Menendez Applauds Passage Of Anti-Drug Funds To Mexico And Central America, Also Looks Ahead To Social Development

Menendez Applauds Passage Of Anti-Drug Funds To Mexico And Central America, Also Looks Ahead To Social Development

Merida Initiative passed as part of supplemental appropriations bill

Washington - This afternoon, the U.S. Senate passed the Merida Initiative as part of a supplemental appropriations bill. The initiative commits $450 million for programs in Mexico and Central America to promote intelligence-sharing, dramatically increase funding for law enforcement and, to a lesser extent, strengthen the institutions of justice and civil society.

U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), is a member of the Foreign Relations Committee who is the author of the Social Investment and Economic Development Act for the Americas (http://menendez.senate.gov/newsroom/record.cfm?id=284356), and who last year joined with Majority Leader Reid to visit Mexico and other Latin American nations. He released the following statement:

"The beginning of this initiative marks an important step in our region's efforts against drug trafficking and crime. Law enforcement is certainly an important component in combating the regional problems that eventually affect us here in the United States. That being said, this type of initiative should also be supported by Mexican and Central American government efforts to promote social development. There must be a focus on attacking the root causes of drug trafficking and crime - namely, poverty, the rule of law, and well-functioning judicial systems.

"No one wants the Merida Initiative to succeed more than me and many of my colleagues - cracking down on drug trafficking and violence and building closer relations with Mexico and Central America in the process are as important to Americans as they are to our southern neighbors. But to succeed, we must work together in a bipartisan fashion to craft both short and long-term agreements that meet our mutual security needs while building the institutions of justice."

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