Merida Initiative for Mexico and Central America: Funding and Policy Issues [January 13, 2009] [open pdf - 456KB]
"Increasing violence perpetrated by drug trafficking organizations, gangs, and other criminal groups is threatening citizen security in Mexico and Central America. Drug-related violence claimed more than 5,300 lives in Mexico in 2008, and several Central American countries have some of the highest homicide rates in the world. Mexican drug cartels dominate the illicit drug market in most regions of 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 begun to spillover into the United States. On October 22, 2007, the United States and Mexico announced the Mérida Initiative, a multi-year proposal for $1.4 billion in U.S. assistance to Mexico and Central America aimed at combating drug trafficking and organized crime. The Administration requested $500 million for Mexico and $50 million for Central America in FY2008 supplemental appropriations, and another $450 million for Mexico and $100 million for Central America in the FY2009 budget request. While the Bush Administration did not request any additional funding for domestic programs to complement the Mérida Initiative, U.S. officials pledged to step up efforts to prevent arms, precursor chemicals, and bulk cash flows from the United States into Mexico, and to reduce U.S. drug demand. [...]This report provides an overview of the funding provided for the Mérida Initiative and a discussion of some policy issues that Congress may consider as it oversees implementation of the Initiative. For related information, see CRS Report RL32724, Mexico-U.S. Relations: Issues for Congress, by Mark P. Sullivan and June S. Beittel. This report will be updated."
CRS Report for Congress, R40135
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