The Merida Initiative and Beyond
Clare Ribando Seelke and Kristin M. Finklea, Congressional Research Service, published July, 2010
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. With the recent approval of the FY2010 Supplemental Appropriations measure (H.R. 4899), Congress has provided almost $1.8 billion for the Mérida Initiative. Congress provided $248 million of that funding to Central America and included an additional $42 million for Caribbean countries. However, Congress has dedicated the vast majority of the funds—roughly $1.5 billion—to support programs in Mexico, with an emphasis on training and equipping Mexican military and police forces engaged in counterdrug efforts. Escalating drug trafficking-related violence in Mexico and the increasing control that Mexican drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) have over the illicit drug market in the United States have focused congressional attention on the efficacy of U.S-Mexican efforts and related domestic initiatives in both countries.