Legislators Blast Mexico Certification: Resolutions to Overturn Introduced in Both Houses 3/6/98

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In what is shaping up as a replay of a battle fought one year ago, legislators in both the House and the Senate have introduced resolutions aimed at overturning the Clinton administration's certification of Mexico as a cooperative partner in the Drug War. Last year's attempt to overturn certification in the House swept through committee with a vote of 27-5, and was stopped only after the President secured new promises of Mexican cooperation. The Washington Post reports that administration officials view the prospect of a reversal this year as "extremely unlikely" as they are confident that there are insufficient votes in the Senate to overturn a presidential veto, if it comes to that.

But that hasn't stopped legislators from both sides of the aisle from trying. On Tuesday (3/3), Senators Paul Coverdell (R-GA) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced that body's resolution. Coverdell explained his opposition by stating that "by almost any objective standard, Mexico has clearly failed to satisfy the legal criteria required for certification." Feinstein cited "gaping holes" in Mexico's Drug War efforts, including "endemic corruption."

All of this complicates matters for President Clinton, who is scheduled to attend a Western Hemispheric Summit next month. On the agenda will be increasing levels of hemispheric cooperation in the prosecution of the drug war. Many Latin American leaders have complained in recent years about the certification process, pointing out that there is much hypocrisy inherent in the largest drug consumer in the world passing unilateral judgment on countries who are bearing much of the brunt of America's drug war.

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