HomeNewsBriefUS to Train Mexican Security Forces in Counter-Terrorism
BRIEF

US to Train Mexican Security Forces in Counter-Terrorism

MERIDA INITIATIVE / 18 JAN 2013 BY JAMES BARGENT EN

The United States will set up a new special operations headquarters to train Mexican security forces in counter-terrorism techniques, an offshoot of the military aid package, the Merida Initiative, with the potential for troubling consequences.

The new site, based in the Colorado, will be used to train Mexican military, intelligence, and law enforcement officials to track drug cartel members using the same techniques used to hunt Al-Qaida operatives, reported the AP.

The project builds upon an existing program, in which Mexican security officals studied the experience of the US military in Afghanistan and Iraq, especially with regards to counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism efforts. The US special operations team behind the program will be given a permanent base and will be able to significantly expand its scope. 

Military officials on both sides have played down the expansion of the program. "We are merely placing a component commander in charge of things we are already doing," said military spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis in a written statement to the AP.

InSight Crime Analysis   

The timing of the decision to expand the special operations training program is surprising. According to the AP, the program is an offshoot of the Merida Initiative, a bilateral security cooperation agreement between the US and Mexico, that has been criticized for prioritizing military funding over promoting institutional development. The effectiveness of the initiative has been questioned by the Mexican government, while US officials recently made implicit criticisms of its military-centric aproach when the Defense Secretary admonished Mexico and other Latin American countries for an over-reliance on the military in fighting organized crime.

The expansion of the program also comes at a time when the US has made large cuts in its military aid budget for Mexico and other Latin American countries.

Training Mexican security forces in counter-terrorism techniques also carries an implicit risk over how that training will be used. In the recent past, Mexican special forces have gone on to use their skills to work as drug cartel hit-squads and enforcers and -- in the case of the Zetas -- form their own cartel.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

MEXICO / 8 AUG 2012

A Molotov cocktail attack on a supermarket in Monterrey, Mexico, follows a string of similar incidents around the city in…

GENDER AND CRIME / 7 AUG 2019

A key witness in Mexico has stated that she will not give further evidence against leaders of the Zetas drug…

HUMAN RIGHTS / 3 JUL 2013

A group of armed men have kidnapped at least 17 people after bursting into homes in the Mexican state…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela’s Tren de Aragua Becomes Truly Transnational

29 JUL 2022

This week, InSight Crime published a deep dive into the total control that Venezuelan mega-gang, Tren de Aragua, has over the lives of those it smuggles between Venezuela and Chile…

THE ORGANIZATION

Turkish Traffickers Delivering Latin American Cocaine to Persian Gulf

15 JUL 2022

Last week, InSight Crime published the second half of an investigation piecing together the emerging role of Turkish cocaine traffickers in supplying Russia and the Persian Gulf, which are among…

THE ORGANIZATION

Turkey as a Lynchpin in European Cocaine Pipeline

8 JUL 2022

InSight Crime is extending its investigation into the cocaine pipeline to Europe, and tracking the growing connections between Latin American drug traffickers and European criminal organizations. This led us to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Memo Fantasma Coverage Gets Worldwide Attention

1 JUL 2022

Guillermo Acevedo, the former Colombian drug lord and paramilitary commander better known as Memo Fantasma, may soon be allowed to leave prison. Since first revealing the identity of Memo Fantasma…

THE ORGANIZATION

Who Are Memo Fantasma and Sergio Roberto de Carvalho?

24 JUN 2022

Inside the criminal career of Memo Fantasma  In March 2020, InSight Crime revealed the identity and whereabouts of Memo Fantasma, a paramilitary commander and drug trafficker living in…