U.S. Anti-Drug Aid to Mexico: Pledged-$1.4 Billion; Spent-$7 Million

Monday, April 06, 2009

While drug-related violence continues to spiral out of control in Mexico, the federal government has dallied in its efforts to spend more than a billion dollars that Congress authorized to fight drug trafficking south of the border. Out of $1.4 billion approved under the Mérida Initiative, a program ten times larger than any other anti-drug plan to help Mexico, only $7 million has been spent—on high-speed computer servers and an arms-trafficking workshop attended by senior U.S. officials at a Mexican resort. Meanwhile, the things most needed by Mexican law enforcement, such as surveillance planes and helicopters, may not arrive for another two years. U.S. officials blame bureaucratic delays for not spending the Mérida fund faster.

Unlike the U.S. government, Mexican President Felipe Calderón has not hesitated to spend resources to combat drug trafficking. In addition to deploying 45,000 troops to fight drug smuggling, Calderón has boosted his security budget by nearly 100%. More than 10,100 Mexicans have died over the past three years in drug-related violence.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
U.S. Aid Delays in Drug War Criticized (by William Booth and Steve Fainaru, Washington Post)


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