The current issue of The Economist cites last week’s congressional testimony by WOLA Program Director Geoff Thale on the U.S. security cooperation package for Mexico and Central America, known as the Mérida Initiative.
Thale told a subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee on May 8 that the Mérida Initiative’s emphasis on creating specialized police units was the wrong approach to fighting the violence plaguing Central America and Mexico. Such units can be easily corrupted or undermined, and they can draw resources away from the much wider reform of all police forces that would be more effective in dealing with drug-related crime and combating corruption.
To read The Economist’s article “Can the army out-gun the drug lords?” click here .
To read Thale’s full testimony, click here .
WOLA’s research on police issues in Mexico has long focused on the need for wide-ranging reform, with the introduction of better internal and external controls to combat corruption and a new command structure. To read a 2007 report on violence and the need for police reform in Mexico, “Reforming the Ranks,” click here .
WOLA will release a new report on youth gang violence in Central America next month.
WOLA Communications Director
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