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”