Monday, November 21, 2011
A new Black Hawk helicopter is latest Mérida Initiative gift to Mexico
As part of the initiative the United States has just awarded Mexico another helicopter, this one a Black Hawk UH-60M. The U.S. State Dept. said in a press release today that the $20 million state-of-the-art combat aircraft is equipped with the latest technology to enable night surveillance, among other special operations. The U.S. has already given Mexico's security forces 14 other helicopters, three of them Black Hawks.
With the transfer of this unit, U.S. officials say that Mexico has received about $400 million, or 25% of the total promised under the Mérida Initiative. Administration officials say that president Obama intends to award another $500 million in fiscal year 2011, in equipment, training and technology upgrades, which will raise the aggregate total to $900 million. The State Dept. says that about 52,000 Mexican police officers, most of them drawn from state law enforcement ranks, have received or will receive specialized training in the program.
Congress approved the $1.6 billion plan in 2008 at the urging of then president Bush. Payments and transfers under the program have been slow coming, however, at times leading to frustration on the part of Mexican officials.
Mérida Initiative: http://mexicogulfreporter-supplement.blogspot.com/2011/11/new-us-ambassador-to-mexico-stands.html.
Mexican police officers trained in Maryland: http://mexicogulfreporter.blogspot.com/2011/10/merida-initiative-being-implemented-in.html.
at 5:02 PM