U.S.-Mexico Officials To Work On Anti-Crime Strategy

May 17, 2017
Courtesy: Mexican Secretary of Foreign Affairs
Mexico's Foreign Affairs Secretary Luis Videgaray (left) and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met earlier this year. They will meet again on Thursday to discuss anti-crime strategies.

MEXICO CITY — High-ranking officials from Mexico and the U.S., including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Mexican Foreign Affairs Minister Luis Videgaray, will meet this Thursday in Washington. They are planning to discuss a key issue for both countries: security.

Since the beginning of the administration of Donald Trump, Mexico and the United States have held plenty of meetings behind closed doors, most of them to discuss trade and immigration. But this time, both governments plan to get together and work on a strategy to fight organized crime.

Mónica Serrano is a security researcher at El Colegio de México, a public university in Mexico City. She said the U.S. needs Mexico as partner in security issues, as security cooperation is an area that the U.S. can’t afford by itself. This can become a strength for Mexico on the negotiations.

“Mexican authorities can present the deterioration in Mexico’s security situation as a result of some of the strategies that the U.S. has been advocating, such as the decapitation of drug organizations,” Serrano said.

According to the expert, the meeting will help improve the unstable bilateral relationship, even on economic issues.The meeting will be important to keep the fight for a better deal on the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA.

“The meeting is important because the beginning of the Trump administration brought a lot of instability and uncertainty in the U.S.-Mexico relations on many fronts,” Serrano said. “It is not in the interest of Mexico to delink security negotiations from trade negotiations.”

Serrano also considered that the U.S. authorities have realized that they need to re-establish communication with its Mexican counterparts, particularly on an issue they can’t afford.

“The U.S. has been hypersensitive in terms of its vulnerability and has probably exaggerated the perception of threats, putting an onerous burden on its neighbors, both Mexico and Canada," said the researcher.

According to Serrano, the meeting could also bring a different dialogue. Both parts can assume their responsibilities, as the United States has recognized to be the main weapon provider and drug market for the cartels.

“Drug trafficking in Mexico has become a mayor magnet for arms demand and consumption to the extent that arms consumption in the US has increased,” Serrano said. “There is at least an acknowledgement in Mexico’s position to try to get the US to accept part of its responsibility as a shared common problem.”