MEXICO CITY – President George W. Bush asked Congress on Monday to approve a $1.4 billion aid package over the next two years to help the Mexican government fight narcotics traffickers, who have unleashed a bloody underworld war that has left more than 4,000 dead across Mexico in the last two years. The plan calls for the United States to give Mexico $500 million over the next 12 months to provide training for police and tools to dismantle drug cartels, including helicopters, surveillance planes, drug-sniffing dogs and software to track cases. An additional $50 million would go to Central American countries for the same purposes. The United States would also provide advisers to help vet police recruits, establish a witness protection program and set up citizen-complaint offices to cut down on the endemic corruption in Mexican police forces, State Department officials said. Thomas A. Shannon Jr., the assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs, said the initiative was intended to bolster the administration of President Felipe Calderon as it continues an unprecedented crackdown on organized crime. Since taking office in December, Calderon has sent tens of thousands of troops into towns once controlled by drug cartels to restore order, extradited several well-known drug kingpins to the United States for prosecution and stepped up seizures of cocaine, guns and illicit cash. The result has been a violent backlash from criminal organizations. “We are at an important moment when organized crime presents a real threat to democratic governments in Central America and Mexico,” Shannon said. Billed as a “security cooperation initiative,” the agreement grew out of talks Bush held with Calderon last March in Merida, Mexico. Before and after the meeting, the Mexican president said that the United States did too little to reduce demand for drugs and to stop the flow of arms and cash southward into Mexico. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
Photo via Wikimedia CommonsVictim advocates say the Texas church shooting is an example of how domestic violence often spill out into public spaces.Domestic violence cases have sharply increased in Texas in recent years.Figures from the state Department of Public Safety show more than 214,000 wives, husbands, girlfriends and others were injured or died in 2016 at the hands of a family member. The statistics show that’s an increase from about 193,000 in 2011.In Houston, local police report they received more than 24,000 domestic violence cases in the first 10 months of this year. That’s a 45 percent increase over a similar period in 2013, the Houston Chronicle reported.“We continue to underestimate the reach and devastation of domestic violence,” said Gloria Aguilera Terry, chief executive of the Texas Council on Family Violence.The Houston Police Department operates a special victims division and has been posting special crimes officers at women’s shelters across the city to help victims more easily report cases of domestic violence, said Capt. David Angelo, who oversees the division. Angelo said that domestic violence investigations are an “absolute priority.”“We recognize a husband who batters his wife may be a murderer tomorrow,” he said.The gunman in the recent church shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, had a history of domestic violence. Investigators found that Devin Patrick Kelley had been given a bad conduct discharge from the Air Force after pleading guilty to assaulting his first wife and stepson.Victim advocates said the shooting is an example of how domestic violence often spill out into public spaces. More than half the country’s mass shootings between 2009 and 2016, in which at least four people were killed with a gun, were related to domestic or family violence, according to a study by Everytown for Gun Safety, a nonprofit that focuses on firearm regulation.“Up until now, the media would lose interest in a shooting once they found out it was a domestic violence incident and not a ‘real’ crime,” said Amanda Johnson, with the Dallas chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “Sutherland Springs is a game changer.” Share