InSight Crime Director Steven Dudley was invited to testify before US Congress on May 23, in order to provide an overview of US-Mexico security cooperation, with special emphasis on the Merida Initiative. Below is a selected extract of the remarks, including policy recommendations for US-Mexico relations when going forward.
In its annual report, Amnesty International criticized Mexico for human rights abuses committed during President Calderon's militarized response to organized crime, a war which left more than 60,000 people dead and some 150,000 displaced.
Migrants trying to illegally enter the United States through Mexico say that they face more danger from drug cartels than immigration enforcement, highlighting the scale to which criminal groups are able to prey on the constant flow of poor and desperate people moving through their territory.
Struggling to contain rapidly growing self-defense militias that threaten armed clashes with powerful criminal gangs, Mexico's federal government has brokered the hiring of an army special forces commander as public security czar in the central state of Michoacan.
Although the Mexican government's idea of creating a National Gendarmerie has been criticized for lack of clarity and failure to define objectives, one official has indicated that the president intends to go ahead with the proposal without passing the idea through Congress or allowing for public debate. Security analyst Alejandro Hope examines the continuing issues surrounding the proposed police body and the implications of a unilateral decree mandating its creation.
Vigilantes in Mexico launched an audacious assault on a Michoacan town and were apparently on the point of executing the local police when they were beaten back by a military counterattack.
The US Treasury Department has placed an alleged Zetas drug trafficker on its "Kingpin List," increasing the pressure on the financial side of the Mexican cartel's criminal operations.
Recent reports of fierce fighting between community police groups and a Mexican gang offer a window into the potential threat of vigilante groups to organized crime.
Mexico's government has pledged to focus renewed efforts on supporting the estimated 230,000 victims displaced by the country's violence last year, as international aid agencies await for the green light to begin assisting those "internal refugees" in need.