By: Special to The Laredo Sun
security agencies have trained for years Mexico's federal police on both sides of the border. However, the sub-secretary of state enclosed that for combating international drug trafficking, considered obvious that the local forces face increased violence in the battle against cartels, particularly in northern Mexico, and they are most in need of training.
"If today we do not address these issues cooperatively, we will be facing them in our own doorstep in five years," Brownfield said without explaining the reasons for that term.
On Wednesday he was in the city of Laredo on the border with Mexico, where he signed an agreement that outlines the way in which agents of the Sheriff's Office in Webb County could spend a period of three months, six months or more training local police in Mexico.
The State Department signed a first agreement of its kind with a local security on the border of the United States and Mexico. Brownfield said that more coaches and the high proportion of experienced bilingual border agents to Webb County became an attractive place to begin a program with these features.
The police training has been a significant factor in the Merida Initiative, which raises the U.S. society with Mexico and Central America in the war on drugs, offering 1,400 billion since 2008.
However, the focus of cooperation now shifts to the local forces that have historically had a low fire power and have been ill-prepared to face an ominous threat daily.
Through the Merida Initiative, Mexico State Department received $ 327 million for police training in fiscal year of 2009. These funds are located in Mexico having behind Afghanistan and Iraq, both in war, the total amount received for police training in the departments of State or Defense, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office released in April.
Details of the training programs have not been developed, but Brownfield expects three or four training centers in Mexico. They held meetings with Mexican officials on this trip to start laying out the format of the program.
He said that on Monday he spoke with officials in Ciudad Juarez, which is on the border with the United States and is one of the hardest towns hit by drug violence in Mexico.
Similar meetings will be held in the northern city of Monterrey on Thursday. The northern states of Chihuahua and Nuevo Leon, where Monterrey is, are two of the areas most affected by violence in Mexico.
According to official data, at least 35,000 people have died in drug-related violence in Mexico since late 2006, when President Felipe Calderon launched a campaign against organized crime.
The U.S. involvement in Mexico's fight was controversial by recent press reports on a large presence of U.S. agents and alleged attempts to circumvent national law.
The governments of Mexico and the United States said that the stay of U.S. agents was attached to Mexican law. Sub-secretary of State William Burns said on Tuesday in Mexico City that the U.S.
fully respects the sovereignty of Mexico and rejected reports that U.S. agents operate on Mexican soil. Brownfield emphasized that the participation of U.S.
trainers will take place only with the approval of Mexico and training centers will be under the authority of Mexico. In long-term the prospects could combine the work of coaches such from an agency like the Sheriff in Webb County with the help of Texas National Guard.