The Mexican military and security forces may be emulating some of the worst tactics of its foes in the war against illegal narcotics trafficking, including torturing and kidnapping suspects, the Washington Post reported July 9.
Human-rights groups, Mexican residents and politicians, and others detailed a long list of alleged abuses by government forces in regions affected by the drug trade, from the border area to remote districts where marijuana and poppies are cultivated. Mexican officials said that abuses have taken place but described the incidents as isolated. They also alleged that some stories of torture were fabricated by drug cartels for propaganda purposes.
“I know that the armed forces are not acting inappropriately, although there have been some cases,” said Mexican Interior Minister Fernando Gómez Mont. “The government honestly believes that. There is no incentive for abuse.”
Some observers see the alleged abuses as a reaction to the brutal tactics used against security forces by the drug cartels, including kidnapping, mutilation, torture and murder. If a pattern of official abuse emerges, however, it could threaten U.S. antidrug aid to Mexico, which is contingent upon human-rights conditions being met.