Experts considered that the Bicentennial Understanding for Security, Public Health and Safe Communities that Mexico and the United States agreed on Friday to end the Merida Initiative does not mean a shift in cooperation.
The director of the National Citizen Observatory for Security, Justice and Legality, Francisco Rivas, said that the Bicentennial Understanding, “is not an international agreement, it is a statement of facts and inspiration to do things, but the document they presented does not guarantee absolutely nothing until the moment”.
“It does not allow us to understand what is going to happen. There are some good aspirations, but they are not very different from what was had with the Mérida Initiative. What we can see is that there is an interest in curbing arms trafficking from the United States, apparently, there is an interest in reducing consumption in the United States that can help reduce the strength of organized crime groups.
“But now, a large part of what they say they want to do is not known how they are going to do it because there is no money. This new initiative, the Bicentennial agreement, we do not know if it is going to contemplate resources, but even considering them, it cannot be used for current spending, but rather for institutional strengthening ”, he highlighted.
And he added: “The United States has no choice, it will have to continue collaborating with Mexico, because to the extent that there is a disaster in Mexico in terms of security, there will not be security in the United States either, it is not that they have another option. The problem is who guarantees that the agreements will be respected and that they will have the impact that we have ”, he mentioned.
Similarity with Plan Mérida
For his part, Alejandro Hope, director of the MC2 Project (Less Crime, Less Punishment), also considered that in the new understanding agreement, although actions to combat homicides, migrant smuggling, and arms are promised, it does not contemplate clear budgets.
“Much ado about nothing. Despite the rhetoric, there is not much difference between the Merida Initiative or other security cooperation mechanisms with the United States. Even the public health component or the reduction of homicides had already been part of the programmatic offer in the Merida Initiative.
“The measures are very little specific, the creation of a working group and the signing of a memorandum of understanding are announced, but there is not much meat in this. The terms of the relationship with the United States do not change much with this, according to the United States Ambassador to Mexico, Ken Salazar, some funds related to the Merida Initiative will follow.
“There is no budget commitment, there is rhetorical support for some of the priorities of the current government of Mexico. The only budget commitment that I found is that the United States government is going to fund its state governments for addiction prevention. Everything else is discursive, ”he commented.
Hope affirmed that it is not true that the understanding agreement contemplates for the first time a commitment by the United States to arms trafficking to Mexico, as stated by Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard.
“Mexican institutions have access to eTrace software from the ATF (US Agency for Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) since 2009. They did not inform you well, Mexico has had access to weapons tracking software, they have traced in these 15 years some 200,000 weapons as a result of that ”, he mentioned.
In the joint declaration that resulted from the high-level dialogue between Mexico and the United States, it was agreed to create the Network for the Prevention of Homicide.
“The Network will consider the creation of a multidisciplinary team (…) with emphasis on the use of forensic laboratories, to facilitate and support the investigation of crimes and their prosecution.”
It was also specified that work will be done to combat migrant smuggling, drug use; create working groups on cybersecurity and regulation of chemical precursors used for drugs such as fentanyl.
In addition to the fact that the governments assured that they will collaborate in forensic matters to solve cases of disappearances in Mexico and they will seek to strengthen the capacities of the National Search Commission.
Mexico Daily Post