Description: Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Violence along the U.S.-Mexico border has escalated in recent years because of drug trafficking and related organized crime activities, with over 12,000 fatalities since 2006. At the same time, gang activity in Central America has increased, further fueling the violence within the region. In an effort to confront the challenges posed by criminal violence, in October 2007, the United States and Mexico announced the Merida Initiative, a $1.4 billion counternarcotics and anticrime assistance package for countries in the region. The Merida Initiative brings a shift in both scale and scope to U.S. assistance to the region, particularly Mexico. For example, under Merida, the average annual counternarcotics and related law enforcement assistance to Mexico increased from about $57 million from 2000 through 2006 to $400 million for fiscal year 2008. Similarly, collaboration between the United States and Mexico has intensified, providing an unprecedented opportunity to address the mutual threat of drug trafficking and organized crime affecting the region. In response to Congressional concerns regarding the pace of assistance, we are providing information on the status of funding provided under the Merida Initiative as of September 30, 2009. Specifically, we describe how much has been appropriated, obligated, and expended. We also identify factors affecting the delivery of major equipment, services, and training; and we provide a timeline of key events related to the initiative. On the basis of Congressional request, we are also conducting a more comprehensive programmatic review of the Merida Initiative to be completed in the summer of 2010. To determine the status of the Merida Initiative assistance funds, we reviewed the Department of State's (State) spending plans for Merida; State budget documents; bilateral agreements between the United States and Mexico, the United States and each of the ...
Date: December 3, 2009
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department