US Ambassador to Mexico, Antonio Garza [Source: El Porvenir]
On December 3, the United States Ambassador to Mexico, Antonio Garza and the Sub-secretary for North America from the Mexican Foreign Relations Department, Carlos Rico, signed the Letter of Agreement between the two countries which marked the beginning of the transfer of funds set forth in the Mérida Initiative. These funds will initially spent by the US government and the resulting equipment, technology and training will then be sent to Mexico. While the Letter of Agreement refers to approximately 197 million USD of the 400 million USD promised in the initiative for 2008, according to Ambassador Garza, some 136 million USD is already be utilized through military cooperation and through the Economic Support Fund (ESF).
Antonio Garza spoke of the necessity for cooperation between the US and Mexico and while he spoke admiringly of President Calderón’s administration, he also pointed out that “sometimes the narcotraffickers are better coordinated, and integrated in their transnational activities than those that are confronting them.” The ambassador also mentioned that the transffering of some 43 million USD of the funds has yet to occur pending the compliance with internal reports. Although 15% of the funds are conditioned on the Mexican government’s compliance with the human rights clauses attached to the initiative, according to the office of Senator Patrick Leahy [VT-D], the State Department has yet to deliver their report concerning the conditions to Congress.
It is important to reiterate the many human rights and social organizations in Mexico continue to be concerned by the impact that the Mérida Initiative may have on the human rights situation in the country given the intensification of militarization that the initiative implies.
US Embassy Statements:
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