The Evolving U.S.-Mexican Partnership

Posted by Roberta Jacobson
April 29, 2011
Secretary Clinton With Mexican Foreign Minister Espinosa in Washington, DC

Linked by culture, history, and economics, as well as social and family ties, the United States and Mexico enjoy one of the most important bilateral relationships in the world. The security and prosperity of our two countries are uniquely bound together, so the challenges that we face from organized crime demand that we work together.

Early in this administration, President Obama and Secretary Clinton recognized the principles of joint responsibility, respect for sovereignty, and partnership in fighting transnational criminal organizations, and asked us to create mechanisms to enable the United States and Mexico to strengthen cooperation between our countries and build institutional capacity.

The U.S.-Mexico Merida High-Level Consultative Group has become the principal mechanism through which our governments collaborate on security issues, including implementing the Merida Initiative. Under the leadership of U.S. Secretary of State Clinton and Mexican Secretary of Foreign Relations Espinosa, the High-Level Consultative Group met today to review and evaluate the successes of our security efforts and to develop a joint approach for the coming year to strengthen the four areas, or pillars, of cooperation under the Merida framework: Disrupting Organized Criminal Groups; Institutionalizing the Rule of Law; Building a 21st Century Border; and Building Strong and Resilient Communities.

In each of these areas, we are making considerable advances toward greater well-being and security for all our citizens. For example, our enhanced sharing of law enforcement information has led to three dozen drug gang leaders being arrested or killed. Improved coordination between U.S. and Mexican authorities along our border has enabled us to open the first new border crossings in a decade to facilitate legitimate trade and travel -- as we simultaneously make our borders more secure. As we train increasing numbers of Mexican law enforcement officers and increase our engagement with civil society, we support the Mexican government's efforts to be more responsive to public needs and foster dialogue with local communities. Both governments are convinced that the result will be to strengthen the rule of law and respect for human rights, hastening the defeat of the drug gangs.

Today's meeting of the High-Level Consultative Group strengthened understanding among the highest officials of both governments, renewed a shared commitment to achieving long-term solutions, and underscored that the United States and Mexico can only meet these challenges through enhanced engagement and shared responsibility. In my eight years working on the U.S-Mexico bilateral relationship, I have never seen this level of shared vision and commitment to a comprehensive and sustainable solution to this tragic problem. We have a strong partnership that I believe is equal to the challenges we face.

Related Content: Secretary Clinton delivers remarks with Mexican Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa before their meeting.

Comments

Comments

palgye
|
South Korea
April 29, 2011

Palgye in South Korea writes:

Mexico's FTA with the United States and Mexico, a country dominated by large corporations personally think that you have created. The forces of darkness, they do not know the rule ... People get rid of jobs, undermining the purchasing power to think. Yireonhan, cases made it difficult to negotiate think. People do not think there is an opportunity to participate and how. Mexico in a small workaround by making people buy things as possible, forcing people to buy? Is thought to be.

PS: In South Korea three times and was rejected. Actually more, but, they all laughed around.

Rebecca
|
United States
May 13, 2011

Rebecca in the USA writes:

The illegal drug trade between Mexico and the US, along with the associated violence, is a problem with causes and effects on both sides of the border. If anything can be done to stop or lessen the violence and drug trafficking, it must be a joint effort involving both the governments of the US and Mexico. It’s good to see that cooperation between the two countries seems to have already started to have a positive effect.

Monica M.
|
Wisconsin, USA
May 14, 2011

Monica M. in Wisconsin writes:

Although it is encouraging to see U.S. Secretary of State Clinton and Mexican Secretary of Foreign Relations Espinosa representing the United States and Mexico working so well together, I would like to hear more about the fourth pillar of the Merida Initiative: Building Strong and Resilient Communities. In what ways has the Merida Initiative increased engagement with civil society? I do see the increased engagement of civil society as a key element to progressive motion, especially in the effort to help the judicial system defeat corruption.

Also, I would be happy to see integrated into the Merida initiative would be a motion on poverty eradication efforts, since that is what forcing youth to join the drug cartels.

One last question: is there any serious talk between Espinosa and Clinton about putting forth policies to lessen the criminalization of drug use. The Latin American Initiative on Drug and Democracy has supported the idea and it seems that such a radical problem will need a radical solution. I say that the U.S. and Mexico should work together to move away from a zero-tolerance drug policy and promote legislation lessening criminalization of drug use and shifting resources from law enforcement and incarceration to prevention, treatment and harm reduction of drug use.

Karla
|
United States
May 13, 2011

Karla in the USA writes:

Dialogues like this one to evaluate programs are one of the best ways to go about solving the issues of security on both sides of the border. I believe that if both countries continue to be open during these meetings the security programs are likely to change the current security issues for both the United States and Mexico. Nevertheless, I do believe that this is just one part of the plan that both countries need to develop in order to have a better impact on the issues that currently affect both countries. Another important step is to continue to find ways to create jobs on both sides of the border and social programs in order educate and give citizens another alternative to be able to support their families that is not drug trafficking or other criminal activities.

DipNote J.
May 18, 2011

DipNote Blogger Roberta Jacobson writes:

@ Monica M. in Wisconsin:

Long-term success in the fight against drug trafficking depends on building strong and resilient communities able to withstand the pressures of crime and violence and resist the corrosive influence of transnational criminal organizations.

Through the Merida Initiative’s Pillar IV: Building Strong and Resilient Communities, the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) are partnering with the Government of Mexico and civil society to increase knowledge of and respect for human rights; strengthen social networks and community cohesion; address the needs of vulnerable populations, particularly youth and victims of crime; and increase community and government cooperation. We are also working collaboratively with the Government of Mexico to reduce the demand for drugs in Mexico, establish a culture of lawfulness within communities, and establish anonymous crime reporting systems.

In these efforts, civil society plays a vital role. NGOs support a strong civil society that promotes a culture of lawfulness and respect for human rights while the private sector is the primary driver of the economic opportunities that create legitimate employment for Mexico’s youth. Gainful employment, in conjunction with a culture of lawfulness, is a key determinant in whether or not a young person falls prey to the violent alternative offered by drug cartels. Our governments share these aims and under the Pillar IV framework collaborate with civil society to build the strong and resilient communities that we want and need.

In addition to these efforts, groups like the Mexican American Leadership Initiative and the U.S. Mexico Foundation are working to promote ways in which Mexican Americans can support civil society in Mexico.

The Obama Administration does not support legalization of drugs. Decriminalization increases the availability and acceptability of drugs and jeopardizes public health and safety, while keeping drug use illegal helps deter consumption.

Overall, demand for illegal drugs in the United States has dropped dramatically over the past three decades. Due to sustained and comprehensive efforts to address drug use, the number of Americans using illicit drugs today is roughly half the rate it was in the late 1970s.

We recognize that despite major gains, drug use is still too high. The Obama Administration has requested over $10 billion for drug education and treatment programs for fiscal year 2012 to reduce drug consumption. These efforts will not only make the United States healthier and safer, but will also contribute to Mexico’s courageous campaign to defeat criminal organizations that threaten citizens on both sides of our border.

Our government is committed to continued cooperation with the Mexican government and to reducing drug consumption within our borders. Our success will require the support of not only our governments, but also the people of our two countries in defeating violent drug cartels and the human, economic, and social damage they inflict on the communities in which they conduct their illegal activities.

John
|
Canada
May 19, 2011

John in Canada writes:

The drug business is all about money, more money and more money. It is that simple. When we create a law that makes something illegal, we now create something of profit for organised crime.

They then make more of the illegal stuff and push it. Why? More money! Our response, tougher penalties! What’s next? More money = more product to push = more money. This crap sold on the street costs pennies to produce in most cases.

The drug cartels and organised crime together with the legal system create the profitability and the problems and everything everyone fears is happening anyway– we just pay and pay, no matter if you use drugs or not - someone has to pay taxes for judges, lawyers.......jails = unsustainable = bankrupt public purse.

Drugs are so prevalent, what everyone fears of greater access to the stuff is already happening – it’s just costing society a fortune and not just money. Law enforcement can never keep up with the cartels.

Drugs have been around long before the laws but our problems with drugs seem to have appeared with drug laws. So what’s the problem – the drugs or the law or both?

Make tomatoes illegal and watch the running gun battles in the street.

Whatever happened to freedom or at least a little common sense?

I bet Americas founding fathers used marijuana as a medicine – is not the declaration of independence written on hemp?

How far liberty has fallen

Just say no to dumb

.

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