NEW PUBLICATION: “Following the Money Trail” to Combat Terrorism, Crime, and Corruption in the Americas

Over the past decade, there has been a greater appreciation of how “following the money trail” directly contributes to the fight against terrorism, crime, and corruption around the world. Money serves as the oxygen for any activity, licit or illicit; it is the critical enabler for any organization, from international crime syndicates like the Mexican cartels to terrorist groups like the FARC, ISIS, and Hezbollah. Financial intelligence has helped governments to better understand, detect, disrupt, and counter criminal and terrorist networks and expose political corruption.

Since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the United States and its Latin American partners have strengthened their ability to combat money laundering and terrorist financing and consciously incorporated the financial instrument of national power into their national security strategies. “Following the money trail,” counterterrorism, and Drug Kingpin sanctions and asset forfeiture have become particularly important to attack narco-insurgencies, dismantle transnational criminal organizations (TCOs), and address political corruption scandals that have reached the highest levels of governments across Latin America.

This report focuses on the threats from money laundering and terrorist financing, distinguishing the two, and explains government efforts to counter illicit financing. It describes the ways illicit actors raise, move, store, and use money to pursue their dangerous agendas. Specific cases examining the FARC in Colombia, the 2015 fall of the Guatemalan government, and Brazil’s “Operation Car Wash” corruption scandal illustrate how governments use financial intelligence to pursue terrorists, criminals, corrupt politicians, and their financiers in Latin America. Finally, the report emphasizes the need to design, implement, and constantly update national and international strategies to combat the financing of emerging threats like terrorism, crime, and corruption and to safeguard our financial systems.

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ARTICLE | Mexico and the U.S. Agree on a Vision for Fighting Drugs

5/23/2017 The Mexico Institute

34353446110_c9b4d9c552_z.jpgMexico and the United States appear to have reached broad agreement on a framework for fighting the organized criminal groups that are responsible for much of the drug trade in the two countries. May 18 meetings between the lead ministers for each government seem to have yielded consensus to take a “fresh” approach to a set of challenges that have vexed both neighbors for decades. The U.S. is facing an epidemic of opioid overdose deaths fueled increasingly by drugs smuggled from Mexico, and Mexico is facing a new surge in violent homicides fueled by criminal groups, many involved in drug smuggling to the U.S.  The task ahead is to turn this broad agreement among government ministers into a coherent set of policies and protocols that—if implemented well—will produce improved results against the drug cartels, their production, distribution, financing and arms networks, and the violence which they generate (especially in Mexico), along with improved programs aimed at addressing U.S. demand for drugs. These are big tasks, but the agreement on the analysis of the problem and on a vision for cooperation between the foreign and homeland security cabinet members from both countries is an encouraging step ahead for these two key North American neighbors.

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After the Storm in U.S.-Mexico Relations

3/31/2017 The Wilson Quarterly

Articles by Duncan Wood, Christopher Wilson, Andrew Selee, Eric L. Olson, Earl Anthony Wayne & Arturo Sarukhan

The relationship between Mexico and the United States is facing its most severe test in decades. Although a new tone and new ideas are needed, the economic, political, and security fundamentals matter more than ever.

Browse the full Winter 2017 issue of Wilson Quarterly here…

Leveraging the U.S.-Mexico Relationship to Strengthen Our Economies, by Christopher Wilson

A New Migration Agenda Between the United States and Mexico, by Andrew Selee

The Merida Initiative and Shared Responsibility in U.S.-Mexico Security Relations, by Eric L. Olson

U.S.-Mexico Energy and Climate Collaboration, by Duncan Wood

Toward a North American Foreign Policy Footprint, by Earl Anthony Wayne & Arturo Sarukhan

 

NEW SERIES | Charting a New Course: Policy Options for the Next Stage in U.S.-Mexico Relations

The Mexico Institute is pleased to announce the launch of its series, Charting a New Course: Policy Options for the Next Stage in U.S.-Mexico Relations, which reevaluates the U.S.-Mexico relationship and explores how both nations can improve upon the bilateral agenda given changes in the regional and global context. The series includes original content, including reports, videos, and more.

Browse the series

New Publication | A New Migration Agenda Between the United States and Mexico

By Andrew Selee

migration-policy-coverToday, the number of Mexicans crossing the border illegally has dropped to a 40-year low, and there are almost certainly more Mexican immigrants leaving the United States than arriving. A majority of the immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally are now Central Americans, and the U.S. and Mexican governments have been working closely to find ways to limit this flow and keep people from making the dangerous journey north. Perhaps most surprisingly, the number of Americans in Mexico has been growing rapidly, reaching somewhere around a million people, almost as large a group of U.S. citizens as live in all of the countries of the European Union combined.

The United States and Mexico each have interests in protecting their sovereignty and enforcing their immigration laws, but they will also need to work together to address Central American immigration, ensure robust growth in Mexico that keeps migration from starting up again, and protecting their own citizens living in the other country.

A New Migration Agenda Between the United States and Mexico,” was written by Andrew Selee, Executive Vice President of the Wilson Center and Senior Advisor to the Mexico Institute. In this policy brief, Selee reviews existing cooperation between the United States and Mexico on migration and provides policy recommendations for a more nuanced and balanced migration agenda.

This policy brief is the third of our series “Charting a New Course: Policy Options for the Next Stage in U.S.-Mexico Relations.” The policy briefs will be released individually and published as a volume in the spring of 2017.

Read the policy brief…

NEW PUBLICATION | The Evolving Merida Initiative and the Policy of Shared Responsibility in U.S.-Mexico Security Relations

us-mx-security-cooperation-coverBy Eric Olson

The election of Donald J. Trump as President of the United States opens a new era in U.S.-Mexico security cooperation. With the new Trump administration, the security relationship is likely to undergo further review and modification. Whether the framework of “shared responsibility” that has guided security cooperation between both nations will be deepened and strengthened, as it has been over the past decade, or is completely overhauled is still unclear.  This paper seeks to place the security relationship in its most recent historical context and reviews how the bilateral security cooperation framework has evolved and deepened beyond the original “Mérida Initiative” set out by Presidents George W. Bush and Felipe Calderón Hinojosa.

The Evolving Merida Initiative and the Policy of Shared Responsibility in U.S.-Mexico Security Relations,” was written by Eric L. Olson, Associate Director of the Latin American Program and Senior Advisor on Security to the Mexico Institute. In the policy brief, the author provides a series of policy options for building on and improving the U.S.-Mexico security relationship.

This policy brief is the second of our series “Charting a New Course: Policy Options for the Next Stage in U.S.-Mexico Relations.” The policy briefs will be released individually and published as a volume in the spring of 2017. 

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NEW PUBLICATION | Towards a North American Foreign Policy Footprint

By Earl Anthony Wayne and Arturo Sarukhan

north-american-lights-lightenedEvery electoral cycle in the United States or Mexico brings the opportunity to reevaluate the relationship and explore how both nations can improve upon the bilateral agenda given changes in the regional and global context. In the coming months, it is quite likely that crucial issues in the relationship may be revisited in profound ways. This presents both real risks and real opportunities. Even as the political climate changes, the on-the-ground benefits of regional collaboration for the security and economic well-being of the United States, Mexico, and all of North America continue to be immense.

Towards a North American Foreign Policy Footprint,” was written by Earl Anthony Wayne, Career Ambassador and former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, and Arturo Sarukhan, Career Ambassador and former Mexican Ambassador to the U.S. In the policy brief, the authors review existing cooperation and explore the potential for enhanced cooperation on international issues by Mexico, the United States, and Canada.

This policy brief is the first of our series “Charting a New Course: Policy Options for the Next Stage in U.S.-Mexico Relations.”  The policy briefs will be released individually and published as a volume in the spring of 2017.

Read the publication here.