Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) called for an end to the internationally-funded Merida Initiative to target cartels in favor of a jobs program.
AMLO told reporters in Mexico City that he asked the U.S. government to end the Merida Initiative and shift aid to a job development program, Mexico’s SinEmbargo.Mx reported. The plan calls for economic development in southern Mexico and Central America to keep migrants from leaving their home regions for jobs further north.
“The Merida Initiative issue–we want it to be completely reoriented because it is not working,” AMLO said during his televised statement. “We don’t want cooperation for the use of force–we want it for development.”
The Merida Initiative is a $3 billion aid program run by the U.S. Department of State aimed at helping Mexico deal with organized crime and cartels. The program calls for equipment, helicopters, and a series of programs to improve Mexican law enforcement while respecting human rights.
The statements by AMLO come at a time when his administration is under fire for previous statements like calling for an end to the drug war to instead focus on forgiveness, Breitbart News reported. Despite the rhetoric, Mexico continues to see record-setting levels of violence as cartels fight for previously peaceful tourist areas like Cancun, Baja California, and Los Cabos.
In addition to the ongoing cartel violence, criminal organizations just south of the Texas border profit from the migration crisis by charging between $300 and $500 per Central American migrant that crosses the Rio Grande. This week, U.S. Border Patrol reported the apprehension of 2,400 migrants in one day in the Rio Grande Sector. The rising numbers come at a time when Mexican officials claim to be cracking down on unlawful migration.
Ildefonso Ortiz is an award-winning journalist with Breitbart Border / Cartel Chronicles. He co-founded the Cartel Chronicles project with Brandon Darby and senior Breitbart management. You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook. He can be contacted at Iortiz@breitbart.com.
Brandon Darby is the managing director and editor-in-chief of Breitbart Border / Cartel Chronicles. He co-founded the Cartel Chronicles project with Ildefonso Ortiz and senior Breitbart management. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.