Washington and Mexico revisit their anti-drug cooperation

A strategic shift is beginning between Washington and Mexico in their common fight against drug trafficking. The two allies signed, Friday, October 8 in the Mexican capital, a security memorandum of understanding which puts an end to the Merida Initiative, an American financial, logistical and military aid plan, supporting Mexico for thirteen years in its fight against organized crime. This new “alliance” lays the foundations for future more comprehensive cooperation as the violence of the drug cartels continues to increase.

“This is the start of a new security chapter between our two countries”, US Secretary Antony Blinken announced Friday at a press conference in Mexico City alongside Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard. Joe Biden’s emissary headed a delegation bringing together Alejandro Mayorkas, US Homeland Security Officer, and US Attorney General Merrick Garland, in a “high-level dialogue” with their Mexican counterparts. « Goodbye Merida, welcome tobicentennial agreement ! », welcomed Mr. Ebrard, referring to the name given to this new agreement on the occasion of the 200 years of Mexican Independence, celebrated in September. “Public health and safety”, “prevention of trafficking” and “pursuit of cross-border criminal networks” constitute the three pillars.

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The new plan thus puts an end to the previous bilateral agreement launched in 2008 by the American Congress, under the mandates of George Bush (2001-2009) and Felipe Calderon (2006-2012), the former Mexican president who had deployed the army. against cartels. Washington has provided, for thirteen years, more than three billion dollars (about 2.6 billion and euros) to this frontal struggle initiated by Mexico City. The program included funds, equipment, spy technology and training for security forces. But this militarization has ignited the powder. The cartel war between them and against the government has claimed more than 300,000 lives since the end of 2006.

“Shared responsibility”

“This has led to an increase in drug use [aux Etats-Unis], violence [au Mexique] and arms trafficking [entre les deux pays] », castigated, at the end of September, Mr. Ebrard. A few days earlier, a report from the US Congress drew the same conclusion of failure. ” In the past, we have relied too much on the security forces, and not enough on other means of action. “, Admitted, Friday, Mr. Blinken. In the process, Mr. Ebrard stressed that the new “Common strategy is no longer limited to the arrest of drug lords but aims to reduce homicides and drug consumption as a priority in a more balanced reciprocal relationship ».

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