NEWS AND ANALYSIS: DECEMBER 19-25, 2011

1 - OBAMA CUTS NATIONAL GUARD TROOPS ALONG BORDER
2 - VERACRUZ POLICE FORCE FIRED

1 - OBAMA CUTS NATIONAL GUARD TROOPS ALONG BORDER

The Obama administration will cut most of the National Guard troops working along the US-Mexico border, following an article criticizing the deployment published two weeks earlier by the Washington Post.  The Post found the Guard troops to be largely a publicity effort that wasted taxpayer money and pandered to Republican Party demands for more border security in the midst of a presidential campaign.  Obama will reduce the National Guard deployment in January from the current 1,200 troops to 300, saving about US$60 million annually.  The remaining troops will focus on aerial surveillance missions.  Military border deployments began under the Bush administration in 2006 and were extended by Obama, with a total cost of US$1.35 billion.

 

2 - VERACRUZ POLICE FORCE FIRED

The entire police force in Veracruz, Mexico's busiest harbor, was fired on Wednesday and replaced temporarily by 2,400 Navy troops.  More than 800 officers and 300 administrators, many either willingly or forcibly aligned with the powerful Zeta cartel, lost their jobs.  Governor Javier Duarte and recently appointed Interior Secretary Alejandro Poire made the announcement.  New police officers will have to pass federally mandated exams, including drug testing, a lie detector test, and financial reviews.  The testing program is relatively new, and it is unclear if it has been successful in cleaning up police departments where it has been implemented.

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