U.S.-Mexican Security Cooperation: The Mérida Initiative and Beyond [July 22, 2011]   [open pdf - 529KB]

"Increasing violence perpetrated by drug trafficking organizations and other criminal groups is threatening citizen security and governance in Mexico. According to Mexican government data, organized crime-related violence claimed more than 34,500 lives in Mexico between January 2007 and December 2010. That toll may now exceed 40,000. Escalating violence has increased U.S. concerns about stability in Mexico, a key political and economic ally, and about the possibility of violence spilling over into the United States. Mexican drug trafficking organizations dominate the U.S. illicit drug market and are now considered the greatest organized crime threat facing the United States. In recent years, U.S.-Mexican security cooperation has increased significantly, largely as a result of the development and implementation of the Mérida Initiative, a counterdrug and anticrime assistance package for Mexico and Central America that was first proposed in October 2007. Between FY2008 and FY2010, Congress provided $1.5 billion for Mérida Initiative programs in Mexico, with an early emphasis on training and equipping Mexican security forces engaged in counterdrug efforts. […] In August 2010, Congress approved $600 million in supplemental funds for border security (P.L. 111-230). Given current budget constraints, Congress may also debate how best to measure the impact of current and future Mérida Initiative programs. Another congressional interest is likely to focus on whether human rights conditions placed on Mérida Initiative funding are appropriate or sufficient. For related information, see CRS [Congressional Research Service] Report R41576, 'Mexico's Drug Trafficking Organizations: Source and Scope of the Rising Violence', by June S. Beittel and CRS Report R41075, 'Southwest Border Violence: Issues in Identifying and Measuring Spillover Violence', coordinated by Kristin M. Finklea."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R41349
Public Domain
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