AP NEWS

Mexico wants to re-invent US Merida aid program

May 7, 2019
FILE - In this April 29, 2019 file photo, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador attends a ceremony at the Military Airbase Number 1 in Santa Lucia, on the outskirts of Mexico City. Obrador said Tuesday, May 7, 2019 that he doesn’t want aid under the United States’ so-called Merida Initiative _ at least in its present form. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte, File)

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador says he doesn’t want aid under the United States’ so-called Merida Initiative — at least in its present form.

The aid program launched in 2008 so far distributed $1.6 billion to Mexico, mainly for anti-drug and law-enforcement efforts and border security programs.

López Obrador said Tuesday that Mexicans “don’t want aid for the use of force, we want aid for development.”

The president said his administration is negotiating with U.S. officials to reorient the aid toward developing job opportunities in southern Mexico and Central America so people don’t have to emigrate.

He said Merida aid wouldn’t be needed to train members of his new anti-crime force, the National Guard, because the Mexican military has enough resources to handle that job.