WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas

AP Photo/Eric Gay

23 Feb 2017 | WOLA Statement

WOLA Statement: Secretary Tillerson’s Visit to Mexico

Washington, DC—Today U.S. Secretaries Tillerson and Kelly meet with Mexican President Peña Nieto and other leaders to discuss U.S.-Mexico relations. WOLA’s Senior Associate for Mexico, Maureen Meyer, was on CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow this morning to discuss the status of this relationship. Watch the video here:

WOLA would also like to make available to you the following statement by Maureen Meyer on Secretary Tillerson’s visit to Mexico:

“The visit of Secretary of State Tillerson to Mexico comes at a time when relations have been severely strained by the Trump Administration’s rhetoric and actions. In the upcoming meetings with his Mexican counterparts, Secretary Tillerson has an opportunity to set relations on a more sound footing based on mutual respect.

It is time to stop demonizing Mexico. Cooperation, rather than saber rattling about ‘bad hombres,’ is essential to both countries. Secretary Tillerson should affirm the importance of the U.S.-Mexico relationship and the progress that has been made to strengthen and expand this partnership.

U.S. support for Mexico through the Merida Initiative has gone through a critical shift in recent years. U.S. funds have moved from a primary focus of providing equipment and hardware, mostly to the Mexican military, to providing support for police professionalization, combating corruption, and strengthening the rule of law and human rights in the country. Improving security in Mexico requires a judicial system that effectively investigates and prosecutes crimes. It also requires corrupt-free civilian police forces that citizens can trust.

The Mexican military has been in the streets for years now with no real impact in reducing violence. Only a functioning police and judiciary can investigate criminal networks, root out corruption, and combat impunity.

Secretary Tillerson should work to build on the support the U.S. has provided to Mexico to strengthen civilian criminal justice institutions. Reverting to misguided foreign assistance policies based on the belief that potential security threats in Mexico can be solved by military-led efforts, interdiction of drugs, and massive arrests would result in serious setbacks for human rights, the rule of law, and public security.”