World

U.S. Armed Forces Spending More Than Ever To Help Train Mexican Military

ACAPULCO, MEXICO - FEBRUARY 29:  Mexican army soldiers stand guard at the site of a suspected drug execution on February 29, 2012 in Acapulco, Mexico. Drug violence surged in the coastal resort last year, making Acapulco the second most deadly city in Mexico after Juarez. One of the country's top tourist destinations, Acapulco has suffered a drop in business, especially from foreign tourists. Toursim accounts for some 9 percent of Mexico's economy and about 70 percent of the output of Acapulco's state of Guerrero.  (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

ACAPULCO, MEXICO - FEBRUARY 29: Mexican army soldiers stand guard at the site of a suspected drug execution on February 29, 2012 in Acapulco, Mexico. Drug violence surged in the coastal resort last year, making Acapulco the second most deadly city in Mexico after Juarez. One of the country's top tourist destinations, Acapulco has suffered a drop in business, especially from foreign tourists. Toursim accounts for some 9 percent of Mexico's economy and about 70 percent of the output of Acapulco's state of Guerrero. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)  (2012 Getty Images)

The United States has increased the amount spent on helping to train Mexico's armed forces by a factor of five since 2009, from $3 million annually to $15 million in 2014.

This quiet increase, as described by USA Today, is meaningful because historically Mexico has been among the countries in the Western Hemisphere most reluctant to cooperate with U.S. armed forces. 

Part of the reason is that Mexico has always been somewhat sensitive to the perception they are dependent on American help. But more and more Mexicans now are being trained at U.S. military bases.

In a statement to Fox News Latino, U.S. Northern Command, which oversees the United States' military relationship with Mexico, said that in 2013 the U.S. "had more than 150 engagements, sharing training opportunities with more than 3,000 Mexican soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines."

Those opportunities include training in aviation, search and rescue missions, leadership, combat medicine, urban operations and even English-language lessons. The statement added that the U.S. "regularly participates in mutual exchanges with the Mexican military such as attending each other's professional military schools and visiting military headquarters."

"We have tried to share many of the lessons we've learned in chasing terrorist organizations in Iraq and Afghanistan," said retired U.S. Northern Command Gen. Victor Renuart told the Washington Post in 2010.

U.S. Northern Command says it's too soon to be able to tell what the budget for such engagements will be for next year, but the trend over the last few years suggests it will be even higher.

Of course, $15 million is not that much when you compare it to the $2.1 billion Merida initiative started in 2008. The initiative is the cornerstone of U.S.-Mexico security cooperation to help fight violence and organized crime in Mexico, Central America, the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

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