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Mexican gov't says U.S. anti-drug aid hasn't been enough
[December 14, 2011]

Mexican gov't says U.S. anti-drug aid hasn't been enough

Mexico City, Dec 14, 2011 (EFE via COMTEX) -- Mexico's foreign minister said that the Merida Initiative, a U.S.-funded effort to bolster the fight against organized crime in this country and neighboring Central America has not provided the hoped-for results.

Patricia Espinosa said the Mexican government has only received $750 million, a figure that "doesn't have anything to do with the effort Mexico is making" to combat organized crime.

In an appearance Tuesday before a Senate committee, Espinosa said that "one of the big challenges in this matter is that we haven't managed to communicate exactly what the Merida Initiative consists of." Launched in 2008, the initiative is aimed at helping Mexico and Central America combat drug trafficking and organized crime.

Mexico last week received from the United States a fourth Blackhawk helicopter as part of the plan and telecommunications equipment to strengthen its national security.

U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Anthony Wayne said at that time that the Merida Initiative "is neither aid nor alms" for the Mexican government, but rather an alliance against organized crime.

Espinosa said that part of the Merida Initiative is "an outline of cooperation" that establishes for the first time the responsibilities of the two countries and in which Mexico also has demanded that the United States act against organized crime, attend to curtailing its domestic drug consumption and halt arms trafficking.

She said that cooperation with its northern neighbor had developed to guarantee Mexico's security without violating the country's sovereignty.

She added that the presence of U.S. agents in Mexican territory is not new and is a practice that has been in existence "for many years and by many governments" and has as its objective only to "promote the cooperation and exchange of information with Mexican authorities." With regard to the use of U.S. surveillance drones in Mexican airspace, she said that the federal executive branch had requested that that be done "to gather intelligence information." EFE ea/bp

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