The U.S. Stake in Mexico’s Political Battle

The campaign leading to Mexico’s mid-2000 presidential election has stirred up whitecaps on the surface of U.S.-Mexican relations.1 In September 1999, the Mexican government unceremoniously returned seventy-two helicopters that the Pentagon had sent to the Mexican army three years earlier to combat drug trafficking. Mexican officials privately scorned the Vietnam War–era aircraft as “junk” and groused about the difficulty of keeping the choppers aloft. Mexico’s stridently nationalistic foreign secretary, Rosario Green, emphasized that her country was prepared to fight narcocriminals without U.S. equipment or logistical support.

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