A new $331-million antidrug strategy unveiled this week by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would build on the Bush administration’s so-called Merida Initiative and improve cooperation between intelligence communities, border screening, community law enforcement, and joint socioeconomic programs intended to reduce youth involvement in drug crime.
The New York Times reported March 24 that the revised strategy shifts a substantial portion of U.S. funding to Mexico away from military spending.
Announcing the package, Clinton said that U.S. drug consumption helped fuel the violence currently plaguing Mexico. “We know that the demand for drugs drives much of this illicit trade, that guns purchased in the United States are used to facilitate violence here in Mexico,” she said. “The United States must, and is doing its part to help you, and us, meet those challenges.”
The plan will focus first on the troubled border cities of Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez.