Saturday, October 1, 2011
"We can't win this battle without the U.S."
The so-called Mérida Initiative, which became law in the U.S. in June 2008, contains provisions for training and equipping Mexican forces and for intelligence gathering and sharing. The name derives from meetings held by former President George Bush and President Calderon in Mérida, Yucatán several years ago.
The U.S. pledged Mexico about $1.5 billion in direct aid under the plan, but the money has been very slow in arriving despite unprecedented levels of violence in many regions of the country. Mexican officials have increasingly complained about delays in promised funds and assistance. The new U.S. ambassador to Mexico, Earl Anthony Wayne, told Senators at his July 20 confirmation hearing that Mexican legislators were of a “strong consensus” that the Mérida Initiative must continue. While admitting the plan has its critics, Wayne said “I’ve not heard other alternatives that we could put into effect.” He told Senators that after Mexico’s 2012 elections he plans to meet with new government officials in an effort to accelerate the initiative, which presumably would include a release of more funds.
Some critics of the Mérida Initiative have complained of its extraordinary cost in a time of prolonged recession and resultant budget slashing. Others have pointed to an apparent lack of success in Mexico’s drug war, and have compared the initiative to the similar Plan Colombia implemented 15 years ago, with mixed results. It is far from certain how much Mérida Initiative money Mexico will receive during the remaining months of Calderon’s presidency, which ends in December 2012.
More on Mexico's political parties and the 2012 presidential election here: http://www.theyucatantimes.com/2011/07/mexicos-2012-presidential-election-364-days-and-counting/
More on the new U.S. ambassador to Mexico: http://www.theyucatantimes.com/2011/08/new-u-s-ambassador-to-mexico-stands-behind-merida-initiative/
at 4:36 PM