|The U.S. Peace-Corps in Chiapas a possible counterinsurgency tool |
| Autor(a): Elio Henríquez / La Foja Coleta, Feb.13
||Fecha: 4:03pm Lunes 19 Febrero 2007
||Categoría: Notícias Generales / General News
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Five members of the Peace Corps, a U.S. government-sponsored organization accused of performing counterinsurgency activities in several countries in the past, have been incorporated as "volunteers" in strategic departments of ECOSUR.
|Originally published in Spanish by La Foja Coleta and reprinted by La Jornada, February 13, 2007. |
The U.S. Peace-Corps in Chiapas a possible counterinsurgency tool
U.S. ambassador Antonio Garza visits San Cristóbal de las Casas
La Foja Coleta, February 13, 2007
Since January 8, 2007, five members of the Peace Corps, a U.S. government-sponsored organization, which has been accused of performing counterinsurgency activities in several countries in the past, have been incorporated as "volunteers" in strategic departments of the College of the South Border (El Colegio de la Frontera Sur) – ECOSUR, located in this city.
The presence of the "volunteers" has caused discontent and preoccupation among several of the 40 investigators of the scientific research center, fearing possible repercussions for the institution.
Some of the investigators, who wish to remain anonymous, complained about the fact that the decision to incorporate members of the U.S. Peace Corps was taken by the ECOSUR management without previous consultation.
As they affirmed, these were not introduced to the staff until last week, during a meeting in the auditorium of the institute in San Cristobal de las Casas. Many of the assistants questioned the presence of the "volunteers", as it has been linked with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and counterinsurgency activities in several countries. In addition, each of the five " co-operators" receives a monthly wage of 4000 pesos, while the directors have made significant cuts to the budget of the institute, arguing lack of resources.
According to their information, the five U.S.-Americans have been assigned since January 8, in the departments for informatics, networking and institutional development, which are considered "strategic".
The Peace Corps coordinator in Mexico, Byron Battle, confirmed that since January 8, five "co-operators" are working in the ECOSUR. He recognized that the association, which was originally created in 1961 and has currently 8000 "volunteers" distributed in 75 countries, has been accused of performing counterinsurgency activities in the past, but assured this to be "not true".
In an interview in this city he commented that "suspicions" in this respect had been raised in some of the countries where the Peace Corps had maintained a presence, but "this isn’t true, if it was, we would have already cancelled the program".
As he assured, the association had no relation to the State Department, although it is financed with government ressources approved by the Congress. "We are not about promoting U.S. foreign policy, but to offer our people a chance to get to know other countries, for two years at minimum", he explained.
He said the "volunteers" received no wages, only the money to cover the necessary expenses of staying abroad. He explained that the Congress had authorized $ 330 million to this end this year. He asserted that there were already 35 "co-operants", working in 10 research centers in Mexico today, thanks to an agreement signed with the National Council for Science and Technology (CONACYT), and another 35 would follow this year (16 in March and 21 in Octobre), in result of an agreement with the Mexican Ministry for Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT), to be assigned to the National Commission for Protected Areas (CONANP) and the National Forestry Commission (CONAFOR)
Battle arrived in San Cristóbal this Monday, to talk with the " volunteers". On Tuesday he will meet with the U.S. Ambassador in Mexico, Antonio Garza, and the U.S. Undersecretary of State, Karen Nuges, who are visiting this city in the company of Governor Juan Sabines Guerrero.
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| Autor(a): xxx
||Fecha: 3:21pm Miércoles 21 Febrero 2007
|This is a pathetic attempt to create a story by sparking a witch hunt against well intentioned people. If you have a shred of evidence that the peace corps is sending spies to Mexico, by all means present it. Otherwise, I suggest we leave the guilt by association approach to the right.|
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