Merida Initiative for Mexico and Central America: Funding and Policy Issues [January 21, 2010]   [open pdf - 316KB]

"Increasing violence perpetrated by drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) and other criminal groups is threatening citizen security in Mexico and Central America. Drug-related violence claimed more than 6,500 lives in Mexico in 2009, and several Central American countries have among the highest homicide rates in the world. Mexican DTOs dominate the illicit drug market in the United States and are expanding their operations by forming partnerships with U.S. gangs. As a result, some of the drug-related violence in Mexico has spilled over into the United States. On October 22, 2007, the United States and Mexico announced the Mérida Initiative, a proposed package of U.S. counterdrug and anticrime assistance for Mexico and Central America that would begin in FY2008 and last through FY2010. Congress appropriated roughly $1.3 billion for Mexico and Central America, as well as Haiti and the Dominican Republic, in the FY2008 Supplemental Appropriations Act (P.L. 110-252), FY2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act (P.L. 111- 8), and the FY2009 Supplemental Appropriations Act (P.L. 111-32). Each of these Acts contained human rights conditions on 15% of certain law enforcement and military assistance provided. Throughout 2009, drug-related violence in Mexico and the potential threat of spillover along the Southwest border focused congressional concern on the pace of implementation of the Mérida Initiative. On December 3, 2009, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a preliminary report for Congress on the status of funding for the Mérida Initiative."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R40135
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