02/16/2011— The United States defended the Merida Initiative yesterday by stating that the cooperation between Mexico and the U.S. was vital to the success of the fight against the cartels and strengthening of their institutions. The U.S. Department of State has proposed a budget of 282 million dollars for the 2012 fiscal year. The under-secretary of state for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Arturo Valenzuela, says that in this new year the U.S. hopes to focus on strengthening Mexican institutions as compared to the phases before where the U.S. focused more on supply of military equipment, work training, and technical assistance. He also stated that under the new focus, the U.S. will “collaborate with Mexico to help to institutionalize the reforms in the justice sector to prevail the rule of law and to respect human rights.” The bi-lateral relationship between the U.S. and Mexico has created a cooperation that will allow the two countries to combat organized crime and drug trafficking, as well as, reinforce the protection of citizens.
As compared to the 582 million dollars that the U.S. allocated to Mexico in 2010, the amount of money for 2012 has dropped almost in half. The U.S. embassy in Mexico has stated that the reason for the decrease in funds is due to the new focus on strengthening institutions. Because the U.S. government will no longer be providing military equipment to the government of Mexico, it has decreased the amount to reflect this change.