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Column: U.S. Falls Short in Helping Mexico Battle Drug War

drug war-gunBy Jackson Diehl
Washington Post Deputy Editorial  Page Writer

WASHINGTON — Last month, 303 people were murdered in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez, which lies alongside El Paso. This month, the dead include three men killed by a sophisticated, remote-controlled car bomb — the first in Mexico’s drug wars. In a city of 1.2 million, more than 2,600 died violently in 2009; some 200,000 more may have fled.

Meanwhile in Washington, the Government Accountability Office has drawn up a list of assistance promised to Mexico by the United States since 2008, but not delivered. It includes: at least nine Black Hawk helicopters; three Bell helicopters; four airplanes for sea patrolling; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft; 218 polygraph units; two railroad inspection units; mobile gamma radiation trucks; and five training programs, ranging from “financial intelligence” to “drug demand reduction.”

Since the end of the Cold War, neglect of Latin America has become something of a fine art in Washington, practiced by Republican and Democratic administrations alike.

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