Earlier this month, Ambassador William R. Brownfield, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) attended the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Conference in San Diego. There, he met with Mexican National Security Commissioner Renato Sales to discuss ongoing law enforcement capacity-building efforts through the Merida Initiative and through continued bilateral cooperation on security issues. Assistant Secretary Brownfield welcomed Commissioner Sales’ full support for achieving international standards in Mexican security institutions under the Merida Initiative.
The Merida Initiative is an unprecedented partnership between the United States and Mexico to fight organized crime and associated violence while furthering respect for human rights and the rule of law. Based on principles of common and shared responsibility, mutual trust, and respect for sovereign independence, the two countries’ efforts have built confidence that is transforming the bilateral relationship.
Under the Merida Initiative, the United States has a partnership with the Government of Mexico to disrupt organized criminal groups, institutionalize reforms to sustain the rule of law and support for human rights, create a 21st century border, and build strong and resilient communities. Bilateral efforts expand assistance to state level law enforcement and justice sector personnel; support democratic institutions, especially police, justice systems, and civil society organizations; expand our border focus beyond interdiction of contraband to include facilitating legitimate trade and travel; and build stable communities able to withstand the pressures of crime and violence.
The U.S. Congress has appropriated $2.5 billion since the Merida Initiative began in Fiscal Year 2008. Some of the activities under the partnership include implementation of comprehensive justice sector reforms, such as training justice sector personnel, including: police, investigators, prosecutors, and defense counsel; the initiative also supports correction systems development; judicial exchanges; and Mexican law schools. This aids Mexico’s on-going transition to a new accusatory criminal justice system.
The initiative also helps fund police capacity building courses for Mexican law enforcement, such as crime investigation, criminal intelligence, tactics and firearms, forensics, strategic analysis, and specialized training for units addressing corruption, gangs, trafficking in persons, money laundering, and kidnapping.
The United States is proud to work with Mexico to give law enforcement officers there the training and support they need to serve and protect the Mexican people.