Joint military exercises can be used for more than drugs
The SF Chronicle has an interesting piece on joint US/Central American military exercises. These are being held under the premise of fighting the war on some drugs but consiering the political climate in the Latin Americas right now, one suspects there's a larger agenda and the US pushed hard to get them to agree to these.
It has not always been easy, said Coast Guard Capt. Stephen Leslie, to bring together nations with histories of border disputes. The Nicaraguans were leery of entering Honduran waters, Leslie said, and Guatemala initially refused to allow entry to Coast Guard boats from Belize.Money talks and the drug war provides a good cover for an administration that would like to overthrow a few of the nearby country's governments - for instance Venezuela and Bolivia. Not to mention the local government gain control their own restive indigenous populations.
After months of U.S. pressure, Leslie said, not to mention promises of money for parts and equipment, the countries agreed and held the first joint naval exercises in February and the second in December.
Human rights groups, like the Washington Office on Latin America, have criticized the plan to give Central American militaries -- which were responsible for egregious human rights abuses during the region's civil conflicts -- increased law enforcement responsibilities. But leaders of the region's navies dismissed those concerns and said joint military exercises had already begun to pay off.Yeah, they caught one boat ferrying cocaine while they admit that for every one they get, another three get away. Feeling a bit like shades of Iran-Contra isn't it?