U.S. Representative Connie Mack has branded the U.S. security aid package for Mexico, the Merida Initiative, a failure and called for it to be replaced by a “counterinsurgency plan.”
Mack, who chairs the House’s Western Hemisphere Subcommittee, spoke during a congressional hearing to evaluate the success of the Merida Initiative.
Much of the money from the initiative has gone to the Mexican military, as the government of President Felipe Calderon launched a militarized strategy against organized crime.
Mack criticized the policies of the Obama administration and said that, while Mexican government may not want to admit it, they are now facing an “insurgency” fought by drug cartels along the U.S. border. He said that the drug trafficking organizations are trying to undermine the government and to win “hearts and minds” amongst the population.
The congressman called for a strategy, involving all the U.S. government agencies, to aggressively attack and dismantle criminal networks in the U.S. and Mexico; the doubling of the number of border patrol agents; and the implementation of programs to “teach the culture of lawfulness,” in order to gain support for the Mexican government.
As InSight Crime has argued, despite the use of large-scale violence by the Mexican criminal gangs, they do not ultimately want to destroy the state, merely to prevent it getting in their way as they go about their illegal business. For that reason, they do not qualify as a full-fledged insurgency.