Mexico will tell the U.S. to keep its money if the U.S. Congress insists on linking a $1.4 billion anti-drug aid package to a series of human rights and legal conditions along with whittling down its dollar value, Mexican politicians and a top law enforcement official said yesterday, the Dallas Morning News reports. Both houses of Congress have passed the package but have not agreed on a final version. The conditions – which touch on human rights, judicial reforms and other issues – amount to “certification,” a past practice in which the U.S. unilaterally decided whether nations were doing enough to fight drug production and trafficking, said José Luís Santiago Vasconcelos, assistant attorney general for international affairs.
Mexico considered certification a violation of its sovereignty. “Why don’t we tell the Americans to use those [funds] for their own interdiction forces or interception forces … and stop the flow of weapons,” Santiago Vasconcelos said in a radio interview. “Rather than giving them to Mexico, they can be used by the Americans to reinforce their Customs service, their Border Patrol, and stop the arms trafficking to our country.” The change in the Mexican government’s tone – after heralding the package as an unprecedented opportunity for the two nations to work together on a critical issue – could mark the end of the so-called Merida Initiative, analysts said.