“It started with 27 rail cars full of ammunition rolling down the tracks into Mexico,” washingtpost.com reports. “That load of 30 million bullets was soon followed by fleets of Black Hawk helicopters and thousands of Humvees: in all more than $1 billion of American military equipment sold to Mexico within the past two years.” The Post reports that the “unprecedented sales” represent a “100-fold increase from prior years.” What’s not said . . .
Is how many firearms – guns – the United States has shipped to the Mexican military and police in that time, or before. Or how many of those guns have “seeped” to the cartels, especially from the more than 100k troops who’ve defected from the military to the cartels. But at least we learn what triggered the suspiciously unspecified arms sales bonanza:
In late 2013, Mexico asked the United States if it could fill a large order of 5.56 mm ammunition, and the embassy helped deliver the trainloads of $6 million worth of bullets within 100 days, the official said.
“That case really kind of broke the ice,” he said. “They saw the responsiveness of what we could do as a partner in foreign military sales. And they liked it.”
That sale paved the way for even larger purchases: orders for more than two dozen UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters for the Air Force and Navy, and more than 2,200 Humvees. Since Peña Nieto came to office in late 2012, Mexico has purchased about $1.5 billion in equipment through the government’s military sales program, plus $2 billion more through U.S. companies, said Inigo Guevara Moyano, a Mexican defense consultant based in Washington.
Not to go all Alex Jones on you, but that enormous ammo shipment coincides exactly with the ammo drought that followed the Newtown massacre. To be fair, the Post raises the question of whether or not up-armoring and ammo selling process is a good thing given the Mexican military’s history of rape, torture, extortion and murder of Mexican civilians.
Some have been critical of the U.S. sales, particularly in a climate where Mexican security forces have regularly been accused of human rights violations. Last year, 43 teachers college students disappeared in Guerrero, allegedly captured and killed by local police working with drug gangs.
A few months earlier, 22 civilians were killed by the Mexican military in the town of Tlatlaya south of Mexico City. The army first described the incident as a firefight but later admitted that a number of the civilians had been executed after surrendering. Relatives of the 42 men killed last month on a Michoacan ranch have accused the authorities of torturing and executing them, claims the government denies.
Researcher John Lindsay-Poland wrote for the North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA) that the “massive militarization” is “bad news for the many Mexicans devastated by the abuses of police and soldiers.”
“The United States must develop other capacities besides producing guns and military equipment for finding a healthy balance of trade and addressing our own problems,” he wrote.
But others see this as necessary maintenance and modernization for an under-equipped military.
“It’s mainly a process of correcting the imbalance,” Hope said. “Having Humvees will not affect how much respect they have for human rights.”
But sending fully-automatic rifles to Mexico – knowing that they’ll be used to impose tyranny and/or end-up in cartel hands – while attempting to limit Americans’ natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms, reduces respect for the administration’s gun control efforts. Does it not?