by Mansour Alabed Alali – Journalist. Human rights activist. With simple tents and poor facilities that do not exceed blackboard and old seats, volunteer teachers continue to teach children without any wages as voluntary work. The reality of education in the northern Syrian camps .. In the midst of compelling circumstances and deteriorating conditions resulting from the fires of conflict and the political crisis … Continue reading SYRIA. Camp, school. With simple tents and poor facilities
Philomena O’Grady – Master of Criminological Studies (LaT), Master of Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism (MQ), Master of International Security Studies (MQ)
Liberal MP Julia Banks threw the cat among the pigeons after claiming she could live on the $40 per day jobless payment, with critics quick to point out she owned a handful of houses and drew generous allowances.” https://lnkd.in/gajamUZ
by Mansour Alabed Alali – Journalist. Human rights activist. The long waiting journey The suffering of the Jabal Camp in Jarablus in North Of Syria and the long waiting journey * The suffering of the displaced people of the Jabal camp in the city of Jarbalus in light of the poor conditions of the service in this camp and the deterioration of the reality … Continue reading SYRIA. The suffering of the Jabal Camp in Jarablus in North Of Syria
Shermamat Abdullozoda – Professor College of Business, Westcliff University Los Angeles, California USA Every country has its rules and regulations; Uzbekistan has its constitution and policies to enforce. Unfortunately, due to some circumstances and reasons, these policies and laws are not implemented effectively. The Report will provide those reasons and credibility of legislation, as compared to other developing and developed countries around the globe. Also, one … Continue reading UZBEKISTAN. Economic development financial / economics situation of Uzbekistan
Philomena O’Grady – Master of Criminological Studies (LaT), Master of Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism (MQ), Master of International Security Studies (MQ)
I dedicate this article to the countless thousands of parents and their children who have suffered at the hands of Child Support. Australia’s children deserve a better future, a future inclusive of both parents who will love, nurture, guide and support them, but above all, be available to share the amazing journey that is “life”.
Decades of neglect by successive governments has cemented Australia’s Child Support as an “oligarchy” of Australian bureaucracy, where power is vested with bureaucrats and not with the elected Minister of the Department. It is not surprising that given these factors, the Australian public are increasingly losing confidence in the integrity and honesty of both Government and the public service.
“Effective democracy depends on informed voters. In a truly open society, citizens are entitled to full knowledge of government affairs. Information about official conduct does not become any less important because it diminishes official reputations”
Federal Court judge and commissioner of the Fitzgerald Inquiry, the Hon Tony Fitzgerald AC QC
Over the past few decades, Australia has witnessed a dramatic rise in complaints lodged by ordinary Australians fighting to ensure the rights of their children. Until recently, these complaints failed to ignite public debate, despite growing evidence highlighting Child Support’s actions had resulted in decades of human rights abuses, injustices and failure to comply with “Rule of Law.”
Legislative “secrecy provisions” prohibiting victims from “speaking out” publicly have acted to facilitate Child Support’s ongoing concealment of abuses that are being perpetrated against the average Australian parent. However, we are now witnessing a growing uneasiness and anger within the wider Australian community, as more and more parents are choosing to come forward with their stories of abuse.
Current protocols surrounding Child Support’s complaint processes fall well short in adequately supporting parents to provide a nurturing, stable and loving environment for their children. Instead, Child Support’s actions are less than conducive to the long-term wellbeing of either parents or their children, with those making complaints often experiencing bullying, victimisation and prejudice. Child Support’s actions isolate, divide and pit parent against parent often leading to animosity between parents to the detriment of their children.
Whilst there have been numerous inquiries investigating Child Support, the Agency has failed to keep successive Governments, their Ministers and the Australian public fully informed of the serious problems which are faced by parents and their children. At times Child Support decisions have led to serious and often fatal consequences.
”It would appear the senior officers of the Agency have not fully informed successive ministers as to the keeping of records on the deaths. Clearly there has been no public policy response to these deaths. There has been no critical incident team to deal with the trauma to parents, children and extended family.”
“Child Support the Financial Cost to the Taxpayer – A review of the unemployment and welfare costs of the Child Support Agency – A Community Awareness Project” PIR Independent Research Group September 2004. p.18.
Considering years of complaints that have been lodged with numerous Members of Parliament, it is difficult to fathom how Government Ministers remain unaware of the serious problems confronting families in these situations.
Child Support’s lack of integrity, diligence and treating parents with little dignity, coupled with their ongoing consistent failure to adhere to “Rule of Law” has acted to systematically weaken and threaten the very foundations of democracy. In doing so, it has cemented Child Support’s powerbase, where power is vested in bureaucrats whose actions have consistently failed to see the importance of upholding either democratic rights, or “Rule of Law.”
Recently, the Public Service Commission highlighted that the “Australian Public Service had given itself a clean bill of health and a Federal Anti-Corruption Commission was not necessary stating “…most public service misconduct was “of the less serious kind””
“The Australian Public Service has given itself a clean bill of health and says it does not want or need a new federal corruption-busting commission……Most public service misconduct was “of the less serious kind”, Public Service Commissioner John Lloyd has argued, and most perpetrators already get caught with departments and agencies doing a good job in preventing or detecting corruption.”
The case presented in this article, has been extensively documented, it not only highlights serious misconduct, but also portrays the Child Support Agency as one which is “out of touch” with community expectations. Furthermore, its behaviour in concealing evidence from its Minister, Parliament and the Australian public highlights a disdain for human rights, Rule of Law and democratic process, which fall well outside the expected norms of conduct stipulated under the Public Service “Code of Conduct.”
The fact that Child Support has been able to successfully conceals decades of bureaucratic incompetence, negligence, misconduct, human right abuses should now be of concern to both the Australian public and the International community. Their action has resulted in thousands of mismanaged cases leaving many children without the basic necessities, hence also breaching “UN Conventions on the Rights of the Child”.
The case revolves around a corporate employee working for the subsidiary of an Australian company in another jurisdiction, the pertinent facts being: –
Child Support grossly understated income which led to an incorrect financial assessment.
Child Support was made aware of the error, however failed to investigate why the assessed income fell well below the average occupational salary paid by the marketplace for similar corporate positions.
Change of Assessment lodged by the single parent who had full-time custody of the child.
Child Support amended data to reflect correct amounts but failed to comply with legislation requiring back-payment of Child Support which in this case was nearly 12 months of incorrect payments.
Child Support requires any Change of Assessment documentation collected as part of the Change of Assessment process, to be provided to parents.
Child Support provided the parent who had originally lodged the Change of Assessment with documents in two identities, which included: –
Handwritten Change of Assessment in an Australian identity
Salary slip / Taxation assessment issued by another country, both documents were in a secondary identity
It is concerning that the onus is placed on individual parents to identify errors and in this case illustrates Child Support’s lack of necessary expertise to either, verify financial information or ensure the accuracy of documentation it disseminates: –
Child Support should have taken the imitative and queried the initial assessment amount especially considering that the amount fell well below the average occupational salary paid by the marketplace for similar corporate positions.
Child Support failed to verify client identity.
Child Support should have queried why documents it received were provided in two identities.
Child Support also failed to seek clarification from the Taxation Office in the other country as to how verification of identity was made. (Especially considering evidence suggested that an Australian Immigration document may had been used to legitimise the second identity in that country).
Child Support failed to verify whether Child Support payments were made using bank accounts in two identities.
The lack of expertise within the Agency in failing to either query or see the legal ramifications of accepting documents in two identities resulted in the matter being continually “stone-walled.” Considering anecdotal evidence from other parents which also highlighted that documents in different identities were routinely accepted by Child Support, the parent requested meetings with Child Support’s Department Head, as well as, suggesting that the matter was forwarded for investigation. These requests were denied.
Child Support’s failure to comprehend the broader social, economic and security implications should be of national and international concern.
In order to alert the Government of Child Support’s practices a meeting was organised a former Labor Minister. Whilst relevant documentation highlighting the two identities was provided to the Minister, the parent was later advised by the Minister’s office that after due consideration, no offences could be established.
A complaint (together with supporting documentation) was then lodged with the Commonwealth Ombudsman’s office. The Ombudsman’s office being responsible for any complaints against Government agencies.
In providing the Ombudsman’s with relevant documentation, the Ombudsman was also advised of the serious legal implications of the allowing documentation in two identities. Despite being provided with this information the Ombudsman’s response dated 8 February 2013 (Ref 2012-500647) clearly also showed a lack of legislative knowledge.
скачать документThe Commonwealth Ombudsman’s also failed to seek clarification as to how a taxation document from another country had come to be in a second identity, or whether bank account/s in two identities were being utilised to make Child Support payments. An excerpt of their reply is as follows: –
“We accept that Child Support will rely on financial information it receives from the payer, and agencies such as the ATO, in making a child support assessment. In this case, it appears Child Support accepted financial information that ………. provided using two different names. However, there is nothing on the information available to suggest that ……… did not declare his income, or that he provided Child Support financial information under one name, while hiding the income he derived under another. In my view, the fact that documents with both names were provided to Child Support by …….. suggests he did not intend to conceal this information, and it is relevant that Child Support seems to have taken account of both sets of documents. I cannot identify any evidence that there is any other financial information that should have been taken into account by Child Support – it you are aware of any, it would be open to you to tell Child Support.”
Further complaints lodged with Child Support by the parent, were treated with contempt. A letter received dated 11 February 2014 drawing the following response: –
“I am writing in relation to your recent telephone contact with the department, I refer to your request to make an appointment with the head of the department, and the matter that you raised regarding breaches of ………….
We take your concerns seriously and our letter of 26 September 2013 we advised the options available for you to escalate these matters. I would also like to take this opportunity to confirm that we no longer continue to discuss your broad allegations in the future.
If you call to discuss matters relating to ………………., fraud and legislative breaches we will again confirm that we will not discuss this matter further.”
In March 2014, in response to decades of complaints and widespread public condemnation, the Government set up the House of Representatives Standing Committee of Social Policy and Legal Affairs into the Child Support Program to ascertain whether the administration of the Child Support Agency could be better managed.
Government called for public submissions. Public hearings were held as part of the assessment with evidence tendered by members of the public to the House of Representatives Standing Committee, being recorded in Hansard. Prior to tendering evidence members of the public were reminded: –
“Please note that these meetings are formal proceedings of the parliament. Everything said should be factual and honest. It can be considered a serious matter to attempt to mislead the committee. The hearing is open to the public and is being broadcast live. A transcript of what is being said will be placed on the committee’s website”
House of Representatives Standing Committee of Social Policy and Legal Affairs Child support program (Public Hearing Melbourne) Thursday 21 August 2014. p.1.
Despite evidence tendered forming part of the formal Parliamentary proceedings, only a small proportion of evidence tendered was placed on the Committee’s webpage. The rationale for this remains unclear, however, as it is a requirement of Parliament that evidence recorded in Hansard is made publicly available, Government should now list all evidence presented to the House of Representatives Standing Committee of Social Policy and Legal Affairs into the Child Support Program hearings on the Government website.
In addition, Government should provide an explanation as to why the public was not made aware of the full extent and nature of complaints levelled against the Agency. Instead its Summary of Findings painting a favourable picture which failed to mentioned human rights and “Rule of Law” breaches: –
“The report contains 25 recommendations in total. The Committee found that the CSP is generally functioning as intended: evidence to the inquiry indicated that in approximately 75-80 per cent of child support cases, parents are meeting their child support obligations and have established friendly or cooperative post-separation relationships. As such, the challenge faced by this inquiry was to try and find ways to improve the system for people who are experiencing child support problems while not disrupting the areas in which the CSP is working well”
The Statement of Findings also failed to highlight a number of serious issues that had been raised for discussion during the public hearings: –
“………I believe the government is being compliant in this, because to deny loved ones the opportunity to see their children, when it is unjustified, is a form of child abuse and should be a crime. It is cruel. It is vicious…….I speak for all parents when I say that legal, moral and financial responsibilities must be met by both parents, irrespective of who has custody of the children. There needs to be accountability. There need to be consequences…..”
Source : Commonwealth of Australia – Proof Committee Hansard, House of Representative Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs Child Support Program (Public) Thursday 21 August 2014. By Authority of the House of Representatives [PROOF COPY (unpublished)] p.30.
“……We cannot let this go because people are dying. I am not just talking about fathers committing suicide or mothers being bashed to death. I am sick of turning on the news and seeing these situations. What about the ones we are not hearing about? What about the children who are taking their lives? We do not ever hear about that. We do not hear about suicides…. We need to, as a society, look at this. Why is this happening?”
Source : Commonwealth of Australia – Proof Committee Hansard, House of Representative Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs Child Support Program (Public) Thursday 21 August 2014. By Authority of the House of Representatives [PROOF COPY (unpublished)] p.31.
“………… identified a number of flaws within the Child Support Agency that could be addressed. Firstly, the financial analysis. Child Support staff currently lack the financial analytical expertise that is required to properly assess the financial data in relation to child support assessments, given the enormous cost to the taxpayer in relation to the appeals process based on these incorrect assessments of financial data. Currently, there are no financial analysts literally to look at the data that is coming in. It is recommended that Child Support employs a fully-qualified financial analyst whose role is to assess the financial data provided to the Child Support Agency. Secondly, training is to be provided to Child Support staff in identifying and acting upon breaches of section 24 of the anti-money-laundering legislation pertaining to the use of false-name bank accounts. Thirdly is the introduction of mandatory reporting of taxation offences to the tax office. Fourthly, that policies be implemented that apply to Child Support having due diligence in reporting matters to other government agencies in instances where legislative breaches have occurred. Fifthly, documents and correspondence received by Child Support and on forwarded to carers and/or payers be scrutinised for correctness to ensure that the documents are legally correct. In relation to health issues: in instances where Child Support officers or case managers need to make decisions in relation to medical claims relating to child-support assessments, these decisions should be evidence based and backed by those Child Support officers and case managers who hold proper medical qualifications. On the issue of accountability, the Child Support Agency should be accountable to an external authority to ensure transparency of processes and accountability to the public and to federal parliament. This is particularly important in matters where information has been provided to Child Support which has highlighted breaches of other federal legislation that, in turn has led to the financial abuse of the child; the actions of the Child Support staff have a negative flow-on effect to state governments, aware that these decisions may have an indirect impact on other international jurisdictions; and Child Support identifies what constitutes a specific time frame and works within that time frame to ensure that carers and/or payers are able to lodge objections within any given specified period……”
Source : Commonwealth of Australia – Proof Committee Hansard, House of Representative Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs Child Support Program (Public) Thursday 21 August 2014. By Authority of the House of Representatives [PROOF COPY (unpublished)] p.27.
Concealment is an “indictable offence” and as such, an “open” and “transparent” investigation should be conducted to ascertain why the information provided to the Committee was concealed from public scrutiny.
As the case also highlighted numerous issues which had been raised in evidence tendered to the House of Representatives Standing Committee, the parent also lodged a complaint on 20 October 2016, (together with evidence) with the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service and the Minister for Women, Senator Michaela Cash requesting meetings to discuss the issue.
Senator Cash’s office forwarded the request to Minister for Human Services, The Hon Alan Tudge. As a result of the request Child Support contacted the parent on 23 November 2016. During the phone call the parent advised the Agency’s representative of a number of offences that had come to light, including possible Immigration fraud and given documentation Child Support had provided in two identities, the possibility of multiple identity bank accounts running concurrently.
Child Support advised parent was later advised in a letter dated 9 December 2016 that “a personal meeting with the Minister was unable to be facilitated as the Department was best placed to answer your concerns…” as is evident in their reply: –
“Thank you for your correspondence to the Minister for Employment, Minister for Women and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service, Senator the Hon, Michaelia Cash, about support concerns and other issues. Your correspondence has been referred to the Minister for Human Services, the Hon Alan Tudge MP, for your consideration of the child support issues raised. I have been asked to respond on the Minister’s behalf. I apologise for the delay in responding.
I recognise that although you raised your concerns about the Department of Human Services (the Department’s) management of ……………. issues with the Commonwealth Ombudsman, …….. are frustrated that these issues have not been resolved ……… .
To properly respond to your correspondence, I arranged for an experienced Service Officer for the Department to investigate ………………. concerns and discuss them with you. I understand
…….. .contacted you on 23 November 2916 and discussed ……………. issues ……….. confirmed that a personal meeting with the Minister was unable to be facilitated as the Department was best placed to address your concern.”
In an email dated 17 February 2017, Child Support provided misleading information to Senator Cash in an act to conceal “Rule of Law” breaches in relation to the case stating: –
“…remains dissatisfied with the response to…concerns, however this matter has been thoroughly investigated by a number of agencies that investigate fraudulent behaviour. The outcome is that no further investigation into…claims is to be made” and ”any further correspondence submitted by………..to the Department about this matter will be read and filed but not responded to”
If evidence in this case has been suppressed and misrepresented to an elected Member of Parliament, how many similar cases have been concealed by Child Support?
The case is a reflection of decades of inaction by successive governments, who despite ongoing public outcry continue to fail to address evidence that is not only presented to Members of Parliament but also Parliamentary Committees, highlighting Child Support’s ongoing human rights abuses and their disdain for “Rule of Law” principles.
The case also raises serious concerns in the area of: –
The failure of on-boarding processes in relation to proper verification and identification procedure.
The failure of Child Support to address the use of bank accounts in multiple identities for Child Support purposes, the actions of which contravene Australia’s Anti Money Laundering and Counter Terrorism Financing Act (AML/CTFA).
Child Support’s lack of understanding in this area highlights a failure to keep abreast of legislation that requires identities to be verified especially, if documents are received in two identities, as was this case in this instance.
Prior to dismissing the case, Child Support also failed to verify whether bank accounts were held in these two identities. Their failure highlights a serious weakness to support the Government’s AML/CTFA imitative. This is concerning especially given the current global security terrain.
The issue certainly warrants further examination by Government and should be taken into consideration by the Financial Action Task Force when they next undertake an evaluation of Australia’s AML/CTFA protocols.
Despite Australia ratifying the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child in December 1980, the actions of Child Support are both deplorable and inexcusable and illustrates an ongoing failure to comprehend the importance of their role in assisting to foster an environment conducive to the welfare of the child.
In 2017, the Senate unanimously voted against the establishment of an Anti-Corruption Commission on the basis that Australia was “one of the least corrupt countries in the world” (Hansard No 9, 2017. 15.8.2017, p.5656). This case and thousands of similar cases highlight decades of systemic abuse, incompetence, negligence and corruption that has been allowed to fester unabated within Child Support.
The full extent of Child Support’s social and economic “harm” to victims, their children and the wider Australian community is yet to be fully realised. The intergenerational costs of Child Support’s negligent and incompetent actions may never be fully evaluated. Child Support’s failure to act in an accountable and transparent manner, instead choosing a pathway of ongoing concealment emphasises urgent need for both a United Nations Review into Human Rights abuses in Australia and the establishment of an Independent Federal Anti-Corruption Commission, with the power to both investigate and prosecute those who have misused their vested power and authority.
Finally, I dedicate this article to the countless thousands of parents and their children who have suffered at the hands of Child Support. Australia’s children deserve a better future, a future inclusive of both parents who will love, nurture, guide and support them, but above all, be available to share the amazing journey that is “life”.
Kseniya Kirillova – Journalist. Analyst. Writer. Putin who created a system in which inconvenient people are beaten and killed easily, and death is a convenient solution to the problem of an “inconvenient” individual. And the more cynical the Russian hierarchy gets, the more people die at its hands, be it in the wars or high-profile contract killings, and the farther the “killing epidemic” spreads throughout … Continue reading RUSSIA. A Killing Epidemic: The Culling of Russian Media Opponents
by Nadezhda Kuzmina – journalist. Correspondent Argumenty i Fakty (Russian – AiF was listed in the Guinness Book of Records with the largest circulation of any weekly publication – print run of 33.5 million) «Смотрели, как умирает мой сын». Российский моряк скончался от малярии Андрей Марышев из Волжского мечтал заработать на первый взнос по ипотеке. Молодой человек недавно женился и хотел обзавестись собственным жильём. Ради своей … Continue reading RUSSIA. “They watched my son die.” Russian sailor died of malaria
by Johan van Dongen – CEO at Microsurgical Educational Institute and Secrets of Aids and Ebola Blog. Netherlands Medical research and investigation reveal that Germany, Belgium, Canada, Australia and the Netherlands, were actively engaged in human experimentation, however, there is more evidence that the ingenious natives of Papua New Guinea, were also used for experimentation. The arrest of Nobel laureate professor Daniel Carleton Gajdusek seemed like a … Continue reading PAPUA NEW GUINEA. Clandestine radioactive experiments in Australia and Papua new Guinea
Alam Khan Hamdard – adviser to Ministry of Finance and Global Goodwill Ambassadors Afghanis. President and Country Director AIFC/ AlmaaliDubai and Kabul CIBAFI Bahrain Rulers Are Not Above the Law. According to the Islamic concept of justice, absolutely no one is above the law, for all men are equal Human rights in Islam are taken from Quran and saying of Prophets Mohammad (PBUH) and acts of Caliphs of Islam … Continue reading AFGHANISTAN. Human Rights in an Islam
by Johan van Dongen – CEO at Microsurgical Educational Institute and Secrets of Aids and Ebola Blog. Netherlands German SS doctors who had infants with radioactive cow’s milk contaminated with microorganisms during the Second World War are, of course, suspicious, even though they only stayed until after the war. We know about black Belgian Aids patients in the former Belgian Congo, except those Belgians who are … Continue reading BELGIUM. Black Belgian AIDS patients and depleted uranium
by Johan van Dongen – CEO at Microsurgical Educational Institute and Secrets of Aids and Ebola Blog. Netherlands The presence of xenophobia is a disease unto society as it not only culminates in violence but systematically transgresses upon the rights of foreigners. “During the twentieth century, babies and children in orphanages and Homes, mainly made up of stolen Aboriginal children, were used as subjects for medical … Continue reading NETHERLANDS. Aboriginal children used as lab rats for medical experiment
By Evan Ellis – Assistant Professor of National Security The article was written before the missile strike in Syria, and doesn’t capture the impact of the action on the summit agenda, I believe that the basic analysis of the conservative trend in the region is consistent with what happened at the summit, and the article’s arguments about the agenda for the Americas may continue to be … Continue reading LATIN AMERICA. How the 2018 Summit of the Americas can still make a difference
by Elena Botts – Lawyer for Human Rights Washington, District Of Columbia The presence of xenophobia is a disease unto society as it not only culminates in violence but systematically transgresses upon the rights of foreigners. The presence of xenophobia is a disease unto society as it not only culminates in violence but systematically transgresses upon the rights of foreigners, and also alienates them on countless … Continue reading SOUTH AFRICA. Xenophobia
by Philomena O’Grady – Master of Criminological Studies (LaT), Master of Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism (MQ), Master of International Security Studies (MQ) “That’s the only way you’re going to expose corruption properly, make the public understand the nature of corruption and the harm it does to the community.” “The Turnbull government has not ruled out creating a federal Independent Commission Against Corruption,………On Monday, … Continue reading AUSTRALIA. A step in the right direction. Legal experts suggest design for federal anti-corruption commission
by Martin Edwin Andersen – Writer. Historian. Strategic Communications Specialist Protected in Vladimir Putin’s human rights gulag, Edward Snowden is a leaker who promotes himself as a champion of national security whistleblowing. During the Harlem Renaissance, the poet Claude McKay sought to spread the good word about how those “abused, outraged and … fighting against terror” must not falter in their demand for redress of … Continue reading USA. What poet Claude McKay can teach national security whistleblowers
by Philomena O’Grady – Master of Criminological Studies (LaT), Master of Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism (MQ), Master of International Security Studies (MQ) This coming from an arrogant Victorian Govt who got caught rigging. political votes – Another blow to Australian’s democracy. This coming from an arrogant Victorian Govt who got caught rigging. political votes – Another blow to Australian’s democracy. “The state government says … Continue reading AUSTRALIA. Another blow to Australian’s democracy
by Peter Stano – Journalist In September 2016, Wake Forest announced that the Koch Foundation had committed nearly $4 million in funding for the Institute over the next five years. ..Many liberal faculty members and student groups are now trying to “UnKoch” their campuses. But Wake Forest’s Faculty Senate resolution goes further. In addition to demanding that the university reject the grant, Wake Forest faculty demanded that … Continue reading USA. The suffering of an American girl. “She was so naïve that she taught US as a fairy land”
by Evan Ellis – Assistant Professor of National Security
From February 19-28, I had the opportunity to travel to Mexico City to speak with academics and officials in the Mexican defense sector, regarding the evolution of challenges of transnational organized crime and insecurity in the country, and the work of the Mexican government to combat it. My trip also gave me the opportunity to gain insights into the political environment surrounding July 2018 elections, in which Mexico will chose its next President, Congress and eight state governors, with enormous implications for the U.S. and the region.
In a forthcoming academic publication, I detail the work of the Mexican government against transnational organized crime and other security challenges in a forthcoming academic publication. Here I set out my insights from my trip regarding the Mexican security situation and the political environment.
During my interactions in Mexico, I found the country to be at a critical moment, owing to the expansion of violence and criminality associated with the fragmentation of the criminal groups plaguing the country. At the same time, the possible election of left-of-center populist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) and his Morena party in Mexico’s elections threaten to lead the country away from its close economic and security cooperation relationship with the United States at a time when the relationship is most important for both countries. Such a path would have dangerous implications, not only for Mexico, but also for the U.S. and its strategic position in the Western Hemisphere and globally.
To be fair, both cartel-related criminal violence in Mexico and the risk that the country will take a destructive step towards populism are problems for which the U.S. is substantially to blame. There’s also room, however, for the U.S. to contribute to the solution, both in its own interest and in that of Mexico.
Trends in Mexico’s Evolving Criminal Landscape
The Mexican government’s campaign against transnational criminal cartels, conducted with particular intensity during the governments of Felipe Calderon and Enrique Peña Nieto with the active participation of the Mexican Army and Navy has followed a reasonable strategy that includes drug interdiction, and the targeting of criminal leaders and their organizational structures across the Mexican government, in collaboration with the U.S. and other international partners. Unfortunately—if almost inevitably—these activities have had the undesirable side effect of fragmenting the criminal groups operating in the country, helping to expand violence. One Mexican security expert estimates that as many as 245 interacting criminal groups currently operate in Mexico, counting cartel factions, affiliated gangs and other entities.
The fragmentation of the criminal landscape in Mexico drives violence in multiple ways. The replacement of larger groups with a greater number of smaller ones creates incentives for the groups to fight for key drug routes and “plazas” (strategic geographies along those routes), as well as territory to extort and other areas of criminal interest. It gives such struggles an atmosphere of uncertainty, in which the new leaders are often less experienced, and more disposed to prove themselves or gain attention by committing murders in a particularly gruesome fashion.
Compounding this problem, the breakup of groups that once had the faculty to move drugs from South America, through Central America the Caribbean, and/or Mexico, to the United States and Europe, have left some of the remaining factions without the ability or connections to complete such feats of logistics and coordination on their own. As a result, those groups have been driven to other criminal activities or forced to specialize in a certain part of the supply chain. Thus whereas a single entity such as the Guadalajara Cartel could once work with local criminal associates to move drugs and other contraband all the way through Mexico, many illicit goods now must pass through the hands of multiple groups to arrive in the United States, multiplying the opportunities for competition and violence.
Nor is this phenomenon of fragmentation of the criminal supply chain limited to Mexico. Indeed, with the work of the U.S. and governments in the region against transnational organized crime, the entire hemispheric supply chain has atomized, from the demobilization of the Colombian terrorist group the FARCand government successes in the campaign against powerful criminal bands there such as the Gulf Clan to the decapitation of virtually all of the principal smuggling groups in Central America such as the Cachiros and Valle Valles in Honduras, the Lorenzanas, Mendozas, and Lopez Ortiz families in Guatemala, and the Texis Cartel and Perrones in El Salvador. Such fragmentation also includes the range of Mexican, Dominican, and other groups distributing drugs at the retail level in the United States.
The violence produced by the fragmentation of the Mexican criminal landscape has been compounded by the impact on Mexico of the restructuring of the drug market in the United States, as the principal consuming country drawing narcotics and other illicit goods (as well as people) through Mexico. Such restructuring includes legalization of marijuana in multiple U.S. states, which has caused an important, if partial shift in production to support the U.S. market from Mexico to the U.S. itself. Complicating this factor, the crisis of opioid consumption in the U.S. has significantly increased demand from traditional Mexican heroin producing areas, including Guerrero, Sinaloa and Michoacán (as well as the Guatemalan province of San Marcos). The result on the ground in Mexico has been the intensification of fights for control of poppy production areas and associated transport routes. Third, the expanding consumption of synthetic drugs in the United States, and the changing nature of the synthetic drug market, has not only expanded production of synthetics in Mexico (largely using precursor chemicals imported from China), but has also placed new emphasis on production sites in urban areas. This is due, in part, to the fact that, by contrast to the production of opioids, the production of synthetic drugs is relatively more reliant on urban infrastructure, such as electricity and water. Finally, thanks in part to the explosion of cocaine production in Colombia (with the suspension of aerial spraying of coca crops with glyphosate), an expanded wave of cocaine is entering Mexico’s Pacific coast, principally in Oaxaca and Guerrero, where smugglers often transition from maritime to land routes to evade U.S. and Mexican detection efforts.
Beyond drugs, a number of other criminal enterprises have become a significant factor in Mexico’s criminal economy, including illegal mining (particularly in Michoacán), the extortion of producers of export-oriented agricultural products (including avocados and lemons), and the robbery of gasoline and oil. Not only have criminal factions and associated gangs begun to “specialize” in various types of crime, but a dangerous complementarity has emerged between groups. Those with significant levels of pseudo-military capabilities, such as the Zetas and to a lesser extent Jalisco Nuevo Generation, have incorporated local gangs and common criminals into their organizations, taxing their illicit activities, while in return, arming and training them, and helping them to expand into a broader array of criminal activities. This evolution, in turn, has helped to fuel the expansion of violence and criminality in Mexico.
With respect to fuel theft, the activity by groups known as huachicoleros has become a far more extensive problem in Mexico than is widely recognized, generating estimated losses to the state of more than $1 billion per year, according to experts consulted for this study. The struggles for criminal turf associated with those thefts has also significantly contributing to violence in several areas that were previously relatively secure, including current difficulties the southeast of the state of Puebla. The huachicoleros phenomenon also highlights the extensive involvement of local communities, and the guilt of both companies and state enterprises in criminal activities. It is widely presumed, for example, that the tapping of pipelines requires technical knowledge obtained from compromised workers of the Mexican oil company Pemex (whose employees are generally not subject to regular confidence testing) regarding when, where, and how to penetrate the pipes (improper techniques or drilling into a pipe when gasoline is flowing can produce catastrophic results). The activities of the huachicoleros also often requires the hired security personnel of PEMEX “looking the other way” regarding a range of conspicuous criminal activities, including cutting access holes in fences, or allowing the construction of homes and other structures on top of pipeline rights-of-way. Such overlooked activities also include selling discounted stolen gasoline along roadsides or to commercial entities.
Moreover, in the often remote and economically depressed areas where such illicit activities take place, the criminals share part of the benefit (including both revenues from the theft and discounted gasoline) with the local communities. Such shared interest in the criminal activities, in turn, helps to motivate the communities to defend the huachicoleros against government forces when they attempt to act to stop such theft or recover stolen products. Further complicating the situation, and illustrating the dangerous “complementarities” emerging in Mexico’s criminal economy, powerful criminal groups such as the Zetas, in recent years, have involved themselves in the activity, taxing the illicit revenues, while increasing the huachicoleros’ level of armament and associated training, with the result that federal forces on various occasions have encountered armed resistance when they have attempted to intervene against those robbing fuel, or recover stolen stockpiles.
The Question of the Zetas
With respect to major criminal entities operating in Mexico, the Cartel Jalisco Nuevo Generación (CJNG) is the group that has expanded most significantly during the presidency of Enrique Pena Nieto, taking advantage of government actions against rivals such as the dominant Sinaloa Cartel, the Gulf Cartel, and Los Zetas (among others) to expand into spaces that they previously occupied. CJNG attracted international attention for its violent orientation and military capabilities with its April 2015 ambush of federal police forces in Jalisco, and its subsequent downing of a Mexican Army helicopter in May of that year. The illicit connections that CJNG has inherited through its common origins with the internationally-well-connected Sinaloa cartel have given it access to precursor chemicals in Asia, logistics networks in central America and Africa, and affiliated distributors in the United States and Europe. The resulting criminal flows generate earnings for Sinaloa that may be as high as $10 billion per year, and contribute to the group’s ability to acquire military grade arms, and build networks to expand across Mexico and beyond. In addition to CJNG’s paramilitary capabilities and orientation to violence, it has also adopted an approach previously used with some success by groups such as La Familia Michoacana and Caballeros Templares, entering an area in alliance with opportunistic local allies, using extreme albeit selective violence, announcing to would-be rivals and the local population that it seeks to establish order.
Despite such advantages, while CJNG is clearly one of the most significant criminal groups in Mexico, it is not clear whether it has supplanted the Sinaloa cartel as the largest, or whether it is as capable or menacing as some media accounts suggest. While the organization has demonstrated its ability to acquire military-grade weapons such as rocket-propelled grenades and large-caliber machine guns, and to conduct ambushes against federal forces, the sophistication with which it has actually used the expensive arms that its illicit earnings have funded has been uneven. Moreover, while much has been written about the territorial expansion of the group, its role in many of the most ongoing struggles for territory are limited at best, including fights over plazas in Tijuana, Juarez, and Baja California Sur. While the group is one actor among many in Guerrero, and is involved in fights for opium poppy fields in northern Michoacán, it is a marginal player at best in the ongoing contest between factions of the Zetas and Gulf Cartels in Tamaulipas, or in Zeta-dominated Puebla and Veracruz.
While a detailed discussion of the previously mentioned 245 estimated criminal groups in Mexico is beyond the scope of this work, the variety and international character is impressive. In addition to Mexican groups, experts consulted for this story also mentioned Korean, Russian, and Chinese mafias operating in areas such as Mexico City, as well as the integration of Venezuelans, Colombians, and Argentine immigrants into existing criminal structures. One concern, in this respect, has been the possible contribution of knowledge about particular military and criminal capabilities by former members of Colombia’s FARC guerillas and other criminal bands.
Some Mexican States of Concern
With respect to the geography of Mexican crime, the experts consulted for this work responded almost universally that the state of greatest concern is Guerrero. There, a confluence of factors has created a “perfect storm” that has left the state (albeit certainly not the Mexican nation) in a crisis of governance. Contributing challenge include the previously mentioned expanded U.S. demand for heroin (which has fed a struggle for poppy production in Guerrero’s highlands), the flood of cocaine arriving from Colombia on the state’s pacific coast, the role of Acapulco as a center of tourism and other revenue to be coopted or taxed by criminal groups, a social culture in the state accepting of criminality and violence (and long resistant to state authority), and the fragmentation of groups fighting over criminal territory and routes there. With respect to the tolerance of criminality and disposition toward violence among an important segment of Guerrero’s residents, one of the few non-trivial guerrilla groups to emerge in Mexico in modern times, the Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR), was born in the state. With the confluence of such mutually reinforcing dynamics, the penetration of criminality and associate violence has reached almost inconceivable proportions. According to one expert from the state, as much as 80% of Guerrero’s population is involved directly or indirectly in the criminal economy.
Beyond Guerrero, another Mexican state of significant concern is Tamaulipas. There, criminal groups continue to fight over the same three principal points of entry into the United States that have been used since the 1940s when their predecessors supplied heroin to the U.S. market during and after World War II: Laredo (today dominated by the Zetas), Matamoros (today dominated by the Gulf Cartel), and Reynosa (also dominated by the Gulf Cartel). With respect to Reynosa, the takedown of the criminal boss “El Toro” in the fall of 2017 unleashed a struggle between two would-be successors, Los Metros and Gente Nuevo, that unleashed such violence that Mexican President Pena Nieto cancelled a scheduled trip to the city (officially citing complications of his agenda).
Another area of concern has been Veracruz, dominated by the Zetas, previously contested without success by CJNG. In a fashion also seen elsewhere in Mexico, the presence of the Zetas has prompted the emergence of a secretive group, La Sombra, engaged in the assassination of the former.
In Mexico City, an increase in violence, in combination with banners (narcomantas) announcing the arrival of CJNG in the city have raised concerns. Yet while persons consulted for this study believe that CJNG may exercise influence as a supplier or coordinator of criminal enterprises in parts of the city, working with local groups such as the Mafia de la Union (Tepito) and the Cartel of Tlahuac, they were generally skeptical that CJNG had the manpower or the intention to directly participate in Mexico City’s massive criminal economy, which involves complex linkages between street vendors, small businesses, drug sellers and other local criminal groups, unions, and politically-affiliated organizations.
Mexico’s Political Landscape
If the picture painted by Mexico’s criminal landscape is worrisome, the challenge is compounded by upcoming national elections, which raise prospects of both political instability, and a harmful turn away from the close economic and security relationship with the United States, painstakingly built over the past three decades over a difficult historical legacy.
Make no mistake. If Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) is elected President of Mexico, the rhetoric coming from Washington about the moral character of Mexican immigrants, building a wall, and the damage done by a U.S. withdraw from NAFTA will be substantially to blame, insofar as it has seems to vindicate AMLO’s populist rhetoric about the bad character and unreliability of the “pinches gringos” to the north. Yet the question of who is to blame does not make the prospect of an AMLO presidency any the less real, nor mitigate the potential consequences it would have for both Mexico and the United States.
Arguably, AMLO is currently near the ceiling of his demographic support base among the Mexican electorate, polling 33% versus 25% for Anaya and a disappointing 14% for Meade, according to a February 2018 poll by the respected newspaper Reforma. Many in the country having strong feelings either for or against him. Yet in the wake of multiple and bitter divisions among the Mexican political center and right, the country’s one-round presidential election means that AMLO could be elected President, even though receiving less than a third of the vote.
The candidate currently polling second in the presidential race, Ricardo Anaya, reflects a coalition of Mexico’s second largest party, the National Action Party (PAN), and the remnants of the third largest party, the left-of-center Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD). Nonetheless, the policy differences between the two parties, and the perceived authoritarian manner in which Anaya circumvented the PAN’s conventional electoral process to take the nomination from rival Margarita Zavala (wife of Mexico’s still influential former President Felipe Calderon) has spawned disillusionment that has fueled the defection of key politicians from the coalition to both the PRI, and to Morena. These include Javier Lozano, who left the PAN to work for the Meade campaign in the PRI, and Gabriela Cuevas, who defected to AMLO’s Morena party. In addition, the alienation of Zavala and her followers over Anaya taking the nomination from her in a way that was perceived as improper, prompted her to successfully get on ballot as a third-party candidate, where her conservative platform will likely draw voters away from both Anaya (PAN/PRD coalition) and its historic rival the PRI.
Although Mexico’s traditionally dominant Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) has a powerful electoral machine for mobilizing the resources of state governors and the manpower of social organizations such as Mexico’s two teacher’s unions, its candidate, the highly qualified technocrat Jose Antonio Meade, has thus far proved to be better regarded in international circles and the Mexican elite, than among average voters. Meade is currently third in the polls, handicapped by a perceived lack of charisma, and having failed thus far to energize traditional PRIistas leaders such as Fabio Beltrones and Osorio Chong, who view Meade as somewhat of an outsider for having served as a technocrat by leading ministries in both PAN and PRI governments, rather than having worked his way up through the PRI party apparatus.
While Meade has officially incorporated Beltrones (as campaign coordinator for the northern states), and Chong (as PRI coordinator for the Senate), among other old-guard PRIistas, his imperative to the old guard to “make me yours” has receive a lukewarm response from the apparatus which must mobilize to put him in office.
Despite popular beliefs, the core political base of AMLO as the former mayor of Mexico City is not the rural poor (for which the PRI has a well-developed political machine with extensive resources, manpower and nationwide logistics capabilities to capture their votes), but rather the urban middle class, many of whom are not comfortable with either his social conservativism or often irrational policy proposals. These include proposed amnesty for criminal cartel leaders and restructuring the widely respected Mexican Army and Navy into a national guard. The ability of AMLO to win will depend in part on whether such reservations among the urban middle class are outweighed by their frustration with the perceived widespread corruption in Mexico’s government and party system, and the failure of either the PAN or PRI (who collectively had the presidency during the past 12 years) to meaningfully reduce problems of public insecurity, corruption, impunity, or other problems.
Many experts in Mexico consulted for this study believe that, despite AMLO’s consistent and significant lead in the polls, when the presidential campaign officially begins at the end of March, the PRI political machine will succeed in turning the numbers around, employing a combination of direct and indirect attacks that inculcate fear or undermine confidence in AMLO (and the leftist coalition that would accompany him to power) while simultaneously undermining confidence in Anaya as an alternative, in order that those currently identifying with the PAN-PRD coalition shift to Meade as the alternative who can best prevent the election of AMLO. To do so, the PRI will also have to mobilize the support of its (currently reduced) number of governors, and its “on-the-ground” political infrastructure, such as the teachers and other nationwide unions and social groups.
Numerous conspiracy theories abound in Mexico regarding the techniques the PRI will employ to win. Some have speculated the conservative religiously-oriented Social Encounter party (PES), currently aligned with AMLO due to the latter’s evangelical orientation, will turn on its ally and back the PRI. They note that the founder of the PES is actually old-guard PRI leader Osorio Chong, and its current president, Hugo Flores, is a close friend of Chong’s.
Expectations that the PRI electoral machine will, through whatever combination of resources and trickery, overcome AMLO’s demonstrated lead in the polls may be overly optimistic in the face of divisions in the PRI base. Moreover, a true test of the mobilization potential of the PRI electoral machine has not occurred for many years, considering that in 2006, divisions over the party’s then presidential candidate Roberto Madrazo impeded a full mobilization, while in 2012, a strong showing by Enrique Peña Nieto minimized the degree to which the PRI needed to use its political machine.
Beyond the question of whether AMLO can win the presidency, there is considerable debate regarding his disposition, and whether he could actually significantly change the direction of Mexico and its relationship with the United States.
AMLO has thus far maintained a relatively disciplined message regarding his fight against corruption, while seeking to reassure Mexico’s business groups and other power brokers that he will not turn Mexico into a Venezuela-style populist failed state. He has also signaled that he will not excessively target PRIistas for possible wrongdoing stemming from their activities while in government (as the PAN is perceived to have done in states where it won governorships from the PRI in 2016). AMLO has even astutely mocked accusations of his complicity with Russia, which would arguably strategically benefit from an anti-U.S. populist and expanded instability on the US southern frontier.
Despite such effective positioning, AMLO’s specific proposals and cabinet nominees (particularly in the security sector) cause grave concern for those who take them seriously. He has not only (as noted previously) suggested amnesty for Mexico’s criminal bosses, but has proposed abolishing Mexico’s intelligence service CISEN and its presidential guard/secret service (the Estado Mayor Presidencial) and folding the federal police and well-respected Army and Navy into a national guard (which is authorized under the constitution but does not currently exist). His designated top security advisor, Alfonso Durazo, is almost universally regarded as lacking experience in the sector, while his nominee for the interior ministry, Olga Sánchez Cordero, widely respected for her ability as a jurist on the Supreme Court, is questioned as having the disposition to manage what is arguably the most politically demanding cabinet post in Mexico. In the defense sector, AMLO’s designated liaison’s to Mexico’s Army and Navy, LTG Audomaro Martinez Zapata and VADM Jose Manuel Solano Ochoa, however capable, would have to overcome the legally questionable hurdle of returning to active service, as a President Lopez Obrador wishes to appoint them as the Secretary of the Army and Navy respectively, under the current Armed Services enabling law.
In the face of AMLO’s questionable proposals and leadership nominees, many Mexican analysts reassure themselves (in a style eerily parallel to the discourse during the U.S. presidential election regarding Donald Trump), that AMLO would not be able to implement his more radical policy proposals. They note that AMLO’s Morena movement is, at best, expected to win 40% of the lower house of Mexico’s Congress and perhaps 1/3 of its Senate, denying him the legislative basis for implementing his proposals. In addition, his party is expected to win at most three to five of Mexico’s governorships (Mexico City, Tabasco, Morelos, and possibly Veracruz and Puebla) up for grabs in the election. This small minority of governorships, in combination with his minority in the legislature, would arguably prevent him from either changing the constitution, or mobilizing significant resources among Mexico’s states to implement his policies (long a tactic of the PRI, with its historic control over virtually all of Mexico’s governorships). Indeed, colleagues to whom I spoke even made half-joking references to the Mexican “deep state” which would theoretically prevent AMLO from causing too much damage through his policy initiatives if he is elected to power.
AMLO’s difficulty in implementing his agenda through traditional legislative channels is not entirely reassuring. On one hand, such weakness may drive him to use a tactic that he has repeatedly employed in the past, seeking to pressure opposition politicians by mobilizing his followers in the street (a tactic whose impact would be multiplied by AMLO’s position as president, but which would significantly add to political tensions in the country).
Beyond mass mobilizations, although the Mexican presidency is a notably weak institution, AMLO could still effect significant change through his control over ministries, not least in the foreign policy direction of the country with respect to the United States, the rest of the region, and extra-hemispheric actors such as Russia and China. Indeed, one of the most visible ways in which a legislatively and constitutionally frustrated President Lopez Obrador could rally his base and generate symbolic “achievements” would be to adopt a hostile posture toward the Trump administration, symbolically demonstrating a reassertion of Mexican national pride in the context of the U.S. president’s perceived insults against the Mexican people. Such a posture could include the shutting down of currently very close U.S.-Mexican defense cooperation, a return to Mexican Army cooperation with Russia in terms of training and equipment purchases, and an opening of the doors to expanded cooperation with the PRC, including the expansion of current Chinese commercial projects in Mexico (such as those in the manufacturing, petroleum and telecommunications sector), as well as a green light to Huawei and ZTE participation in Mexico’s strategically critical 5thGeneration telecommunications infrastructure, expanded Chinese professional military education exchanges, and an open door to state-financed sales of major weapons systems by major PRC-based companies such as NORINCO, CEIEC, and AVIC, beyond the marginal quality artillery pieces that NORINCO previously sold to the Mexican Army.
Even if AMLO pursues a more moderate political course, either due to his personal inclination or the institutional limits placed on him, the people who come into power with AMLO are a legitimate source of concern, both for leaders in Mexico and in the United States. Indeed, those associated with AMLO to date, such as Nestora Salgado Garcia, a leader of a self-defense militia who was jailed for kidnapping and believed to previously have ties to the EPR guerrilla movement in Guerrero, do not inspire confidence.
While the advance of China and Russia in the hemisphere in recent years has been noted as an item of concern (most prominently by U.S. Secretary Rex Tillerson), it is difficult to understate the grave damage to the U.S. strategic position in the region that would be caused by a Mexico, spurned by a U.S. border wall, insults and the economic harm from the abandonment of NAFTA, all focused by a charismatic, anti-U.S. populist leader who would be more receptive to economic, military and political cooperation with China, Russia and other anti-U.S. actors.
Indeed, the damage caused to the U.S. interests in Latin America by Hugo Chavez would be nothing compared to the impact that AMLO could have. AMLO could link the wrongs that many Mexicans feel that they have suffered from the U.S. in the current context, to the nation’s history of wars and military intervention by the United States, in a narrative that would resonate throughout Central America and the Caribbean, where Mexico has traditional leverage and economic influence, as well as throughout the rest of the Americas. Beyond the increased security challenges for the United States from drugs, immigration and illicit threat networks if Mexico cut off its security cooperation, an anti-U.S. Mexican narrative from a President Lopez Obrador, combined with expanded relationships with Russia and China, would gravely undermine the U.S. pursuit of policy objectives throughout the Americas, and possibly force the U.S. to rethink its strategic posture globally.
As I have argued in numerous other publications, with its ties of geography, commerce, and people, there is no other region which more directly affects U.S. security and prosperity than Latin America and the Caribbean. In this context, if Latin Americans are our neighbors, whose security and prosperity intimately affects us, Mexico is our family.
Ironically, despite the difficulties generated by President Trump’s harsh tone toward Mexico, his national security and foreign policy team have arguably recognized the importance of Mexico and treated it with the attention and respect it deserves. U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis’ three visits to Mexico include his first trip abroad, as well as the first-ever visit by a U.S. Secretary of Defense to Mexico’s Independence Day celebrations. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, in his own multiple visits, has openly recognized U.S. co-responsibility for the scourge of drug cartels in Mexico. The U.S. has set up a bilateral working group on transnational organized crime generating monthly interactions between senior U.S. and Mexican officials. Even during the sexenioof Felipe Calderon, the U.S. and Mexican military have never conducted as many joint activities, or worked as closely together as they do today. Ironically, seldom in U.S. history has an administration had a policy establishment with as many people with personal and professional experience working with Mexico than does the current administration.
In a future article, I will detail the extensive work of the Mexican government in coordination with the U.S. and other partners, to confront the very serious security challenges it faces. Yet just as occurred with the election of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela in 1998, all of that cooperation could evaporate (albeit not necessarily immediately), depending on the direction that Mexico chooses to take in its upcoming presidential election. There could not be a time in which the United States and Mexico need each other more, or when words of friendship and respect from President Trump to our Mexican family could be more beneficial, and more consistent with putting our collective America first.
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By Evan Ellis – Assistant Professor of National Security In mid-2017, a delegation of US congressmen traveled to Santo Domingo to meet with senior Dominican officials and to discuss important matters involving security and development challenges in the country. In fulfillment of Public Law 114-29, approved by the U.S. Congress in December 2016, the U.S. Department of State has been working to finalize a strategy toward the Caribbean. Although the Caribbean … Continue reading DOMINICAN REPUBLIC. Defense and Security Challenges
Originally posted on Human rights today :
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Le Brize Marc – Since 1994, he supervises humanitarian missions throughout the world. Geopolitical analyst, Human Rights/Advocacy
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Continue reading “LIBYA. Libyans “a Travel Guide and a Technical Handbook””