By Joshua Partlow for The Washington Post. In a setback for its multibillion-dollar effort to help Mexico fight its drug war, the U.S. State Department has decided that Mexico failed to reach some human rights goals, triggering a cutoff of millions of dollars in aid.
The move, which has not been reported previously, affects a small portion of the annual anti-drug funds given to Mexico. But it is a clear sign of U.S. frustration. It comes as Mexico has been roiled by several cases of alleged abuses by security forces, including the disappearance of 43 students in the southern state of Guerrero last year.
Through the Merida Initiative, a major U.S. program to support Mexico’s battle against its drug cartels, Congress has appropriated $2.3 billion since 2008 for equipment such as helicopters and border sensors as well as training programs for thousands of Mexican officials.
Fifteen percent of the money provided for the Mexican military and police is subject to provisions that the country is making progress on protecting human rights, including enforcing rules against torture and prosecuting people for forced disappearances.