Mérida Initiative for Mexico and Central America: Funding and Policy Issues [April 19, 2010] [open pdf - 339KB]
"Increasing violence perpetrated by drug trafficking organizations and other criminal groups is threatening citizen security in Mexico and Central America. Drug trafficking-related violence claimed more than 6,500 lives in Mexico in 2009, and several Central American countries have among the world's highest homicide rates. Mexican drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) dominate the illicit drug market in the United States and are expanding their operations by forming partnerships with U.S. gangs. […]. Congress has also monitored enforcement of Mérida's human rights conditions, particularly with respect to Mexico. Congress is playing a role in the design of post-Mérida security cooperation with Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean Basin during its consideration of the Obama Administration's FY2011 budget request. For FY2011, the Administration has asked for $310 million in assistance for Mérida programs in Mexico, $100 million for CARSI, and $79 million for CBSI. Detailed strategy documents for CARSI and CBSI are not yet available, but Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced a new strategy for U.S.-Mexican security cooperation after a high-level meeting in Mexico City on March 23, 2010. The plan focuses on (1) disrupting organized criminal groups; (2) institutionalizing the rule of law; (3) building a 21st-century border; and (4) building strong and resilient communities. This report provides an overview of the funding provided for the Mérida Initiative and related assistance programs in Central America and the Caribbean, the status of Mérida implementation, and a discussion of some policy issues that Congress may consider as it oversees the initiative and related programs."
CRS Report for Congress, R40135