HomeNewsBriefUS Withholds Aid to Mexico Over Human Rights Concerns
BRIEF

US Withholds Aid to Mexico Over Human Rights Concerns

HUMAN RIGHTS / 20 OCT 2015 BY ELIJAH STEVENS EN

Citing a failure to meet human rights goals, the United States government has withheld $5 million in anti-narcotics funding for Mexico, dealing a sharp symbolic blow to the administration of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.

The Washington Post reported the US State Department chose to withhold 15 percent of the funds earmarked for Mexican military and police under the Merida Initiative, which provides support for Mexico’s anti-drug efforts.

Under the terms of the Merida Initiative, this 15 percent of funds is conditional on improvements in Mexico's human rights situation. To release the money, the State Department is required to present an annual report to Congress detailing efforts to protect human rights by Mexican authorities.

The State Department chose not to write the report this year. In response to a question on the decision, a State Department spokesperson said, "This year, the Department was unable to confirm and report to Congress that Mexico fully met all of the criteria in the Fiscal Year 2014 appropriation legislation."

Since 2008, the US government has provided $2.3 billion in training and equipment to Mexico through the Merida Initiative. Total funding this year was $148 million.

The withheld $5 million has been reassigned to coca eradication efforts in Peru. 

InSight Crime Analysis

The decision to withhold a portion of funding to Mexico is of much greater political than financial significance. Indeed, the Merida Initiative does not account for a significant portion of Mexico’s annual security budget, but the withdrawal of even a small amount of funds is a clear critique by the US government of human rights concerns in Mexico.

SEE MORE: Coverage of the Merida Initiative

Of late, Mexico's Peña Nieto administration has come under heavy criticism for alleged human rights abuses by security forces in the 2014 disappearance of 43 students in Iguala and the Tlatlatya massacre -- where members of the military allegedly executed 22 people. Earlier this year -- in response to these tragic events and the Mexican government's mishandling of investigations -- Mexican activists and human rights groups called on the US government to withhold Merida Initiative aid to Mexico.

Previously, while the Merida Initiative's conditional 15 percent of aid has been delayed, it has never been completely withheld. That it was withheld hints at real concerns among US officials -- who in the past have been accommodating of the Mexican government in order to foster a positive working relationship -- over human rights violations in Mexico.

Yet concerns over human rights violations by Mexican security forces that receive US aid or training have been raised in the past. What exactly served as the final blow prompting US officials to withhold Merida Initiative funding this year, however, remains unclear. 

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

ELITES AND CRIME / 12 FEB 2021

US authorities at both the federal and state level provided training to members of a Mexican special operations unit with…

EXTRADITION / 8 AUG 2022

A US request has led Guatemala to dismantle a prolific human smuggling ring that smuggled migrants to the United States.

BRAZIL / 20 FEB 2021

Drug traffickers engage in a creative game of hide and seek with coast guards and other security forces that board…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Join Us This #GivingTuesday in Exposing Organized Crime

24 NOV 2022

For over twelve years, InSight Crime has contributed to the global dialogue on organized crime and corruption. Our work has provided policymakers, analysts, academics, journalists, and the general public with…

THE ORGANIZATION

Like Crime, Our Coverage Knows No Borders

18 NOV 2022

The nature of global organized crime means that while InSight Crime focuses on Latin America, we also follow criminal dynamics worldwide. InSight Crime investigator Alessandro Ford covers the connections between Latin American and European…

THE ORGANIZATION

Using Data to Expose Crime

11 NOV 2022

Co-director Jeremy McDermott made a virtual presentation at a conference hosted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The ‘Sixth International Conference on Governance, Crime, and Justice…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime ON AIR

4 NOV 2022

InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley was interviewed for the podcast The Rosenberg Case: A Tale of Murder, Corruption, and Conspiracy in Guatemala, which explores the potential involvement of then president, Álvaro Colom,…

WORK WITH US

Work With Us: Research Internship and Editorial Internship

31 OCT 2022

InSight Crime, a think tank dedicated to the study of organized crime and citizen security in the Americas, is seeking interns and investigators to join its dynamic, multinational team.