According Gustavo Gil, director of political analysis at Integralia, a Mexico City consultancy firm, the rule of law should replace military aid as the central pillar of the Mérida Initiative.
“As long as Mexico’s institutions are unable to impose the rule of law,” he says, “the routine violation of human rights will continue.”
Gil cites a 2013 study by Mexico’s National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI), which indicates that 94 percent of all crimes committed in Mexico go unpunished — “a damning indictment” of the country’s security policies, he says.
Mexico’s failure to hold its own security forces to account is costing lives — but so, too, is the failure of the U.S. policy-makers to ask quite where Mérida Initiative money is going.
Despite reports from Mexico’s National Secretary on Security that 10,000 people died violently in the first half of 2015, President Obama has requested a further $116 million in spending from Congress, for handover in 2016.
The bill for the Mérida Initiative —in terms of U.S. spending and lost human lives— looks set to rise, with no upward limit in sight.