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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Merida Initiative


The Merida Initiative is an unprecedented partnership between the United States and Mexico to fight organized crime and associated violence while furthering respect for human rights and the rule of law. Based on principles of common and shared responsibility, mutual trust, and respect for sovereign independence, the two countries’ efforts have built confidence that is transforming the bilateral relationship.

Enhancing Citizen Safety

Under the Merida Initiative, the United States has forged partnerships to strengthen institutions, improve citizen safety, fight drug trafficking, organized crime, corruption, illicit arms trafficking, money-laundering, and demand for drugs on both sides of the border.

Bilateral efforts are being accelerated to support democratic institutions, especially police, justice systems, and civil society organizations; to expand our border focus beyond interdiction of contraband to include facilitation of legitimate trade and travel; and to build strong and resilient communities able to withstand the pressures of crime and violence.

Merida Programs and Activities

The U.S. Congress has appropriated $2.1 billion since the Merida Initiative began in Fiscal Year 2008. Under the partnership:

  • Mexico’s implementation of comprehensive justice sector reforms has been supported through the training of justice sector personnel including police, prosecutors, and defenders; correction systems development; judicial exchanges; and support to Mexican law schools.
  • Capacity building courses for Mexican law enforcement include: crime investigation, professionalization, tactics and firearms, strategic analysis, and specialized training for anti-gang and anti-kidnapping units.
  • Work is ongoing with the Government of Mexico and civil society to promote the rule of law and build strong and resilient communities; to increase the knowledge of, and respect for, human rights; to strengthen social networks and community cohesion; to address the needs of vulnerable populations (youth and victims of crime); and to increase community and government cooperation.
  • Air mobility of Mexican forces has been increased through the delivery of aircraft as well as training for pilots and technicians. The aircraft and training has proven invaluable in confronting criminal organizations who would otherwise have used the advantage of difficult terrain to operate with impunity. Additionally, the delivery of CASA 235 maritime surveillance aircraft to SEMAR has allowed for increased vigilance and control over Mexican territorial waters.
  • Scanners, X-ray machines, and other non-intrusive inspection equipment have been provided to enhance Mexican authorities’ ability to detect illicit goods at key checkpoints of land and air ports of entry
  • Delivery of over 300 canines trained in the detection of narcotics, weapons, ammunition and currency to the Federal police, PGR and SAT is ongoing. Each of the agencies is in the process of building or remodeling their own K-9 team training academy. Additionally, trainers are being certified to train officers in Mexico.
  • Mexico’s Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (SCT) was provided with ground-based satellite communication terminals for Mexico’s law enforcement needs and enhanced coverage for domestic communications for fixed satellite services.
  • A secure, cross-border telecommunications system between ten U.S. and Mexican border sister cities, has been established. This system provides public security forces on both sides of the border the capability to request and exchange information regarding active criminal investigations.
  • The Mexican government has established a corrections academy to train Mexican federal correctional staff at Xalapa in Mexico’s Veracruz state. Mexican prisons are working to receive independent accreditation from the American Correctional Association. To date, a total of 14 facilities, including the Academy in Xalapa, have received accreditation.


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