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Merida Initiative

The Merida Initiative - An Overview

In December 2008, Mexico and the United States signed the Merida Initiative agreement, opening a chapter of historic cooperation and acknowledging the shared responsibilities of the United States and Mexico to counter the effects of organized crime threatening citizens on both sides of the border. 

Through five years of implementation, the Merida Initiative has led to increased security cooperation, provided tangible support to Mexico’s security and judicial institutions and helped to galvanize efforts to stop the flow of weapons, money and the demand for drugs. Initially signed by presidents Calderon and Bush, the Merida Initiative continues under Presidents Peña Nieto and Obama.

To date, the Merida Initiative has delivered nearly $1.2 billion in equipment and training.  Four Pillars guide the   strategic objectives of Merida Initiative activities and programs:

PILLAR ONE – Disrupt Capacity of Organized Crime to Operate

Diminish the power of Mexican organized criminal groups by capturing and incarcerating their leaders and by reducing drug trade revenues by interdicting drugs, stopping money laundering, and diminishing production.  Through equipment, technology, aviation, and training, the Merida Initiative will support better investigations, more captures and arrests, successful prosecutions, and shipment interdiction.

PILLAR TWO – Institutionalize Capacity to Sustain Rule of Law

Enhance the capacity of Mexican public security, border and judicial institutions to sustain the rule of law.  Merida Initiative programs will strengthen the capabilities of key institutions to improve internal controls, further professionalize the military and police, reform corrections institutions, and implement justice sector reform.

PILLAR THREE – Create a 21st Century Border Structure

Facilitate legitimate commerce and movement of people while curtailing the illicit flow of drugs, people, arms, and cash.  The Merida Initiative will provide the foundation for better infrastructure and technology to strengthen and modernize border security at northern and southern land crossings, ports, and airports.  Professionalization programs will transfer new skills to the agencies managing the border and additional non-intrusive technologies will assist in the detection of criminal activities.

PILLAR FOUR – Build Strong and Resilient Communities

Strengthen communities by creating a culture of lawfulness and undercutting the lure and power of drug trafficking organizations.  By implementing job creation programs, engaging youth in their communities, expanding social safety nets, and building community confidence in public institutions, Merida Initiative assistance will test new initiatives to strengthen Mexican communities against organized crime.

The Merida Initiative is an historic program of cooperation that acknowledges the shared responsibilities of the United States and Mexico to counter the drug-fueled violence that has threatened citizens on both sides of the border.  The U.S. Congress has funded the Merida Initiative with wide bipartisan support, appropriating over $1.9 billion to Mexico. It is currently providing technical expertise and assistance to Mexico for police professionalization, judicial and prison reform, information technology enhancement, infrastructure development, border security, and the promotion of a culture of lawfulness.


Grant- Culture of Lawfulness

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