Meanwhile, in Latin America...

Dispatch From El Salvador: Obama's Drug War Feels Eerily Familiar.
On the other side of San Salvador, in a heavily air-conditioned meeting hall of the Central American Parliament, Stanford-educated international relations expert Hector Perla responds to a recurring question from the crowd of academics, legislators, journalists and policymakers gathered to discuss U.S.-Salvadoran relations in the Obama era: "Are you saying that President Obama is no different from other U.S. Presidents?"

"What makes Obama different is the Obama doctrine," says Perla, an organizer of the conference who is a colleague of mine and an assistant Professor of Latino and Latin America Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz. "The Obama doctrine," he explains, "uses the rhetoric of respect for human rights, the rhetoric of peace, poverty alleviation and social justice on the one hand, while promoting militarization with the other hand. You can see it clearly in [Obama's] visit to the tomb of Monsenor Romero, a man recognized for his calls for peace. Obama visited the tomb as he was ordering the bombing and killing in Libya."

Nowhere are the contours of the Obama doctrine clearer, said Perla, than in the recent announcement of his $200 million anti-narco-trafficking initiative for Central America. Obama says it is the foundation for a "new joint security strategy" set to begin this spring. Perla noted that, in talking about the program, Obama emphasized its aim to "strengthen courts, civil society groups and institutions that uphold the rule of law"—but he left out mention of the funds to train and equip El Salvador's police and military forces.

Especially disturbing to Perla, a Salvadoran-American with family on both sides of the U.S.-Salvadoran divide, is that "nobody is talking about the failure of those plans (Mexico, Colombia)—how we've seen an astronomical rise in the numbers of killings and human rights abuses in Mexico and ongoing counterinsurgency and human rights abuses committed under cover of fighting the drug war in Colombia."

"In El Salvador, the U.S. is talking about policies of growth and security, promoting 'citizen security'," said Perla. "But when you look close, you see an expansion of many of the same policies of the Bush administration, only now you will have Plan Centroamerica to connect and integrate Plan Mexico to the north and Plan Colombia to the south."
I am truly at a loss for words to explain the depth of my regret and the overwhelming helplessness I feel in regard to US foreign policy.

That the same old violent shit is being peddled under human rights rhetoric somehow makes it even worse.

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