The failure of the Merida Initiative to stop corruption and violence in Mexico

A specialized research organization pointed out deficiencies in the approach and implementation of the Mérida Initiative, a bilateral security cooperation agreement signed by Mexico and the United States 10 years ago.

The former governor of Veracruz, Javier Duarte de Ochoa is currently in prison (Photo: Pixabay)
The former governor of Veracruz, Javier Duarte de Ochoa is currently in prison (Photo: Pixabay)

For 10 years, Mexico has received special financing from the United States to fight drug trafficking. However, the initiative that was implemented since then has been ineffective because the country still can not find the formula to end its problem of corruption and violence.

This is the analysis of InSight Crime, a research organization specializing in security issues, which pointed out deficiencies in the approach and implementation of the Mérida Initiative, a bilateral security cooperation agreement signed by both countries in 2007.

That year, former Mexican President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa asked the George W. Bush administration for help in fighting arms and narcotics trafficking. It was agreed that Mexico would receive US $ 2,900 million in aid to finance military equipment, training for judicial personnel, improvements in judicial infrastructure, military training and implementation of crime prevention.

The organization described the Initiative as "ineffective" due to two fundamental reasons. The first because violence, far from dissipating, has been increasing. This is because much has been insisted on the use of military forces to fight organized crime, which has only led to an escalation of deaths in Mexico since it was launched.

Example of the trial of capo Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán Loera, which on the surface could seem a heavy blow against drug trafficking. However, it is only a reflection of a strategy that has only led to the decentralization of crime. Groups like the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) were formed as a result of the fracture of previous cartels.

Secondly, the initiative has not worked because despite the fact that since its inception it has implemented strategies to combat corruption, this continues to be one of the biggest problems in Mexican institutions.

The most outrageous case in recent years is that of Javier Duarte, former governor of the state of Veracruz who diverted around USD 60,000 from the state's public budget. That has been one of the greatest embezzlements in the history of the country.

Recently, the Attorney General's Office announced investigations to federal magistrates in relation to this case. The specialists do not doubt that the network of corrupt officials continues to expand even more.

The Initiative sought to attack corruption through its participation in a series of reforms that introduced an open accusatory prosecution system such as exists in the United States. Previously, Mexico depended on a less transparent inquisitorial system, in which all trials were held behind closed doors.

However, according to the organization, resources were lacking to provide police and prosecutors with the necessary training to adapt to their new functions in the system. The result has so far been a failed attempt to imitate legal processes such as those of the United States, in a country whose judicial system is inefficient and highly corrupt.