Joe Biden brings the checkbook.
Mr Biden said the US had supported Central America under a regional security initiative with some $361m (£230m) since 2008.
“We’re asking our Congress for another $107m next year,” he said. [...]
The drugs issue is likely to surface next month when regional heads of state, including US President Barack Obama, gather in Colombia for the sixth summit of the Americas.
Joe’s writing checks on money we don’t have in order to try to keep President Obama from having to face tough questions about failed policy.
Update: Even writing checks isn’t going to silence the region. Check out this outstanding article by Laura Carlsen that was picked up in Honduras Weekly: Upping the Drug War: Doing Biden’s Bidding
His message is that the administration that presides over the nation with the largest illegal drug market in the world and actively funds a global war to enforce ineffective prohibition policies will not consider any form of legalization. But it supports “dialogue.”
Can that position really qualify as dialogue? A dialogue on how to “be most effective in confronting transnational criminal organizations” must start from the recognition that the current US strategy has increased violence, done nothing to reduce crime or illicit drug flows and had a devastating impact on “people’s daily lives and daily routines” in Mexico and Central America.
A real discussion on effective strategies has to include the option of legalization. [...]
Biden appears to have been charged on this trip with deterring any move toward legalization in the region and aligning nations in the war on drugs.
He has a tough road ahead of him. Latin American citizens and government leaders are openly protesting a model where their nations pay in blood and lives to fill US defense contractor’s pockets and spread the Pentagon’s global reach — with few, if any, positive results.
Biden may have taken the checkbook with him and these countries will probably take the money offered, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anymore that it will buy their silence.
To use that influence to suppress debate on innovative and very possibly effective alternatives to the bloody drug war is bad politics and the opposite of the kind of “equal partnership and mutual respect” the Obama administration promised at the Trinidad and Tobago Summit in 2009. Part of the purpose of Biden’s trip was to prepare for the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena in April. At that summit, the hemisphere’s nations will be able to judge whether Obama’s presidency changed relations as promised three years ago.
If Biden’s trip was only about locking in policies of drug war militarization and discouraging independent regional initiatives, the Obama administration will arrive in Cartagena having broken those promises and dashed hopes of a more just realignment of relations in the hemisphere.
I’m thinking that the Summit of the Americas is going to be something to watch.