Today, Representative Judy Chu (D- CA) attended the Committee on Government Oversight and Reform's subcommittee hearing on international drug cartels to strongly push for a boost in American efforts to stop money laundering and drug related violence in Mexico. The unprecedented violence there claimed nearly 7,000 lives in 2009 alone.
"Unfortunately, I know all too well how the violence of the Mexican drug cartels can affect us even here in the US," Rep. Chu said. "Last December, Bobby Salcedo became an innocent victim of the drug cartels when he was abducted and murdered while visiting with family members in Mexico. The cartel violence is no longer just a Mexico problem, but it now affects our families and friends. That is why we must do everything in our power to assist the Mexican authorities in their struggle against these ruthless drug gangs."
The National Security and Foreign Affairs subcommittee heard from witnesses describing the current status of the Mérida Initiative, a $1.4 billion multi-year aid cooperative program for Mexico authorized through 2010. The Mérida agreement pledged specialized American equipment to fight the cartels alongside aid to support Mexican police forces and judicial reform. While funding continues for counternarcotics, the United States and Mexico have yet to announce a new long term strategy to follow the Mérida Initiative. At the same time, the violence in Mexico continues to rise.
"The Mérida Initiative was an important first step toward a stronger and more cooperative relationship between the United States and Mexico to combat the drug cartels, but the official agreement and its funding end this year." Rep. Chu said. "Robust funding is crucial to continuing the fight against these well armed and violent drug cartels."