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.
Mark Kleiman, Foreign Affairs, 8/25/11
More than a thousand people die each month in drug-dealing violence in Mexico, and the toll has been rising. In some parts of the country, the police find themselves outgunned by drug traffickers and must rely on the armed forces. Meanwhile, the United States suffers from the widespread abuse of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines, and cannabis; violence and disorder surrounding retail drug markets; property theft and violent crime committed by drug abusers; and mass incarceration, including half a million people behind bars for drug offenses and at least as many for crimes committed for money to buy drugs.
Current policies, clearly, have unsatisfactory results. But what is to replace them? Neither of the standard alternatives — a more vigorous pursuit of current antidrug efforts or a system of legal availability for currently proscribed drugs — offers much hope. Instead, it is time for Mexico and the United States to consider a set of less conventional approaches.
SANTA FE, NM- Shared challenges necessarily require shared solutions. And Mexico’s drug violence, which has killed tens of thousands this decade and spurred “spillover” fears north of the border, is no exception. Since 2008, U.S. and Mexican officials have embraced the rhetoric of “shared responsibility,” meaning that both countries bear blame for the violence and should shoulder the costs of resolving it. On the U.S. side, blame springs from high levels of domestic drug consumption, north-south arms trafficking, and bulk cash smuggling. Mexico is to blame for its weak police and courts, vulnerable as they are to the infiltration and cooptation of cartels, whose power has been aggrandized by certain corrupt Mexican authorities for years.
On the responsibility side of the equation, the doctrine of “shared responsibility” has manifested itself in different ways. One way has been through state-to-state judicial exchange efforts, aimed at increasing bi-national cooperation and at strengthening Mexican judicial institutions. Typically taking place in the form of trainings, dialogues, and meetings, exchanges bring together prosecutors, judges, and investigators from both countries. They help peers establish professional connections, build rapport and trust, and establish the foundations necessary for investigative and intelligence cooperation down the road. Continue reading “Report from the field: Judicial and Prosecutor Training”