Mexico Institute Senior Advisor, Eric Olson is the guest for part three of the series, “Charting a New Course.” In this episode we focus on the policy of shared responsibility between the U.S. and Mexico regarding security relations. How has the Merida Initiative evolved and does it still provide the appropriate framework for security cooperation? That question and others provides the focus for this edition of Wilson Center NOW.
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.
WHEN: Friday, February 3, 8:45am-1:00pm
WHERE: 6th Floor Auditorium, Wilson Center, Washington, DC
Homicides appear to have increased significantly in parts of Mexico during 2016. By one calculation, organized crime related homicides increased roughly 49 percent between 2015 and 2016. October was the most violent month in nearly four years, and after two years of decline, 2016 roughly matched the homicide rate for 2013. Moreover, major cities like Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez that had experienced a decrease in homocides since 2012 saw a significant uptick. What is driving this troubling tren and what kinds of innovative programs are being implemented to reduce violence or prevent it altogether? Please join our panel of experts for a discussion about these and other questions.
Duncan Wood, Director, Mexico Institute, Wilson Center
The Current State of U.S. Mexico Security Cooperation and Future Prospects
Eric L. Olson, Senior Advisor to the Mexico Institute for Security Policy and Associate Director of the Wilson Center’s Latin American Program
Duncan Wood, Director, Mexico Institute, Wilson Center
Panel I: What is Driving the Increase in Homicides in Mexico
Moderator: Clare Seelke, Specialist in Latin American Affairs, Congressional Research Service
Overview: David Shirk, Professor & Director, Justice in Mexico Project, University of San Diego
The Case of Tijuana: Octavio Rodriguez, Program Coordinator, Justice in Mexico Project, University of San Diego
The Case of Tamaulipas: Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, Associate Professor, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley & Fellow, Woodrow Wilson Center
The Case of Ciudad Juarez: Alfredo Corchado, Journalist
The Case of Guerrero, Chris Kyle, Professor of Anthropology, University of Alabama at Birmingham
Panel II: Promising Experiences in Violence Reduction
Moderator: Eric L. Olson, Senior Advisor to the Mexico Institute for Security Policy and Associate Director of the Wilson Center’s Latin American Program
Is violence reduction possible? What’s the evidence? : Enrique Betancourt, Director of Violence and Crime Prevention Initiative, Chemonics International
A Public Health Approach to Reducing Violence: Brent Decker, Chief Program Officer, Cure Violence
Building Community Resilience Through Investing in Young Leaders: Carlos Cruz, Founder, Cauce Ciudadano, A.C
Reintegration of Young People in Conflict with the Law: Mercedes Castañeda Gomez Mont, Director of Youth Program & Co-Founder, Reinserta Un Mexicano, A.C
11/28/16 InSight Crime
Perceptions of insecurity in Mexico have worsened year on year, and more people than ever since the start of the drug war think the government crackdown is making the country less secure. The latest opinion poll by El Universal and pollster Buendia & Laredo will be unwelcome but predictable news for President Enrique Peña Nieto and his administration. Despite government efforts to control the message around Mexico’s insecurity, the reality on the streets is making an impact on public opinion.
The findings by the latest poll were based on in-person interviews with 1,000 respondents. Although a tiny sample in a country of more than 122 million, the data provides valuable food for thought. Sixty-nine percent of respondents to the survey published by El Universal said they think that violence related to organized crime has risen, compared to 58 percent in November 2015.
11/9/2016 The Economist
ENRIQUE PEÑA NIETO, the president of Mexico, was roundly castigated at home for meeting Donald Trump in August. Mr Trump, then the Republican presidential nominee, is reviled south of the border for calling Mexican migrants rapists, and for promising that he would force Mexico to pay for a wall between the two countries. In his defence Mr Peña said it was important to begin a dialogue early, with a view to reducing the potential harm a Trump presidency could cause Mexico.
That strategy is about to be put to the test. In Mexico the immediate effect of Mr Trump’s victory has been to send the already weak peso tumbling to new lows. Throughout the campaign the currency reacted badly to any perceived improvements in the Republican’s chances of victory. On early Wednesday morning it fell to more than 20 to the dollar—its biggest drop since 1994—on fears about the future of trade with the United States.
[…] Cooperation on matters of security is also of vital importance, and relations in this area are currently better than at any point in the past ten years, suggests Duncan Wood, head of the Mexico Institute of the Wilson Center in Washington, DC. Given that Mr Trump has complained about Mexican drug-traffickers coming into America, the chances of his undermining the very interactions that aim to keep them out are minimal. […]
11/10/16 InSight Crime
In the wake of Donald Trump’s surprising victory in the US presidential election, InSight Crime considers the impact his administration could have on security and organized crime in Latin America.
Trump will hold the top office alongside a Republican-dominated Congress, as the party maintained a majority in both the Senate and House of Representatives.
Aside from his common refrain of building a wall along the US-Mexico border, Trump rarely touched on topics concerning Latin America during his campaign. This has created a great deal of uncertainty about his position on a host of issues related to the region, and his foreign policy more generally.
10/19/16 Los Angeles Times
Trump accused Clinton of favoring “open borders” and not having a plan to stop migrants and drug smugglers from illegally crossing into the country, while at the same time accusing her of voting for building a border wall when she was a senator.
Clinton countered by pointing out that when Trump met in private with Mexico’s president in August, he didn’t bring up his plan to build a wall and make Mexico pay for it.
“Trump went to Mexico and didn’t raise it,” Clinton said. “He choked.”