Daylife/AP Photo used by permission
The $1.4 billion Mérida Initiative, an anti-drug package designed under the Bush administration, ends next year. In an interview with The Dallas Morning News, the senior official outlined Obama administration priorities in supporting the government of President Felipe Calderón in its battle with the cartels and the violence and corruption they engender – much of it along the Texas border.
U.S. and Mexican officials are looking for ways to gradually move the focus of their efforts from dismantling and disrupting cartels to strengthening Mexico’s weak democratic institutions and weeding out corruption, the official said.
“Corruption remains a pretty significant concern,” said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity. “That’s a serious, serious problem. It’s gotten better than it was, but we need more trusted counterparts to mount effective operations.”
The bleak assessment is shared by some Mexican officials. The battle has “exposed Mexico’s corruption and vulnerabilities and weak judicial institutions,” Joel Ortega, Mexico City’s former police chief, said recently at Columbia University in New York City.
“To win this war, we will need the full participation of society, including the media and law enforcement,” Ortega said. “We’re facing the biggest threat to our country’s national security…”
In recent weeks, officials from the two countries have been meeting in Washington and Mexico City to coordinate efforts beyond the Mérida Initiative…
The Obama administration will seek to fund a counternarcotics package to Mexico and Central America, though under a different name to reflect the administration’s shift in priorities, the official said. Those priorities include focusing on training judges and law enforcement officials and working with communities to create job opportunities to prevent young people from seeking jobs with cartels…
RTFA. Overcoming Mexico’s tradition of institutional corruption, supporting a barely-existing movement for democracy and freedom – ain’t ever going to be easy. The same structures that enforced national unity brought all the trappings of fiefdom, as well.
Usually unspoken, racist traditions of “Spanish” families over Indios dominate whole provincial elections. They are exploited as thoroughly by the drug cartels as populist – and reactionary – class divisions within Mexican society.
Not so easy for the United States to overcome when the same traits stain our own border states.