WOLA Executive Director Joy Olson testifies on the Merida Initiative before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs.
As violence on the Mexican border with the U.S. reaches record-breaking levels, the 111th Congress today held the first of a series of hearings aimed at evaluating U.S. foreign assistance through the Merida Initiative and analyzing the security challenges on the U.S.-Mexico border. Joy Olson, Executive Director of the Washington Office on Latin America, testified on the Merida Initiative before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs.
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Olson outlined three ways in which the U.S. can most effectively address drug trafficking and violence, which included launching a more ambitious effort to reduce demand for drugs here at home by improving access to drug treatment; combating the flow of arms and illicit drug profits from the U.S. into Mexico; and supporting institutional reforms in Mexico’s police and judicial systems. “It is Mexico’s reform of police and judicial institutions that will make a long-term difference and that is where the limited U.S. dollars should be spent,” Olson stated.
“Any next stage for the Merida Initiative should contain a truly bi-national plan of action, with the U.S. outlining what it will do on our side of the border to reduce violence and drug trafficking.”
Maureen Meyer, Associate for Mexico and Central America, [email protected]
Kristina DeMain, Program Assistant, [email protected]