HomeMerida Initiative

Merida Initiative

MERIDA INITIATIVE / 1 NOV 2010 BY INSIGHT CRIME EN

The "Mérida Initiative" is a multi-billion dollar effort by the United States government to assist Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean in their fight against drug trafficking organizations. Proposed under President Bush and implemented under President Obama, the program has provided close to $1.8 billion in assistance to the region to date. About $1.5 billion has gone to Mexico, $300 million to Central America and $40 million to the Caribbean.

In some ways, the initiative mirrors U.S. efforts to aid Colombia through what became known as "Plan Colombia". The money for the Isthmus region and Caribbean basin goes mostly for equipment and military hardware, and police and judicial training to deal with the increasingly violent and sophisticated drug trafficking organizations (DTOs). These DTOs frequently have better weapons and intelligence gathering equipment than their counterparts in the state and undermine law enforcement efforts by corrupting vast sections of the regional governments.

However, critics, which include the U.S. Government Accounting Office (GAO), have said the initiative’s money has been slow to arrive and represents a small portion of what is needed. This is particularly true of Central American nations, which do not have the resources or training to face to the growing presence of largely Mexican DTOs in their territory.

The initiative has also come under attack by watchdog groups for its emphasis on the enforcement component of the strategy. Most of the aid has gone to the Mexican army and police who are fighting the DTOs. The Mexican army’s growing role in the battle in Mexico has come under particular scrutiny due to allegations of human rights abuses by that institution. But while allegations of abuses have risen, accountability has not followed. Human Rights groups say military courts have not prosecuted any member of the military for abuses.The Obama administration appears to be aware of these criticisms and concerns. In its proposal for FY2011 funding, which officials dubbed “Beyond Mérida,” the administration created a four-pillar strategy, which includes (1) disrupting the flow of drugs; (2) reforming the judicial system in Mexico; (3) creating a “21st Century border”; and (4) strengthening communities. Of the $310 million that would go to Mexico, $175 million would go toward justice reform. The proposal needs the approval of congress, which is likely to include a similarly large package of aid outside the auspices of Mérida to border protection.Resources

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

COCAINE / 16 SEP 2021

South Korean authorities have arrested a drug trafficker suspected of importing up to a ton of methamphetamine from Mexico for…

FEATURED / 27 APR 2021

Long considered a backwater, low-class drug, methamphetamine availability and use has exploded in the United States in the last few…

BRAZIL / 11 MAR 2021

As Latin American countries struggle to ramp up COVID-19 vaccination, crimes related to the illegal purchase of vaccines, including the…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Escaping Barrio 18

27 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an investigation charting the story of Desafío, a 28-year-old Barrio 18 gang member who is desperate to escape gang life. But there’s one problem: he’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…