USAID programs in Mexico support the Merida Initiative, a strategy for regional security cooperation between Mexico and the United States that contributes to our bi-national efforts to combat organized crime. Under the Merida Initiative, USAID programs support strengthened rule of law, the protection of human rights, and community-based initiatives to mitigate the impact of crime and violence.
In 2008, Mexico passed a constitutional reform that mandated a change in the criminal justice system from a written inquisitorial system to an oral accusatorial system by 2016. Since 92 percent of crimes in Mexico happen within state jurisdiction, we focus on supporting criminal justice reform at the state level with additional activities at the federal level. To date, 18 of 32 states (56 percent) have passed revised criminal procedure codes. USAID programs form part of a coordinated U.S. government effort to help strengthen the rule of law in Mexico under the Merida Initiative.
According to the watchdog group Reporters without Borders, Mexico is the world’s most dangerous country to practice journalism. Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission has documented 61 assassinations of journalists and 11 disappearances since 2000. Many journalists face a difficult choice between self-censorship or physical harm. USAID’s human rights cooperation seeks to prevent abuses such as torture and protect citizens’ rights. We also engage with the public sector and civil society to prevent human rights violations, promote a culture of respect and value for human rights, and adequately respond to violations when they occur. We support the efforts of the Government of Mexico and Mexican civil society organizations to strengthen human rights by focusing on prevention, protection, and advocacy.
Crime and violence related to narco-trafficking affects Mexico’s security and economic development with a particularly significant effect on young people. Communities along the U.S.-Mexico border are especially vulnerable. USAID supports Mexico in developing and testing models to mitigate the community-level impact of crime and violence. Those models which are most successful may be replicated and expanded to other parts of the country by the Government of Mexico, the private sector, and other organizations.
Last updated: November 20, 2014