Mexico: Merida Funds Must be Withheld Until Human Rights Conditions Are Met

Download PDF

Amnesty International today urged the US Congress to honor its commitment to withhold 15% of funding of the Merida Initiative until the Mexican government fulfils its human rights obligations. The Mexican government has failed to make sufficient progress in the investigation and prosecution of human rights abuses by security forces. According to the Washington Post, Senator Leahy, Chairman of the Senate Appropriations foreign operations subcommittee, is well aware of the grave human rights situation in Mexico, and does not intend to allow the transfer to go forward if things do not improve.

The Merida Initiative is security co-operation and assistance program through which the USA provides Mexico and Central America with equipment, training and technical assistance to support law enforcement operations. In June 2008, the US Congress stipulated that 15% of the funds to be provided by the US to Mexico in the context of the Merida Initiative must be subject to key human rights conditions, including:

  • Human rights violations perpetrated by military and police personnel to be investigated, prosecuted and tried by civilian prosecutors and judges;
  • Confessions obtained under torture or ill treatment not to be used in the justice system;
  • Civil society to be regularly consulted to make recommendations regarding the fulfilment of the Merida Initiative;
  • Improvement of transparency and accountability of the police force, and establishment of an independent mechanism to denounce abuses.

In addition to a State Department report on the broader human rights situation in Mexico, the US Congress also requested information on the investigation of the killing of US videojournalist Brad Will, whose case Amnesty has worked on for some time. The investigation of Mexico’s Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) led to the arrest of man in October 2008. However, the evidence on which the prosecution is based has been disproved by extensive forensic studies carried out by Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) and Physicians for Human Rights. As the time for the approval of Merida Initiative funding approached, the PGR commissioned a team of Canadian experts to carry out a new forensic report. The report, which has no legal standing in the criminal case, was leaked in July 2009 to the press and confirmed, in an almost word-by-word fashion the conclusions of the PGR. Both the CNDH and Physicians for Human Rights have stated that the report has no scientific validity, and Brad Will’s family has issued a statement denouncing the biased PGR investigation.

Given the situation of Brad Will’s case, the continued impunity of those responsible for other serious human rights violations, and the alarming escalation of reports of new abuses, additional US aid would only make things worse. Let’s hope Mexico takes notice and makes some big changes.

AIUSA welcomes a lively and courteous discussion that follow our Community Guidelines. Comments are not pre-screened before they post but AIUSA reserves the right to remove any comments violating our guidelines.

8 thoughts on “Mexico: Merida Funds Must be Withheld Until Human Rights Conditions Are Met

  1. I disagree withyour decision to ask congress to with hold funds due accusations that I do not believe you have corroborated. In Mexico it is quite common for drug dealers to pay people to object to the Mexican military 's involvment and to make false accusations. When a drug dealer or those who spy on the military's movements, ( which includes police officers) are arrested they claim to not be involved and they even use women for cover , next they will be using children. When arrested they resist and do not want to be handcuffed, is that abuse ? The military is Mexico's only viable option to combating these terrorists because that is what they are they torture and maim and kill enemies and law enforcement even in front of their families and sometimes kill the entire family . If terror is not the purpose what need is wasting so many bullets and risk hurting innocent people. I have no doubt that when some of these men are arrested they may get banged around some especially if they resist and certainly after the 12 agents tortured and murdered in the state of Michoacan, I have no doubt we would expect that in the U.S. if that happened to any of our law enforcement officers even to just one. I have lived for some time in Mexico and I have yet to see the military harass or abuse anyone other that those who confront them who have to be involved in crime one way or an other. For the most part they ignore ordinary citizens although there are many people who feel intimadated and scared when they see the military. The only place where I have had contact with the military is at military checkpoints and since I do not involment myself in any type of crime and since I know that I must respect authority from living in my own U.S.A. I have no problem. Much harder to deal with and to respect are local police and they can be quite abusive if there is anything your organization could do about them that would surely be much more appreciated from myself as well as a vast silent majority. In September during the independence day military parade many people will be wearing white in support of Mexico's military perhaps you could cover that.

  2. I disagree withyour decision to ask congress to with hold funds due accusations that I do not believe you have corroborated. In Mexico it is quite common for drug dealers to pay people to object to the Mexican military ‘s involvment and to make false accusations. When a drug dealer or those who spy on the military’s movements, ( which includes police officers) are arrested they claim to not be involved and they even use women for cover , next they will be using children. When arrested they resist and do not want to be handcuffed, is that abuse ? The military is Mexico’s only viable option to combating these terrorists because that is what they are they torture and maim and kill enemies and law enforcement even in front of their families and sometimes kill the entire family . If terror is not the purpose what need is wasting so many bullets and risk hurting innocent people. I have no doubt that when some of these men are arrested they may get banged around some especially if they resist and certainly after the 12 agents tortured and murdered in the state of Michoacan, I have no doubt we would expect that in the U.S. if that happened to any of our law enforcement officers even to just one. I have lived for some time in Mexico and I have yet to see the military harass or abuse anyone other that those who confront them who have to be involved in crime one way or an other. For the most part they ignore ordinary citizens although there are many people who feel intimadated and scared when they see the military. The only place where I have had contact with the military is at military checkpoints and since I do not involment myself in any type of crime and since I know that I must respect authority from living in my own U.S.A. I have no problem. Much harder to deal with and to respect are local police and they can be quite abusive if there is anything your organization could do about them that would surely be much more appreciated from myself as well as a vast silent majority. In September during the independence day military parade many people will be wearing white in support of Mexico’s military perhaps you could cover that.

  3. i absolutely AGREE with Amnesty's call to Congress to withhold funding for Merida until human rights conditions are met.

    In fact i am against not 15 %, BUT 100 % wihholding of funds for Merida.

    For Merida is a VITAL part of the american Empire's new invasion of the Americas south of the Rio Grande, at a time when the Indian Nations of the Americas are STRONGLY OPPOSING the U.S.'s new military bases & neoliberal policies.

    Mexico's Zapotec Nation in particular is FIGHTING AGAINST the theft of the Zapotec People's gene stores by U.S. biotech scientists who have the direct, stated support of General David Petraeus.

    U.S. Army & U S GOVERNMENT, GET OUT of Zapotec Mexico & Indian Mexico, GET OUT of the INDIAN AMERICAS !!!!

    Leave the Indian Nations & the Indian Countries & Republics alone !!!!

    Use the money for Merida to feed & shelter & employ the starving & the homeless & the jobless in the US itself.

  4. i absolutely AGREE with Amnesty’s call to Congress to withhold funding for Merida until human rights conditions are met.

    In fact i am against not 15 %, BUT 100 % wihholding of funds for Merida.

    For Merida is a VITAL part of the american Empire’s new invasion of the Americas south of the Rio Grande, at a time when the Indian Nations of the Americas are STRONGLY OPPOSING the U.S.’s new military bases & neoliberal policies.

    Mexico’s Zapotec Nation in particular is FIGHTING AGAINST the theft of the Zapotec People’s gene stores by U.S. biotech scientists who have the direct, stated support of General David Petraeus.

    U.S. Army & U S GOVERNMENT, GET OUT of Zapotec Mexico & Indian Mexico, GET OUT of the INDIAN AMERICAS !!!!

    Leave the Indian Nations & the Indian Countries & Republics alone !!!!

    Use the money for Merida to feed & shelter & employ the starving & the homeless & the jobless in the US itself.

  5. I am an activist for Amnesty International Mexico. We were in Guerrero last week and our activities in front of the Government's building were boycotted by soldiers disguised as civilians. This is nothing compared to what military forces are doing to our Human Right's coleagues of the OPIM and OFPM in Guerrero. I totally agree with the intiative of Amnesty International. Frank Argenal mentioned "In Mexico it is quite common for drug dealers to pay people to object to the Mexican military ’s involvment and to make false accusations". Beleive me Frank, the deaths and kidnappings of the members of indigenous communities all over Mexico – usually leaders of Human Rights organizations – are far from being false.

  6. I am an activist for Amnesty International Mexico. We were in Guerrero last week and our activities in front of the Government’s building were boycotted by soldiers disguised as civilians. This is nothing compared to what military forces are doing to our Human Right’s coleagues of the OPIM and OFPM in Guerrero. I totally agree with the intiative of Amnesty International. Frank Argenal mentioned “In Mexico it is quite common for drug dealers to pay people to object to the Mexican military ’s involvment and to make false accusations”. Beleive me Frank, the deaths and kidnappings of the members of indigenous communities all over Mexico – usually leaders of Human Rights organizations – are far from being false.

  7. Yes, brother Fernandez, yes !!!

    We don't believe their lies. We believe in your efforts & in the indigenous nations.

    Mexico doesn't need militarization by the US.Army & by Calderon's failed & disastrous drug war .

    No drug war — let there be giant programs for addict rehab & healing at the grassroots.

    Power to the indigenous People in Guerrero, power to the Zapotec of the Sierra Juarez over their own maize & gene stocks .

    Stop Mexico from degenerating into a second Colombia.

  8. Yes, brother Fernandez, yes !!!

    We don’t believe their lies. We believe in your efforts & in the indigenous nations.

    Mexico doesn’t need militarization by the US.Army & by Calderon’s failed & disastrous drug war .

    No drug war — let there be giant programs for addict rehab & healing at the grassroots.

    Power to the indigenous People in Guerrero, power to the Zapotec of the Sierra Juarez over their own maize & gene stocks .

    Stop Mexico from degenerating into a second Colombia.