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News Article

No Substantial Changes After US-Mexico Security Meeting

By Paloma Duran | Tue, 10/12/2021 - 11:12

Experts believe that the new security framework agreed between Mexican and US authorities that seek to end the Merida Initiative and establish a new focus on security issues will not have a significant impact, since several initiatives of the current security agreement will be maintained.

Mexican and US authorities agreed to the Bicentennial Understanding on Security, Public Health and Safe Communities, a new security framework that seeks to exchange more information and identify the root causes of violence to reduce migration, violence and drug and arms trafficking. However, experts believe that the new approach will not have a significant impact on these matters.

"It is not an international agreement. It is a statement of facts and inspiration to do things, but it does not guarantee absolutely nothing so far,” said the Director of the National Citizen Observatory of Security, Justice and Legality, Francisco Rivas.

In addition, experts said the new accord is very similar to the Merida Initiative, a US$3 billion security cooperation agreement that was reached during the administration of former President Felipe Calderón and was characterized by having a militarized approach to organized crime. The Initiative is accused of aggravating  the security situation in the country and of further endangering the lives of Mexicans.

“The measures are very unspecific, the creation of a working group and the signing of a memorandum of understanding are announced, but there is not much information about it. The relationship with the US will not change much with the agreement. Also, according to the US Ambassador to Mexico, Ken Salazar, some funds related to the Merida Initiative will be maintained,” said Alejandro Hope, director of the MC2 Project (Less crime, less punishment).

Foreign Relations Minister, Marcelo Ebrard, said the new agreement has a better security approach as for the first time the US is committed to addressing the problem of arms trafficking to Mexico by tracking the weapons it manufactures. However, Hope said this is not the first time. “Mexican institutions have access to eTrace software from the ATF (US Agency for Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) since 2009. They did not report well, but Mexico has had access to these weapons tracking software, which has tracked 200,000 weapons in 15 years,” said Hope.

Analysts also believe negotiating a new security deal will be difficult, as the Joe Biden administration takes a stricter and more aggressive approach to security issues, especially drug trafficking, while López Obrador promotes a less confrontational approach to fighting the drug cartels.

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
Reuters, El Economista
Photo by:   Jay Rembert
Paloma Duran Paloma Duran Journalist and Industry Analyst