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

EXTORTION / 6 AUG 2014

The Familia Michoacana burned four Coca-Cola vehicles in the Pacific state of Guerrero after their bottling company refused to make…

DRUG POLICY / 14 FEB 2019

In January 2018, US authorities began following a Bulgarian biochemist named Antov Petrov Kulkin who they believed was running a…

JALISCO CARTEL / 2 SEP 2016

Mexico President Enrique Peña Nieto says nearly 2,500 members of the Jalisco Cartel - New Generation have been apprehended just…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Guatemala Social Insecurity Investigation Makes Front Page News

10 DEC 2021

InSight Crime’s latest investigation into a case of corruption within Guatemala's social security agency linked to the deaths of patients with kidney disease made waves in…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela El Dorado Investigation Makes Headlines

3 DEC 2021

InSight Crime's investigation into the trafficking of illegal gold in Venezuela's Amazon region generated impact on both social media and in the press. Besides being republished and mentioned by several…

THE ORGANIZATION

Gender and Investigative Techniques Focus of Workshops

26 NOV 2021

On November 23-24, InSight Crime conducted a workshop called “How to Cover Organized Crime: Investigation Techniques and A Focus on Gender.” The session convened reporters and investigators from a dozen…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Names Two New Board Members

19 NOV 2021

In recent weeks, InSight Crime added two new members to its board. Joy Olson is the former executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America…

THE ORGANIZATION

Senate Commission in Paraguay Cites InSight Crime

12 NOV 2021

InSight Crime’s reporting and investigations often reach the desks of diplomats, security officials and politicians. The latest example occurred in late October during a commission of Paraguay's Senate that tackled…