Crimes and drug trafficking multiply in Mexico despite the $3 billion from the U.S. to combat them

A GAO report revealed that Mexican authorities’ lack of cooperation has made it impossible to verify whether the "investments in the last 16 years have been effective."

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) published a report revealing that the United States’ $3 billion investment in Mexico since 2008 to reduce organized crime, drug trafficking and violence has not achieved its objectives. In fact, the agency claims that "despite U.S. assistance, Mexico's security situation has worsened significantly, with the country's murder rate more than tripling." Regarding effectiveness of this investment, the researchers claim that "the U.S. government cannot demonstrate that it is achieving its goals in Mexico and that its investments have been spent effectively."

From 8 to 28 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants in Mexico

The report, which criticizes the lack of collaboration on the part of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s government, claims that, despite the money received, homicides have multiplied, encouraged and reinforced by the " extremely low" rates of prosecution:

Despite ongoing security assistance, the security situation in Mexico has significantly worsened over the last 15 years. From 2007 to 2021, the homicide rate in Mexico more than tripled to one of the highest national homicide rates in the world, from eight homicides per 100,000 people to 28 per 100,000 people, according to the United Nations. Meanwhile, Mexico has extremely low rates of prosecution for all crimes, according to the 2022 State Department Human Rights Report on Mexico.

High levels of impunity and corruption

The analysis found another fundamental factor to explain this failure of the enormous disbursement of public funds: corruption. "High levels of impunity and corruption in Mexico impede the rule of law and limit potential partnerships for State/INL and USAID," the document claims. This is supported by the U.S.'s 2022 human rights report, which denounces that "some Mexican government officials were complicit in international organized criminal groups, but these officials were rarely prosecuted or convicted."

These "high levels of insecurity in some Mexican states limit U.S. agencies’ ability to implement programs." This is on top of several states’ willingness to collaborate and receive aid from the U.S. government. "Some states have been unable or unwilling to receive U.S. assistance, according to state officials/INL. In addition, the reluctance to collaborate among Mexican government partners could continue to limit programs in those places."

In addition, state officials acknowledged that they have had difficulty measuring the effectiveness of U.S. assistance in Mexico, particularly due to difficulties in negotiating shared performance indicators with Mexico. "In particular, State/INL has not clearly identified what projects will contribute toward the goals of the Framework or what performance indicators will be used to measure progress, and they have not developed monitoring and evaluation plans to assess progress. Regardless of negotiations with Mexico, State/INL is responsible for assessing the progress of the Framework. Without addressing the key elements to assess progress, the U.S. government cannot demonstrate that it is achieving its goals in Mexico, or that its investments over the last 16 years have been effective."