Officials are set to unveil the new agreement, citing the root causes of the violence during the US Secretary of State’s visit to Mexico.
The United States and Mexico are ready to sign a new security agreement to address drug-related violence and other issues during US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s visit to Mexico City.
Friday’s one-day visit comes as both countries signaled a desire to rebuild the 13-year-old Merida initiative, under which the United States provided military firearms, technical assistance and security training to combat crime, particularly cartel violence.
“We believe we are ready to see an update on our bilateral security cooperation,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters Thursday.
He added that Washington wants to see the “significant gains” of the Merida Initiative preserved, that cooperation has deepened and that we have an updated mechanism that is responsible for today’s threat. “
The United States has provided b 2 billion to Mexico for the program since 2000.
Meanwhile, more than 300,000 people have been killed in cartel-related violence since the Mexican government deployed troops in the war on drugs in 2000.
Some experts believe that the militarization strategy failed because it caused the cartels to split into smaller, more violent cells, while failing to stop drug trafficking.
The root causes
Blinken, who is traveling with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorcas, will meet with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebard.
Both Mexican officials have called for an end to the Merida Initiative, which they see as a symbol of the past, and for a new agreement that focuses on development funding and other key causes of crime and immigration.
Lopez Obrador said in June that Mexico did not want the new agreement to “be the same as before they brought us helicopter gunships and take a picture of the US ambassador with the president.”
Officials in both countries say they are in the process of creating a new framework that will take a more holistic approach to tackling crime, while addressing broader issues than previous initiatives.
A Mexican official told Reuters news agency that working over the past few months, the new structure did not anticipate Mexico receiving military equipment or funding, and instead focused on information exchange, interconnection cooperation and staff training.
A senior Biden administration official, speaking to reporters on condition of anonymity on Thursday, said Washington was calling the new initiative a US-Mexico bicentennial framework for safety, public health and a safe community.
Following Friday’s talks, Washington expects to draw up an action plan by December 1 and then agree on a three-year bilateral framework and plan by January 30 next year.
The agreement is also expected to focus on migrant smuggling.
Secretary of State Eberhard, meanwhile, said Mexico would press the United States to do more to stop the flow of illegal firearms into Mexico and speed up the extradition requested by Mexican prosecutors under the new agreement.
The visit comes on Friday after security cooperation between the United States and Mexico suffered a major blow last October, when U.S. anti-drug agents arrested former Mexican Defense Minister Salvador Cienfuegos.
The arrests shocked the Lopez Obrador administration, and fueled Mexico’s long-standing concern that U.S. anti-drug agents were influencing its sovereignty. The Mexican Congress persuaded the passage of legislation to make it harder for U.S. agents to operate on Mexican soil.
U.S. officials have complained that efforts to fight the powerful cartels have been hampered by a rift in relations, and the inability of U.S. agents to move freely around Mexico.