Deep Cuts in the Obama Administration’s Budget for Latin America

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After having vowed to tackle the huge U.S. deficit this year, on Monday the Obama Administration finally revealed its plan of action when it sent the FY2012 budget request to Congress. And what did it propose for U.S. aid to Latin America? Deep cuts. According to Adam Isacson’s analysis on the blog for Just the Facts, a joint project by LAWGEF, the Center for International Policy, and the Washington Office on Latin America that monitors U.S. military aid to Latin America, “The request includes about $2.07 billion in new aid to Latin America and the Caribbean for 2012. That would be the lowest amount since 2007, and a reduction of 18.1 percent from 2009.”

To read his full analysis (with colorful charts!) click here.

Some of the Isacson’s key points include:

  • Overall — “Nearly all of the 2012 aid cut would come from military and police assistance. 23 percent of the aid in the 2012 request for Latin America and the Caribbean is military and police aid. That is a big change from 2007, when the Bush administration and a Republican-majority Congress approved a package of 40 percent military and police aid… Military and police aid to the region through this budget bill would fall by 43 percent from 2009 to 2012. Most of the reduction would come from Colombia and Mexico.”
  • Colombia — “Military and police assistance to Colombia would drop by 91 million (31 percent) from 2009 to 2012… This may be the first Foreign Operations aid request we have ever seen that would provide Colombia with more economic and social assistance ($201.7 million) than military and police assistance ($196 million). (Whether this is truly accurate depends on how much of the “International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement” program would pay for military versus nonmilitary aid — the preliminary budget documents released yesterday do not specify.)”
  • Mexico — “Military and police aid to Mexico would drop even more steeply. 2009, the beginning of the Mérida aid package, was a year of big outlays for expensive military and police equipment like helicopters; military and police aid to Mexico totaled $387 million that year. With those big-ticket deliveries out of the way, the focus of U.S. assistance to Mexico has shifted to the long-term institutional strengthening that Mexico’s law enforcement and justice systems urgently require. This has meant less military-police aid: $112 million in 2011 and $102 million in 2012.”
  • The rest of Latin America — “Removing Colombia and Mexico from the picture, however, reveals an interesting result: minus those two countries, military and police aid to the rest of the region actually increases from 2009 to 2012, from $185 million to $186 million… Without Colombia and Mexico, the Andes, post-Aristide Haiti, and Central America dominate the military and police aid picture. The wars on drugs and organized crime are still the main missions underlying this aid.”

  • Other assistance — “Non-military, economic assistance to the region would also be cut in 2012, but far less than military and police assistance. The 2012 aid request foresees a 5.0 percent drop in economic and social assistance to Latin America and the Caribbean from 2009 levels. Development and institution-building aid to the region would be spared most of the budget-cutting pain.”

To get the full report on the Just the Facts blog, click here.