Monday, September 24, 2012
Joint Statement of the Merida Initiative High-Level Consultative Group on Bilateral Cooperation against Transnational
1. The Merida Initiative High-Level Consultative
Group held its fourth meeting [on September 18], under the leadership of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary
of Foreign Affairs Patricia Espinosa, to review the results of bilateral cooperation that Mexico and the United States have
undertaken to address the multiple challenges posed by transnational organized crime which operates in both countries.
2. In October 2007, the Governments of the United States and Mexico announced our decision
to expand and deepen our cooperation to maximize the effectiveness of our efforts to confront transnational organized crime,
in the interest of security and the well-being of citizens of both nations. To achieve this goal, we developed the Merida
Initiative, a bilateral cooperation framework based on the principles of shared responsibility, mutual trust and full respect
for the sovereignty of each country. The High-Level Consultative Group, comprised of cabinet secretaries from each government,
both reviews progress and provides direction and guidance for these efforts.
The Merida Initiative represents a paradigm shift with respect to our cooperation on law enforcement and security. It
has contributed to a deeper and more candid bilateral dialogue, and the strengthening of the overall relationship. The
authorities of the United States and Mexico not only deepened our communication and mutual trust, but we committed to strengthen
the fight against organized crime, including arms trafficking and money laundering, in our respective countries in an unprecedented
4. Mexico has continued to make substantial investments in excess
of $10 billion dollars, aimed at strengthening its security and justice sector institutions. In particular, progress
has been made in strengthening the legal framework, including legal protections for human rights, increasing the transparency
of public institutions, enhancing accountability, and fighting corruption through institutional restructuring, enhanced training,
and the use of internal controls for law enforcement forces. In addition, the Mexican government is currently undertaking
the reform of the criminal justice system. In support of those efforts, the United States has appropriated $1.9 billion.
5. Working together under the Merida Initiative to complement through collaborative actions
the significant efforts made by the Government of Mexico to confront transnational criminal groups, the United States and
- Increased information sharing on transnational drug
trafficking organizations which has disrupted the operations of transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) and supported
the Mexican government in removing major drug traffickers;
the extradition relationship between the two countries, resulting in record totals and numerous high level targets being brought
- Improved border security and inspection capabilities, in
part, through the deployment of over $97 million in fixed and mobile non-intrusive inspection equipment (NIIE) and small detection
- Worked to secure supply chains and expedite the flow of legitimate
trade and travel by establishing complementary trusted traveler and shipper programs;
- Provided training, capacity building and equipment to over 5,000 prison staff and administrators and supported the
efforts of the Mexican government to expand the federal prison capacity from 6,400 inmates to 20, 000 inmates as well as to
establish a federal penitentiary academy;
- Trained over 7,500 federal
and 19,000 state justice sector personnel in different aspects of Mexico's new accusatorial judicial system;
- Supported the efforts made by the Mexican government to improve the efficiency of its judicial
system, especially in those states and areas where judicial reform has been implemented;
- Strengthened investigation of cross-border financial flows, money laundering, and financial crimes by providing state
of the art equipment and training and by setting up a Bilateral Illicit Finance Working Group;
- Supported training for more than 4,400 police investigators of the Public Security Secretariat (SSP) who are deployed
throughout Mexico; and
- Transferred 21 aircraft to Mexican security forces
to confront criminal organizations.
6. The broad parameters of our
partnership under Merida have followed from the four strategic areas of cooperation identified by Presidents Barack Obama
and Felipe Calderon in August 2009 in Guadalajara, and reaffirmed during the State Visit of President Calderon to Washington
in May 2010: disrupting the capacity of criminal organizations by weakening their operational, logistical and financial
capabilities; strengthening public institutions that underpin the rule of law; developing a secure and competitive border;
and the restoring the social fabric in vulnerable communities.
7. In connection
with the fourth strategic area, we have agreed to implement programs to help strengthen the social fabric of vulnerable communities
in the cities of Tijuana, Ciudad Juarez and Monterrey. In coordination with local authorities and community leaders,
we are taking actions to reduce and prevent drug demand, recover public spaces, work with children and youth, and support
community networks for crime prevention. The United States and Mexico are cooperating to strengthen the prevention and
reduction of criminal activity at the state and local level. We have initiated programs to strengthen police training
and police academies, including in the states of Chihuahua, Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon, with equipment and training courses.
We have also jointly established a program to link 334 prevention and primary care centers across the country plus 32 state
centers into a national drug use observatory that will enable real-time monitoring of consumption patterns and trends for
specific, targeted interventions.
8. With respect to the security of our
common border, we have taken steps to improve cooperation between the authorities responsible for preventing and responding
to border incidents. In this context, we highlight the adoption of the Border Violence Prevention Protocols.
9. In the five years since we announced the Merida Initiative, our efforts have led to major
quantitative and qualitative advances in bilateral cooperation against transnational organized crime. This has helped to establish
a solid foundation of trust and coordination between American and Mexican authorities responsible for preventing and combating
10. Recognizing that the United States and Mexico face common challenges,
the High Level Group confirmed its commitment to harness the enormous potential of enhanced cooperation between our countries.
Based on the principle of shared responsibility that governs our cooperation, we seek long-term solutions that allow us to
deal with transnational criminal organizations and increasingly offer our citizens better conditions for development and security.
Moreover, recognizing the global reach of the criminal organizations, we also agreed on the importance of continuing to work
with our partners and neighbors in the region to meet this shared challenge.
In reaffirming this strategic partnership, the United States and Mexico recognize it is in our common interest to continue
to build on and institutionalize the cooperation which the Merida Initiative has established.
12. In attendance at the HLG for the United States: Secretary Hillary R. Clinton, Attorney General Eric Holder,
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, Vice Chairman of the Joint
Chiefs of Staff ADM James Winnefeld, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism and Deputy National
Security Advisor John Brennan, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Drug Enforcement Agency Administrator Michele
M. Leonhart, White House Office of National Drug Control Policy Deputy Director for Supply Reduction Marilyn Quagliotti, USAID
Deputy Administrator Donald Steinberg, Treasury Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes Daniel Glaser,
and Ambassador of the United States to Mexico E. Anthony Wayne.
attendance at the HLG for Mexico: Secretary Patricia Espinosa Cantellano, Secretary of Governance Alejandro Poire Romero,
Secretary of National Defense General Guillermo Galván Galván, Secretary of the Navy Admiral Mariano Francisco
Saynez Mendoza, Secretary of Public Security Genaro García Luna, Attorney General Marisela Morales Ibañez, Secretary
of Health Salomon Chertorivski Woldenberg, Director General of the Center for Investigation and National Security (CISEN)
Jaime Domingo Lopez Buitron, Chief of the Tax Administration System (SAT) Alfredo Gutierrez Ortíz-Mena, Undersecretary
of Income of the Secretariat of Finance Jose Antonio Gonzalez Anaya, Head of the Financial Intelligence Unit of the Secretariat
of Finance José Alberto Balbuena, Commissioner of the National Council against Addictions (CONADIC) Carlos Tena Tamayo,
Ambassador of Mexico to the United States Arturo Sarukhan, and Undersecretary for North America of the Secretariat of Foreign
Relations, Julian Ventura.
Fourth Meeting, Merida Initiative High-Level Consultative Group on Bilateral Cooperation against Transnational Criminal
Organizations, Sep. 18, 2012; Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE), Mexico; translation SRE