Question: Has the U.S. made any recent expansion to the Merida Initiative in light of the delivery of new equipment and the conducting of training now underway in Mexico?
Answer: U.S. policy toward Mexico is broad and multifaceted. It extends well beyond the security relationship and includes economic competitiveness, trade, energy, cultural, and educational ties. Our partnership with Mexico under the Merida Initiative has helped to strengthen and enhance our cooperation in terms of our overall bilateral agenda.
Since our Merida partnership was formalized in 2008, $1.6 billion has been appropriated. Of this total, more than $700 million in equipment, training, and capacity-building has been delivered since the Merida Initiative began. With additional deliveries in 2011, we are committed to bringing the amount to approximately $900 million by the end of this calendar year. It is important to remember that for every dollar we spend on Merida, Mexico has spent approximately $13 or more.
As part of Merida’s evolution, we are now moving away from big ticket equipment and into support that reinforces Mexico’s progress to strengthen democratic institutions, reduce impunity, improve respect for human rights, enhance the role of civil society and transform the nature of our borders through intensive technical assistance and training.