Washington Post – Mexico wants US aid to focus more on social programs in bid to quell drug violence

By Associated Press, Published: February 14

MEXICO CITY — A top security official says Mexico will ask the U.S. to focus anti-drug aid more on social programs and prevention.

Mexican Assistant Interior Secretary Roberto Campa says only about 2 percent of the current $1.9 billion in American aid under the Merida Initiative is earmarked for social programs. Most goes for intelligence, transport and the training for Mexican law enforcement agencies.

Campa said Thursday the previous administration’s social programs were poorly organized and late.

President Enrique Pena Nieto has pledged to focus less on armed conflict and more on addressing the underlying social issues that fuel the drug violence that has cost more than 70,000 lives since 2006.

That plan includes a $9.2 billion program to provide greater employment and educational opportunities for youths who otherwise might join cartels.

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