"Recognizing the threat posed by mounting criminal violence, at the Mérida Summit held in March 2007, Presidents George W. Bush and Felipe Calderón agreed on the need to expand bilateral and regional cooperation to combat crime in the region. The result was the development of the Mérida Initiative, a multiyear security assistance package for Mexico and Central America. Under the initiative, Mexico was set to receive $1.4 billion, but a specific dollar target was not set for Central America. Subsequently, Congress added funding for Haiti and the Dominican Republic to address concerns about increased drug trafficking in the Caribbean (see fig. 1). According to State, as part of the Mérida Initiative discussions, the United States agreed to do its part to reduce domestic demand for drugs and to interdict illicit arms trafficking and repatriation of drug proceeds. The initiative also complements broader efforts by the governments of Mexico and Central America, to engage on every front in the battle against organized crime.
"Characteristics of the Mérida Initiative
"The four primary goals of the Mérida Initiative are to (1) break the power and impunity of criminal organizations; (2) strengthen border, air, and maritime controls; (3) improve the capacity of justice systems in the region; and (4) curtail gang activity and diminish the demand for drugs in the region."
Government Accountability Office, "Status of Funds for the Mérida Initiative" (Washington, DC: US Government Accountability Office, December 3, 2009), GAO-10-253R, pp. 4-5.