stressed the link between the Mérida Initiative to the Alianza para la Seguridad y Prosperidad de America del Norte (ASPAN, SPP in English), warning his audience of the challenges they must overcome to establish deeper regional integration (ibid.). After his time in government he would go back into the private sector working for the transnational lobbying and consulting firm McLarty Associates that is focused upon assisting Fortune 200 companies seeking to strengthen their presence in foreign markets (McLarty Associates n.d.). Negroponte also became the vice-­chairman of Covington and Burling Law Firm, a firm that regularly defends transnational corporations with investments in Latin America. This included defending Chiquita Bananas that was charged with financing Colombian paramilitary groups involved in killing banana workers seeking to improve their labor conditions (Kozloff 2009). Bush’s globalist network even reached into the members of the military command responsible for overseeing the implementation plan. For example, Victor Renuart was the commander of the U.S. Northern Command between 84   Plan Colombia and the Mérida Initiative 2007 and 2010 and prior to that appointment was the Director of Strategic Plans and Policy, within the Joint Chiefs of Staff.9 The USNORTHCOM was established in 2002 and is responsible for “homeland defense” and is engaged in missions with its “partners” in Canada and Mexico. During his tour as commander, USNORTHCOM worked with Mexican military and civil leaders in fighting drug cartels under the “… auspices of the Merida Initiative” (Garamone 2010). Renuart viewed the Merida Initiative “… as an opportunity with our critical neighbor to jointly confront the threat of narcotics trafficking and organized crime” (Renaurt 2008, 23). After his retirement from the armed forces Renuart would go on to start his own “homeland security” and “leadership” consulting firm, while offering consulting work to transnational military industrial firms such as BAE Systems, Inc. and sitting on the board of the transnational company Griffon Corporation (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors n.d.).10 Ultimately, central players within the United States in the development, promotion, and passage of the Mérida Initiative (as well as in administering it years later) were ideologically committed to the globalist agenda associated with transnational capital. They were accompanied in this effort by the Mexican faction of this elite. Transnational elites, Mexico, and the Mérida Initiative Before his campaign and throughout his administration Calderón represented a solid member of Mexico’s transnational elite, an individual who had fully embraced the National Action Party’s (PAN, Spanish acronyms) commitment to market reform and trade liberalization. One of Calderón’s first acts was to appoint a number of neoliberal technocrats to central economic/finance ministries, “… a team of U.S.educated economists to his Cabinet, laying the groundwork for a business-­friendly government” (Watson 2006). Calderón’s economic agenda included much of the neoliberal economic framework, including balanced budgets, the privatization of the pensions of millions of state education and health workers, the allowing of private investments in the energy sector as well as promoting tourism through “integrated development zones” (Washington Post n.d.). According to the Mexican Solidarity Network, “for the past six years, Calderón has been … defending free trade agreements, maintaining a neoliberal economic agenda by cutting social spending and sustaining a relatively balanced budget …” (Mexico Solidarity Network 2012). This agenda was aided by other members of Mexico’s transnational elite who worked with their U.S. counterparts in the crafting and promotion of the Mérida Initiative. Central individuals included Wanda Sigrid Arzt Colunga, the Technical Secretary of the National Security Council within the Calderón administration and former advisor to the World Bank. She was considered by many to be the architect of the initiative (El Universal 2008). Arzt’s role was not limited to influencing policymaking in Mexico, but she also consulted with the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations when they held hearings about the initiative in November of 2007 (U.S. Senate 2007, 13). After her time in Mexico’s government she joined the U.S. based Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars as their Plan Colombia and the Mérida Initiative   85 “Mexico Public Policy Scholar.” The center is a U.S. based “public-­private” think tank that was chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1968 to provide ideas on global issues for policymakers, seeking to build a “bridge between the worlds of academic and public policy.” The center is governed by a presidentially appointed board of trustees whose chairman in 2014 was Thomas Nides, who was also the vice-­chairman of Morgan Stanley (Woodrow Wilson Center 2014a). The U.S. state annually funds the center with millions of dollars, but two-­thirds of its annual budget derives from non-­appropriated sources (Woodrow Wilson Center 2014b). These non-­appropriated sources of funds derive from foundations, individuals, and corporate contributions. Its top four corporate donors in 2014 were the Boeing Company, Northrop Grumman,11 Citigroup and Goldman Sachs & Company (Woodrow Wilson Center 2014c). Arzt was not alone in playing a role in the development of the policy within Mexico and promoting it in the U.S., as she was joined in this effort by Mexico’s ambassador to the U.S. Arturo Sarukhán. Sarukhán was a central figure in Calderón’s foreign policy team. He was Calderón’s foreign policy coordinator in his campaign and within his transition team, ultimately serving as Mexico’s ambassador to the United States from January 2007 to January 2013. As part of Calderón’s campaign and transition team he was responsible for “developing the lines of action [for foreign policy] and being the voice of the campaign’s international platform” (Gomez Quintero and Javier Jimenez 2006). During his six years as Calderón’s ambassador to the United States he aggressively promoted a U.S.–Mexican alliance against illegal drugs and support for the Mérida Initiative (McLaughlin 2010). The Mexican journalist Wilbert Torre views his role in the development and implementation of the Mérida Initiative as central (Torre 2013) and he was “… described by officials as a key actor in the talks” between the United States and Mexico (Bachelet 2007). Sarukhán was also involved in discussions with the United States after the 2007 April–May interagency discussions within Mexico took place to organize their country’s proposal. This proposal was an important part of the basis of U.S.– Mexican negotiations where Sarukhán played his key role (U.S. Senate 2007). Like Arzt, Sarukhán membership in the transnational elite is clear. In fact, upon leaving his post as Mexico’s ambassador he became chairman of the U.S. based Podesta Group’s Global Solutions, Podesta Group, Inc, a “… global strategies and risk management company” (Podesta Group 2013). The company, a consulting group for transnational corporations, stresses its position at the intersection of commerce, economics, politics and diplomacy. Our multinational clients, both domestic and international, seek to work with other businesses, organizations and governments around the globe. We help our clients to forge and cement long-­standing relationships as they seek to explore, grow, expand and invest in new territories. (Podesta Group n.d.) Like Antonio Garza, Sarukhán served on important corporate policymaking organizations. He is listed as one of the “experts” for the InterAmerican 86   Plan Colombia and the Mérida Initiative Dialogue, and with Garza he sits on the board for the Americas Society, an organization that seeks to unite opinion leaders, exchange ideas, and create solutions in association with the Council of the Americas (InterAmerican Dialogue n.d.). The Council of the Americas refers to itself as the “premier international business organization” committed to “… economic and social development, open markets, the rule of law, and democracy throughout the Western Hemisphere” (Americas Society/Council of the Americas n.d.). Its corporate membership includes over 200 different companies, including TNCs such as American Express, Boeing, Apple Inc, Archer Daniels Midland, Raytheon, Nike, McDonalds, and Johnson and Johnson. Sarukhán also sits on the advisory board on Woodrow Wilson’s Center’s Mexico Institute, which is dedicated to improving relations between the United States and Mexico. More than half of the members of this board represent transnational corporations, corporate law firms, and/or consulting companies for transnational business (Woodrow Wilson Center n.d.). Finally, like in the case of Plan Colombia, transnational corporations based in the United States have benefitted from drug war aid to Mexico while supporting or lobbying Congress for programs like the Mérida Initiative. In the two years prior to passage of the Mérida Initiative the defense industry spent over $100 million lobbying the U.S. congress while increasing their campaign contributions by approximately 40 percent between 2006 and 2008 (Open Secrets 2008, 2015). The majority of the funds of the first $1.4 billion in Mérida funds were spent on a variety of U.S. military contractors specializing in armored vehicles, military helicopters, and special inspection equipment (CNN Expansion 2009). Between 2005 and 2009 the majority of $3.1 billion counternarcotics contracts in Latin America went to five contractors: DYNCorp, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, ITT, and ARINC (U.S. Senate 2011, 1). Mexico was second to Colombia in terms of U.S. spending on counternarcotics contracts between 2005 and 2009 (ibid., 7). In the end, through the development and promotion of the assistance package and/ or through direct lobbying/contributions to state managers a transnational foreign policy establishment within and outside of the U.S. and Mexican states was fundamental to the Mérida Initiative. The Obama administration The trend of central state managers and members of the national security apparatus involved with U.S.–Mexican and U.S.–Colombian relations enjoying corporate links continued into the Obama administration (see Table 3.3). Van Apeldoorn and de Graaff ’s find that twenty-­two of Obama’s central “grand-­ strategy makers” enjoyed 113 different corporate affiliations, with individuals such as Secretary of Defense Gates and Special Envoy to Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke with ten different affiliations (2014, 44). Obama’s first Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had over five different corporate affiliations prior to joining Obama’s cabinet and earned hundreds of thousands of dollars speaking to the most powerful financial entities in the U.S. after her time as Obama’s Secretary of State. While she was Secretary of State she remarked approvingly on the Plan Colombia and the Mérida Initiative   87 Table 3.3 Transnational elite and Obama foreign policymakers Name Position within the state Corporate association/corporate policymaking association Carlos Pascual U.S. Ambassador to Mexico CFR, HIS a global consulting firm James Steinberg Deputy Secretary of State Trilateral Commission, CFR, Bilderberg Group, The Aspen Institute Earl Anthony Wayne U.S. Ambassador to Mexico CFR, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the Atlantic Council, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, HSBC banking corporation (required to $1.9 billion fine related to its money laundering for Latin American drug cartels) Roberta S. Jacobson U.S. Ambassador to Mexico CFR Arturo Valenzuela Assistant Secretary of Corporate law firm, Covington & Burling, State for Western CFR Hemisphere Affairs General James Jones National Security Advisor Trilateral Commission, Chevron, Boeing, Honeywell International, Bilderberg Group, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Susan Rice U.S. Ambassador to the UN, National Security Advisor Trilateral Commission, The Aspen Institute, CFR, McKinsey and Company (selective list) Robert M. Gates Secretary of Defense CFR, Director of Fidelity Funds, NACCO, Parker Drilling, TRW, The Mitchell Group Hillary Clinton Secretary of State Recipient of millions from Wall Street banks in exchanges for speeches, Rose Law Firm, Wright, Lindey and Jennings, Walmart, TCBY Leon Panetta Director of the CIA, Secretary of Defense Fleishman-Hillard International Communications; BP America, IDT Telecom, Blue Shield of California, Trilateral Commission, Center for National Policy (selective list) John Kerrey Secretary of State Married to Teresa Heinz, of the Heinz Ketchup fortune Chuck Hagel Secretary of Defense CFR, telephone company executive Thomas Donilon National Security Advisor Bilderberg Group, CFR, corporate law firm O’Melveny & Myers Admiral Mike Mullen Chairman of the Joint CFR, Trilateral Commission Chiefs of Staff P. Michael McKinley U.S. Ambassador to Colombia Career foreign service continued 88   Plan Colombia and the Mérida Initiative Table 3.3 Continued Name Position within the state Corporate association/corporate policymaking association Kevin Whitaker U.S. Ambassador to Colombia Career foreign service Dan Restrepo Director of Western Center for American Progress (a central Hemisphere Affairs in source of funds is George Soros), the Walton the National Security Family Foundation and the Ford Foundation Council Mark Feierstein Director of Western Hemisphere Affairs in the National Security Council CSIS, consultant with Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, an international political consulting firm, where he conducted research for political candidates and multinational companies; advised the 2002 Sanchez de Lozada campaign in Bolivia Source: Van Apeldoon and de Graff (2015, Appendix); author’s searches of online biographical material, policymaking groups’ membership rolls and corporate websites. success of Plan Colombia as a model for Mexico, stating that Mexico was facing a similar situation with its drug cartels that Colombia faced in the 1990s with the insurgent threat of the FARC. Obama’s first ambassador to Mexico, Carlos Pascual, was a member of the CFR and upon leaving governmental service in 2011 he joined the board of HIS, a global consulting firm that owns companies such as Global Insight that provides market oriented economic advice to over 3,000 clients worldwide (Center on Global Energy Policy n.d.; Cave 2011). Arturo Valenzuela, Obama’s Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs from 2009 to 2011, is a member of the Council on Foreign relations and upon leaving office joined the international law firm, Covington & Burling. Within the firm he is the Senior Advisor for Latin America, providing strategic advice, risk assessment and consulting services to US and international clients with investments and operations in Latin America and Latin American clients interested in expanding their operations overseas. His clients have included Fortune 500 firms and leading Latin American multinationals. (Covington n.d.) While the overall military and security assistance to most governments in the region declined during Obama’s two terms, his administration did expand the role of military, intelligence, and law enforcement agencies in counternarcotics operations while assistance to Central America substantially increased (Isacson et al. 2013, 1).12 Like earlier administrations issues of human rights and democracy were consistently subordinated to maintaining a prohibitionist approach and/or defending globalist allies. This was illustrated in the administration’s Plan Colombia and the Mérida Initiative   89 acquiescence to the 2009 Honduran coup, which allowed corrupt/drug trafficking linked allies to retain their power within the Honduran state, the continued support of the Colombian police and military personnel as trainers for the region despite their history of human rights violations or the 2012 killing of civilians in Honduras by a joint U.S.–Honduran counter-­narcotics operation. While the Obama administration continued the various programs related to Plan Colombia and the Merida Initiative, it expanded U.S. assistance to Central America through the Central America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI), which was part of the original Merida Aid package (Isacson et al. 2013, 12). Between 2008 and 2014, U.S. aid associated with CARSI amounted to over $600 million, mostly to the region’s militaries and police forces. The U.S. continued to finance Mexican and Honduran security forces during his two terms despite widespread evidence of their ongoing disrespect for human rights while finding ways to assist the Guatemalan military that had for decades been explicitly banned due to its genocidal behavior in the 1980s (Isacson et al. 2013, 17). This was despite the fact that prohibitionist strategies continued to illustrate their ongoing failure. For example, years after the implementation of both plans Colombia and Mexico remained central producers and trans shipment points for illegal drugs. The State Department’s International Narcotics Report of 2011 (over ten years after Plan Colombia) stated that Colombia remained the “… world‘s largest producer and exporter of cocaine, as well as a source country for heroin and marijuana” (U.S. Department of State 2011, 194). Obama’s own “drug czar,” Gil Kerlikowske, concluded that the “war on drugs” has failed, stating that “in the grand scheme, it has not been successful … Forty years later, the concern about drugs and drug problems is, if anything, magnified, intensified” (Mendoza 2010). Yet, the Obama administration continued to make requests for billions of dollars each year to engage in this failed enterprise, spending over $15 billion in 2010—thirty-­one times what was spent in 1970 (Mendoza 2010). The administration’s militarized commitment to drug prohibition complemented, as it did from the 1980s on, a thorough commitment to capitalist globalization. For fiscal year 2016 the Obama administration committed $750 million to a regional economic development plan that would facilitate greater economic integration of Central America as well as narcotics control and law enforcement. The administration stressed the importance of “good governance” and the “rule of law” to capital accumulation, asserting that “only through measurable progress towards those objectives will the private sector, small business owners, and international investors have the necessary confidence in the security of their investment and assurances that business dealings are fair and legal” (The White House 2016). Throughout his administration Obama was a strong advocate of economic globalization and worked hard to further integrate the U.S. economy into global capitalism as well as facilitate such integration in the Americas. The administration’s 2010 National Security Strategy explicitly committed the U.S. to maintaining “global security” and an “open international economic system” (as cited in Van Apeldoorn and de Graaff 2014, 41). Obama very much was in line with the largest contributors of his 2012 campaign, which included 90   Plan Colombia and the Mérida Initiative transnationals such as Microsoft, Google, and Deloitte while in 2008 his top five contributors included J.P. Morgan and Goldman Sachs (Open Secrets n.d.). Obama’s globalist orientation was consistently demonstrated through his support of the U.S. free trade agreement with Colombia, or promoting free trade and investor agreements with the European Union or the eleven Pacific nations in the Trans-­Pacific Partnership agreement. Obama aggressively sought to extend and deepen this process in Latin America and globally. Conclusion The argument set forth in this chapter illustrates how a commitment by actors in the US, Colombia, and Mexico to a transnational order of neoliberal economics and “market democracies” (a transnational policy network) eased the policy-­ making process and worked to ensure that Plan Colombia and the Mérida Initiative would contribute to their integration into the global economy. Leading policy-­makers in Colombia, Mexico, and the U.S. were members of the same intellectual network that facilitated the development of these plans and the ultimate U.S. contribution to these programs. The social position and context of these policymakers helps shed light on the various biases that exist in the strategy, biases that strengthened actors in Colombia and Mexico that have promoted the neoliberal economic direction of the economy, and that have repressed civic and armed anti-­capitalist globalization movements. Plan Colombia and the Mérida Initiative simply build upon the progress already achieved in integrating these economies into global capitalism, as the drug war was adapted and linked to creating the conditions necessary for the furtherance of this project. Notes 1 This council is an advisory group to the CIA, the NSC, and the Pentagon. 2 Between 1995 and 2000 coca production decreased from over 260,000 hectares to approximately 70,000 hectares in Bolivia and Peru while Colombia’s production increased from 229,300 hectares to almost 600,000 hectares of coca (Lee 2004, 191). 3 After his time in office Richardson would go on to other political offices, including the governor of New Mexico. He would also become a member of the InterAmerican Dialogue. 4 Pastrana’s Minister of Defense, the Minister of the Interior, Minister of Finance and Minister of Development had all formerly enjoyed positions with the IMF, the Colombian Chamber of Commerce, the World Bank, and an investor in Colombia’s tourism industry respectively (Avilés 2006, 126). 5 The Chief Customs officer for the port of Los Angeles in the late 1990s, Wayne Kornmann, stated that “We’re able to check about ten to twelve containers per shift … we look at less than two percent [of the shipping containers that arrive at this port every day]” (as cited in Gray 2000, 151). 6 Lockheed Martin has historically been one of the biggest recipients of counternarcotics’ aid for Latin America while Honeywell employs over 15,000 employees in Mexico in fourteen different facilities. 7 Bodenheimer and Gould asserted that CSIS appeared to be “… the leading contender for the super-­think tank of the post-­Reagan period” (1989, 184). Plan Colombia and the Mérida Initiative   91 8 The global capitalist goals promoted by Breier, CSIS, or the National Policy Association are also reflected in Bush’s top campaign contributors. Nine of Bush’s top ten central contributors to his 2004 re-­election campaign were made up of transnational banks, investment firms, or transnational accounting corporations—in other words global finance, which has long been a central promoter of capitalist globalization (Open Secrets 2013). 9 The trend of military elites working closely with business elites has a long history. Samuel Huntington in The Solider and the State argues that in the decade after WWII there a close association developed between the military and the business elite, writing “retired generals and admirals in unprecedented numbers went into the executive staffs of American corporations; new organizations arose bridging the gap between corporate management and military leadership. For the military officers, business represented the epitome of the American way of life” (1957, 361–362). 10 Various military contractors and industrialists through their campaign contributions and lobbying as well as through the revolving door with the armed forces have allowed the military industrial complex a significant place within policymaking. For example, between 2004–2008 “… 80% of retiring three-­and four- star officers went to work as consultants or defense executives and services” (as cited in Gibbs 2012, 97). 11 Northrop Grumman was one of the military contractors that would receive most of the first MI appropriation of $1.8 billion allocated in 2008 (Ramsey 2011). 12 Between 2000 and 2012 the United States spent approximately $12.5 billion in supply reduction/interdiction policies in Latin America (Isacson et al. 2013, 2). U.S. Network Television News Framing of the February 2004 Overthrow of Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide Author(s): Walter C. Soderlund Source: Journal of Haitian Studies, Vol. 12, No. 2 (Fall 2006), pp. 78-111 Published by: Center for Black Studies Research Stable URL: Accessed: 28-03-2018 02:09 UTC JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at Center for Black Studies Research is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Journal of Haitian Studies This content downloaded from on Wed, 28 Mar 2018 02:09:42 UTC All use subject to 78 The Journal of Haitian Studies, Vol. 12 No. 2 © 2006 Walter C. Soderlund University of Windsor U.S. Network Television News Framing of the February 2004 Overthrow of Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide For the nearly fourteen years from the time of his entry on the Haitian national political scene with his victory in the presidential election of December 1990 until his overthrow in February 2004, Jean-Bertrand Aristide was the dominant figure in Haiti's struggle to develop a meaningful democratic system. A polarizing figure from the start (a saviour to the poor and an anathema to the elite), his political career was marked by both personal controversy and a number of high-profile events: in addition to his decisive 1990 electoral victory, the most notable being the military coup that deposed him in 1991 and the U.S.-led military intervention that restored him to power in 1994 (Soderlund, 2006). This study examines U.S. television network news coverage of what is, to this point at least, the last chapter in Jean-Bertrand Aristide's political career in Haiti: the domestic insurgency and international maneuvering that led to his resignation from the presidency and departure from Haiti to exile in Africa on February 29, 2004. 1 Prime-time television news coverage of events leading to the overthrow of President Aristide on ABC's "World News Tonight", CBS's "Evening News", and NBC's "Nightly News" comprise the database for the study. Using video tapes of 53 news stories provided by the Vanderbilt University Televison News Archive, U.S. network television news coverage of the final weeks of Mr. Aristide's presidency is examined on the following dimensions of story importance: number and date of news stories and their placement in newscasts, as well as the time allotted to them. Coded as well were the sources used in compiling the stories and the "frames" employed to explain to American audiences what was happening in Haiti and how this might affect the United States. We also speculate on how media coverage would likely influence U.S. public perceptions of the political situation in Haiti in term of exerting pressure for continued aid to the new Haitian government. In addition, descriptive language used with This content downloaded from on Wed, 28 Mar 2018 02:09:42 UTC All use subject to U.S. Network Television News Framing 79 respect to (1) President Aristide; (2) the rebel force overthrow him; (3) Haiti, as a country; and (4) the po U.S. government and U.S. President George W. Bush and analyzed to ascertain likely audience effects. Ev likely impact of visual material included in stories U.S. audience interpretations of events occurring the Since the end of the Duvalier dictatorship in 1986, th played an influential, if not a decisive, role in Haitian p Entman has pointed out, "[t]he public's actual opinion information, from selected highlights of events, issues, than from direct contact with the realities of foreign a While U.S. foreign policy cannot be said to be public important event in Haitian politics, which resulted in th the status of a truly "collapsed state" (Zartman, 1995; cannot but reignite the issue of the efficacy of cont in public policy debate. In the context of Haiti's quest combined with honest and democratic government, h and the overthrow of the Haitian president it provo U.S. media might prove to be a significant variable generously the U.S. government responds to Haiti's Préval's victory in the February 2006 elections (see History The event in the history of U.S. involvement in the affairs of Haiti that set in motion the events of February 2004 can be fixed fairly precisely (February 7, 1986), with the "assist" given by the Reagan administration in the removal of dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier. United States interest in Haiti goes back a long way, at least to its struggle for independence from France during the first years of the 19th century. Haitian independence emerged in 1804 after thirteen years of slave revolt; in 1806, fears of a similar slave rebellion in the Southern states, coupled with a rapprochement with France, turned an initially supportive U.S. policy toward Haitian independence into a trade embargo that "began a century of commercial ostracism," leading to Haitian isolation from the world economic system; the United States only extended diplomatic recognition to the Haitian government during its own Civil War in the 1860s (Abbott, 1988; Farmer, 2004). The 20th century would bring a dramatic increase in U.S. involvement in Hait...
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U.S Intervention in Latin America
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Long essay questions
Question B
The United States’ invasion of Panama in 1989 was its first non-cold war-related use of
overt force since 1945. This invasion was the most violent in the history of Panama. The
invasion aimed to protect the U.S citizens and the Panama Canal and arrest the country’s corrupt
leader, that was also a criminal, and a dictator, Manuel Noriega. The invasion ended in his arrest
and extradition to the U.S. (Gilboa, 1995-1996). The U.S. had earlier in 1983 invaded Grenada.
This invasion also involved some Caribbean allies and aimed at protecting U.S citizens, restoring
democracy in the country, and neutralizing the army. The military progress in the country was a
threat to the region’s stability and the U.S citizens in the country.
There are certain similarities and differences between the two invasions. In both cases,
there had been an increased strain in interventions between the countries. Both also influenced
the use of power. Additionally, there were justifications for the use of power in both cases, and a
similar justification is the protection of U.S citizens. Another similarity is that democracy is also
a justification for the invasions. Some of the differences included that the U.S has Caribbean
allies in the invasion of Grenada that it did not have when invading Panama. The invasion of
Grenada was beneficial to Caribbean allies. Since the country’s military power was growing
significantly, it posed a threat to the other Caribbean nations. Another difference is that the
invasion of Panama ended with the capture of its leader.
In these two cases, I feel that the United States was justified in using force in both cases.
The reason for this opinion is that there are clear justifications for the country’s use of force.



Aside from protecting the United States citizens in both cases, the U.S also sought to protect the
citizens and neighbors of the countries it was invading. It did this in Panama by ridding the
country of a corrupt dictator, and in Grenada by...

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