Mexico Receives Three Black Hawk Helicopters from U.S. for Anti-Drug Fight
By Dialogo September 19, 2011
On September 15, the Mexican Secretariat of the Navy (SEMAR) received three Black Hawk helicopters donated by the United States, in a new installment of the joint anti-drug plan known as the Merida Initiative.
These vehicles “will significantly increase air support, by strengthening the mobility of Naval personnel in remote areas and areas of difficult access” for operations against organized crime, Navy Secretary Admiral Mariano Francisco Saynez affirmed during the ceremony.
In Mexico, the Secretariat of the Navy is one of the forces involved in the fight against the drug cartels, together with the Defense, Public Safety, and Interior Secretariats and the Attorney-General’s Office.
The helicopters delivered are Black Hawk UH-60M models with cutting-edge communications and navigation technology and transport capacity for 11 Soldiers and up to four tons of cargo, the Navy specified.
This is the first delivery of helicopters to SEMAR, bringing to 11 the total number of helicopters delivered to the Mexican security forces since the launch of the Merida Initiative.
In his first public event as the new U.S. ambassador, Anthony Wayne emphasized that as part of the Merida Initiative, his Government has donated more than 612 million dollars in equipment and training to Mexico, and that a total of 500 million dollars is expected for 2011.
The Merida Initiative, launched in 2008 by then-U.S. president George W. Bush, initially proposed an aid package for Mexico budgeted at 1.3 billion dollars.