Blog dedicated to reporting on Mexican drug cartels
on the border line between the US and Mexico

Friday, October 8, 2021

Bicentennial Understanding Replaces Merida Initiative for Security Agreement Between US & Mexico

 "Socalj" for Borderland Beat

Arms, fentanyl, migrants, financial intelligence and the dismantling of criminal networks are part of the agreement between Mexico and the United States.

The government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador redirected its security policy to abandon the Mérida Initiative, which sought a frontal fight against drug cartels, but even with the replacement of that agreement through the Bicentennial Understanding, it must change its strategy to attack insecurity and violence with a more complex approach.

Marcelo Ebrard, Secretary of Foreign Relations, has argued that the Bicentennial Understanding contemplates more actions than just arresting drug lords, due to components in public health or financial networks. However, the specialist in United States-Mexico security relations, Raúl Benítez Manaus, commented in an interview that the agreement is an update of the Merida Initiative.

“The plan has nothing new, it is to reaffirm things that the two governments have already been saying and doing. What is new is the reaffirmation of the political will of the two parties. "This helps a lot to the economic stability of the country because the government is reaffirming its commitment to the United States because companies are always afraid that the president is making half-Bolivarian decisions," the sociologist and researcher at the National University commented in an interview. Autonomous of Mexico (UNAM).

Bicentennial Understanding

As two nations with an enduring relationship based on sovereignty, mutual respect, and the extraordinary bond of family and friendship, Mexico and the United States must and want to face security challenges together. Both countries have suffered the effects of substance addiction, firearm violence, illegal drugs, weapons, human trafficking, and smuggling, as well as organized crime in our communities. To face the complex threats of the 21st century, it is necessary to work in a coordinated manner, with a regional vision and a modern approach to public health and development as part of a comprehensive cooperation strategy between our countries. With full respect for our sovereignties.

Transnational organized crime has claimed too many lives in our countries. For this reason, both countries recognize that we have a responsibility to work together to achieve our shared goals of security and peace. We need to address violence, dismantle transnational criminal organizations, and focus on prevention, in order to create the conditions for a culture of peace, while working hand in hand to address the root causes of crime. We heed the lessons of past efforts and we adapt to new threats. Our vision of security cooperation must expand to protect all of our people, especially the most vulnerable. In addition, We will be emphatic in serving communities that need support to change the conditions that allow crime to take hold. With this framework of cooperation on security matters between Mexico and the United States, we are committed to granting maximum respect for human rights, without tolerance for corruption. We will maintain a holistic view of security and rely on new methods and tools to address this challenge.

Together we are committed to preventing crime and working with our youth to provide them with different options to join organized crime. We are committed to improving prisons to provide more humane and less discriminatory treatment. We are committed to working together to reduce the illegal trafficking of arms and ammunition to transnational criminal organizations. We are committed to addressing addictions based on science and with a public health approach. We are committed to creating better education, programs, and social alternatives for young people. We plan to share information to detect money laundering, inhibit its facilitators, and work to prevent corruption from continuing to poison our societies and harm our citizens.

Safety, Public Health, and Safe Communities between Mexico and the United States

Looking ahead to 2022, when we celebrate 200 years of the beginning of bilateral relations between Mexico and the United States, we propose a new vision of security and regional collaboration anchored in respect for the sovereignty of each country. This new framework establishes a comprehensive and long-term approach to guide bilateral actions going forward. Together, we can build a system of peace, justice, and respect for the rule of law.

Mexico and the United States commit to joining forces to:
  • Protect our people by investing in public health in relation to the impacts of drug use, supporting safe communities, and reducing homicides and high-impact crime.

  • Prevent cross-border crime by securing modes of travel and commerce, reducing arms trafficking, targeting illicit supply chains, and reducing illegal trafficking and human trafficking.

  • Dismantle criminal networks, persecuting people linked to illicit financing, and strengthening the security and justice sectors.

Concrete Actions

In support of the development of the goals of the Bicentennial Understanding on Security, Public Health, and Safe Communities between Mexico and the United States and the current institutional collaboration, Mexico and the United States commit to taking additional concrete actions to strengthen cooperation in security, which include the following:

To protect our people, both countries intend to sign a Memorandum of Understanding to reduce drug addiction and associated harms for the purpose of developing plans to prevent drug use, provide evidence-based treatment, and expand justice. alternative through education and better ability to provide early warning systems and track demand. The United States intends to expand efforts to identify, treat, and support individuals affected by illicit opioids by providing financial and technical assistance to the United States state and local governments through new grants from the Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Program, Stimulants and other Substances(Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulants, and other Substances Abuse Program, COSSAP). The United States also provides grants from the Administration of Mental Health Services and Substance Abuse (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration SAMHSA) to support treatment and prevention of the use of opioids for people at risk.

Both countries are committed to creating the Network for the Prevention of Homicide, which will provide a platform for the exchange of best practices in crime and violence prevention, work with youth at risk, and for safe and peaceful communities. In addition, the Network will consider the creation of a multidisciplinary team of a task force on homicides to attend to high-impact crimes linked to transnational criminal organizations, with an emphasis on the use of forensic laboratories, to facilitate and support the investigation of crimes and their prosecution.

To prevent cross-border crime, Mexico and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) intend to sign a Memorandum of Understanding to launch the UNODC Port Container Control Program and thereby strengthen control and the management of incoming shipments of chemical precursors.

Both countries affirm our commitment to work together, with respect for our sovereignties, to combat arms trafficking, bilaterally coordinating arms detection and seizure activities, considering new strategies, and strengthening our collective efforts. Likewise, we reaffirm the need to give continuity to the current efforts that have been implemented to reduce the trafficking of firearms that are sold in the United States and arrive in Mexico, as well as the actions implemented to identify, target, and investigate financing methods, transport, and communications used by smuggling networks in order to interrupt and dismantle their operations. We are committed to expanding training,

We affirm our commitment to expand binational cooperation against illegal trafficking and human trafficking by transnational criminal organizations. Mexico and the United States agree to convene the binational cybersecurity working group by 2022, with the objective of promoting international security and stability in cyberspace for the exchange of information, exploring options for the protection of critical infrastructure, attention/prevention of cybercrime, as well as training and exchange of experiences and good practices in the matter, and increasing collaboration with the private sector.

To prosecute criminal networks, Mexico and the United States agree to increase bilateral and parallel actions to weaken illicit actors and their financial networks, such as the appointment made on October 6 of members of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG ) that operate through the port of Manzanillo and its surroundings. The CJNG is responsible for trafficking a significant proportion of fentanyl and other deadly drugs that enter the United States. This action was the result of collaboration between the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of Mexico, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the Treasury Department, and the Anti-Drug Administration (DEA).

We are committed to targeting chemical precursor importers and their financial networks, with particular attention to importing companies suspected of diverting chemical precursors for the production of synthetic drugs, such as fentanyl and methamphetamine; transnational criminal organizations; as well as dismantling clandestine laboratories. Both parties agree to integrate a binational working group on the regulation of chemical precursors to standardize protocols and regulation of dual-use substances to prevent their use in the production of synthetic drugs.

Mexico and the United States affirm our commitment to human rights and to the advancement of equity, civil rights, racial justice, and equal opportunities in each of our nations. In this sense, both countries will increase their forensic cooperation efforts to help resolve the thousands of cases of disappearances in Mexico, for the benefit of the families of the victims and against impunity. Both governments will strengthen forensic technical cooperation in order to be able to resolve cases with greater agility. Following up on the agreements reached after the visit of Vice President Kamala Harris, the technical capacities of the National Search Commission of Mexico will be reinforced in a particular way.



  1. Dude....if they reeeeeaally wanted to the US could stop the flow if drugs in all they would have to do is take that big ass military and station it along the border to where there's no cracks in between that and with all the technology they have it would make quick work of anything trying to come thru

    1. Yes you right, without a wall. Some Administration are committed to stopping ✋ drugs and illegals, we have our Military all over the world, but not on the border. Some Administration are for open borders. Big Corporations love open borders for low wages. Some politicians in U.S profit from drugs.

    2. Drugs are in abundance here in my state. Where the price of a kilo of cocaine was atb $38,000. Now because of the abundance its at $29000 to $26000. Depending on who one knows.
      We are experiencing a huge increase which leads to lack of border enforcement.


    3. Most drugs are smuggled in on commercial vessels/vehicles under the radar of BP so wouldn’t make much difference. Bulk marijuana is often smuggled over open land due to the size/smell. Increased military at borders wouldn’t stop drugs. It’d stop migrants/human smuggling.

    4. I'm beginning to think republican states do deter drug traffickers from entering.
      California is by far the drug traffickers choice these days.
      This from word of mouth.

    5. 4:19 what a dumb azz theory, involving lame you even brought that up.

  2. Let's see if the Mexican government of Obrador meets, up with the understanding of the rules.

  3. Carlos and the Border Patrol is busy changing diapers of migrants.


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