Collaboration between the United States and Mexico has reached an all-time high under the Merida Initiative.
Collaboration between the United States and Mexico has reached an all-time high under the Merida Initiative. We are working together to fight transnational criminal organizations such as drug traffickers, illegal arms traffickers, money launderers, and violent gangs that threaten people on both sides of their mutual border. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton commented:
“The Government of Mexico and the Mexican people have faced the threat posed by these criminals with courage and resolve, and we remain committed to doing everything we can to support Mexico as it continues to work to bring those criminals to justice. This is a transnational problem, and it calls for a transnational solution, and the United States believes this is a matter of shared responsibility.”
Secretary of State Clinton made these comments at a press conference after the fourth meeting of the U.S.-Mexico Merida High-Level Consultative Group, the final such conference under the Calderon administration. The meeting sought to review the results of bilateral cooperation to address the multiple challenges posed by transnational organized crime.
Dubbed the Merida Initiative, the cooperative effort recognizes that the illicit drug trade, along with associated crimes of violence, arms trafficking, and money laundering, is a shared problem in need of a shared solution. While most of the criminal organizations are based in Mexico and are also involved in extortion, kidnapping, trafficking in persons and other crimes, they are largely financed by the illicit drug trade.
But the problem goes far beyond the demand for drugs and presence of criminal organizations. To combat drug trafficking organizations, Mexico is working to strengthen its governing institutions, enhance the rule of law, reform its judicial system to combat impunity, and upgrade its corrections system.
“The Merida Initiative represents an unprecedented level of security cooperation,” said Secretary Clinton. “The United States has invested more than $1 billion in equipment, training and capacity building since the Merida Initiative began. And the Mexican Government has brought even more of its resources to bear on combating drug trafficking, criminal cartels, as well as improving law enforcement, judicial, and corrections institutions. The U.S. government expects this high level of cooperation and belief in shared responsibility to continue in the new Peña Nieto administration.