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Mexican Drug Aid Bill Approved by Congress, Signed by Bush

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President Bush this week signed into law a plan to send hundreds of millions of dollars in anti-drug aid to Mexico after Congress passed a compromise version of the legislation.

The Washington Post reported June 28 that the so-called Merida Initiative legislation will deliver $400 million in aid to Mexico and $65 million to Central American nations battling drug trafficking and cartels. The bill signed by Bush does not include human-rights and oversight conditions that the Mexican government objected to in earlier versions of the legislation.

“The approval by the U.S. Congress of funds for the Merida Initiative is a testament to the level of maturity that dialogue between Mexico and the United States has reached, and the mutual trust we have achieved,” said Mexican Interior Secretary Juan Camilo Mouriño.

The new law still allows the U.S. State Department to reduce funding to Mexico if progress is not made on issues like accountability of police forces and banning the use of testimony arising from torture, but only up to 15 percent of funding rather than 25 percent.

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