Tuesday, March 24, 2009

White House presents Mexico anti-drug strategy

The Obama administration revealed today a comprehensive plan designed to stem drug-related violence in Mexico.

The plan presented at a press conference by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Deputy Attorney General David Ogden distinguishes itself in the increased deployment of officers to the U.S.-Mexico border and a stronger effort to combat arms smuggling across the border. According to Napolitano, the $700 million strategy under the Merida Initiative would aim to help the Mexican government break up drug gangs and subsequently decrease their access to weapons from the U.S.

The plan was cited by one report as “extending or expanding” plans created under Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush. Yet Napolitano differed from the Bush administration by emphasizing that a lengthy border wall "is not the best way" to prevent drugs from being smuggled into the U.S.

The plan includes many additional details such as:
  • committing the White House and Congress to the Merida Initiative;
  • increasing intelligence efforts under the FBI by creating a Southwest Intelligence Group and working with Central American countries to combat gang violence;
  • using the Treasury Department to investigate money laundering by drug gangs;
  • pledging more funds for narcotics treatment including “integrating substance abuse services into national healthcare systems”.
Image- Reuters
Online Sources- MSNBC, BBC News, ABC News, El Universal, boston.com

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