Taken Question: Comment on Decrease in Funding to Mexico to Combat Organized Crime

Taken Question
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
October 19, 2015

Attribution is on-the-record from Deputy Spokesperson Mark Toner.

Question:  Does the State Department have ANY comment on the decrease in funding to combat organized crime to Mexico? 

Answer:  Mexico’s struggle to combat organized crime remains a difficult challenge and we have made significant progress in this shared responsibility.  The Merida Initiative is an eight year old partnership between the United States and Mexico to fight organized crime and associated violence while furthering respect for human rights and the rule of law.  Per Congressional legislation, the State Department is required to withhold 15 percent of certain Merida funding for Mexico until a report on human rights is submitted to Congress.  This year, the Department was unable to confirm and report to Congress that Mexico fully met all of the criteria in the Fiscal Year 2014 appropriation legislation, and the 15% was redirected away from Mexico.  However, we continue to strongly support Mexico’s ongoing efforts to reform its law enforcement and justice systems – critical components to enhance the rule of law and protect human rights.