The United States is quietly expanding its training of Mexico’s armed forces, helping to reverse decades of mistrust that made Mexico’s military reluctant to cooperate with its northern neighbor.
The amount the Pentagon spent on training Mexico’s armed forces, though small, increased to more than $15 million last year, up from about $3 million in 2009, according to U.S. Northern Command, which oversees U.S. military contacts with Mexico.
The training comes as Mexico’s armed forces have been drawn deeper into the country’s war on drugs and organized crime.
“For decades, Mexico’s military tried to remain autonomous from the U.S. military,” said David Shirk, a fellow at the Wilson Center.
U.S. military officials are reluctant to discuss the relationship openly because of sensitivities in Mexico about appearing dependent on American help. In a statement, the Pentagon said the U.S. military participated in 150 “engagements” with Mexican troops on both sides of the border, “sharing training opportunities with more than 3,000 Mexican soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines.”
The statement said the Pentagon’s “interactions” with Mexico’s military have expanded over the past three years. Mexican government officials declined to speak on the record about the training….