Fate of US-Mexico agreement on border security, war on drugs unclear

World Today

The Presidents of Mexico and the U.S. will meet for the first time at this week’s G-20 summit.  U.S. President Donald Trump has called for renegotiating the NAFTA trade agreeement.

He’s also promised to make  Mexico pay for a border wall between the two countries.  But its not clear what may happen to an agreement that governs border security.

CGTN’S Franc Contreras has details.

The U.S. and Mexico have a joint framework for confronting drug trafficking organizations in Mexico that send drugs to the United States.

The same framework has guided border security between the two nations for the past ten years. 

It’s called the Merida Initiative – an agreement signed by then-Presidents George W. Bush and Felipe Calderon in 2007.

Since then, the U.S. has spent some $2.5 billion supporting Mexico and Merida. That’s included funds to train Mexican security forces, and the purchase of expensive attack helicopters.

“The U.S. and Mexican governments assumed that security was a problem they shared,” security analyst Jaime Lopez Aranda said.  “Not just the issues of drug trafficking and the border, but all aspects of regional security.”

During the administration of Barack Obama – the U.S. Congress conditioned the funding on improving human rights and rule of law in Mexico.

With the North American Free Trade Agreement on the negotiating table, security experts in Mexico would like to see a full reexamination of the Merida Initiative and a careful look of all aspects of the bilateral relationship on the issue of regional security.

One decade into Merida, Mexican security analyst Carlos Heredia said violent crime and corruption continue, and demand for illegal drugs remains high in the U.S.

“The best way for the US and Mexico to cooperate would be to end the war on drugs, and switch to a policy that prioritizes security for citizens, their families and their properties,” economist and former politician Carlos Heredia said.

So far, there are only questions – about what will become of the Merida Initiative in the months and years to come – though there are sure to be changes, as the relationship between  Trump and Nieto continues to evolve.