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Show us the money

18 June 2010

Two possibly related stories.  First, from EFE, via Latin American Herald-Tribune (Caracas):

MEXICO CITY – The Mexican government has launched a plan to monitor the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and plans to ask BP to contribute an initial sum of $20 million, Environment Secretary Juan Rafael Elvira Quesada told Efe on Wednesday.

The funds will be used to equip 26 centers for environmental studies and train personnel for the plan, which was launched at the start of the week, he said.

In addition to Elvira’s department, the Profepa environmental enforcement agency and several other entities will take part in the initiative.

The funds to be requested of BP will enable initial monitoring “before there is an impact on Mexican waters,” he said, adding that “we are also considering having samples of the type of oil washing up on the Louisiana coasts” for purposes of comparison.

The money will help Mexico gauge the impact of the spill over a span of one to five years through “permanent (surface and underwater) sampling.”

“This doesn’t mean that (that amount will suffice) to cover the damage to biodiversity. It’s just the additional amount of resources we hadn’t set aside in the budget for transporting biologists, personnel, cameras, equipment, vehicles,” training staff and launching scientific activity, Elvira said.

“Mexico’s not going to sit there with its arms crossed, waiting to see if the oil arrives or doesn’t,” he said.

Secondly, from Associated Press, via Mexico City News:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The State Department has requested an extension of a plan that promised $1.1 billion to help fight drug cartel violence in Mexico, which is undergoing one of the bloodiest months in recent history.

In a report submitted to Congress this week, department officials asked that the Mérida Initiative be extended past 2012. The report calls for the strengthening of public institutions, support for local and state governments and a renewed effort to fight drug, weapon and money trafficking in the U.S., according to a copy of the document obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press.

The report says that the U.S currently spends more than $420 million on financing equipment, training programs and providing technical assistance.
It also says that of the $628 million destined to buy equipment, almost $113 million was delivered between 2009 and 2010. There is $190 million left to deliver in 2010 while $325 million will be delivered in 2011.

In both the B.P. Blob and the “drug war” we are talking about U.S.-centric disasters, which directly impact Mexico.  In both, the U.S. government has been loathe to interfere with private commerce where it directly impacts their own interests.  Nothing has been done, nor will be done, about gun running and as to money laundering, Mexico is expected to regulate its U.S. currencya — but without the U.S. doing a thing about it’s own bank secrecy laws or putting any controls foreign currency exchanges.

While the B.P. Blob is directly, and immediately, impacting the United States, and the U.S. is right to demand that B.P. put up a sizable escrow account (20 billion [thousand million] U.S. dollars) to cover claims and immediate damage relief, the most Mexico can muster is a “plan to ask” for a modest amount of monies, earmarked for “studies”, and merely proposed by a minor cabinet official.

The “violence seeping across the border” of the narcotics trade — like the oil hitting the Tamaulipas and Veracruz coasts as well as those in the states of the northern country — is, perhaps, the result of bad political decisions that have led to dependence on destructive economic activities.  It’s common in the U.S. to hear talk of “oil addiction” and — in a real sense — with both the U.S. using a quarter of both the world’s narcotics and oil, such a comparison makes sense.

But the narcotics industry, which involves relatively poor people like farmers and small time dealers, and a couple of rich guys, has money thrust at at by the United States, and is expected to put up with murder and mayhem and damage to its tourism industry and disruption of agriculture and transportation and banking.  And when it seizes some assets from the supposed criminals, the U.S. expects a cut.

When B.P. — one of the largest single enterprises on the planet — damages tourism and fisheries and transportation and … just about everything… the nation that didn’t hesitate to take over oil fields in the past is now expected to beg the wrong-doer to “contribute” to a study of the problems they’ve unleashed. With U.S. permission, no doubt.

One Comment leave one →
  1. gmed permalink
    18 June 2010 1:20 pm

    As per usual another on-point Posting! Thanks for making my day more interesting, and invoking thought!

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