Next Friday, Oct. 8, the High-Level Security Dialogue between the U.S. and Mexico will take place in Mexico City. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Attorney General Merrick Garland will represent America. It’s a weighty delegation.
At a banquet on Sept. 29 following another event, Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said, “The main agenda is a memorandum of understanding that we have been working on with the U.S., about which priorities we can agree on when it comes to the approach to security.” He also warned, “The basis of the Mérida Initiative, its main objectives and context are now superseded by this new Mexico-U.S. meeting.” He said that the foundation for the meeting is “mutual respect.”
He also made it clear that immigration will not be discussed as part of this meeting, which is good, because as he said, there is nothing worse than mixing subjects n such a complicated relationship. The Americans are coming to the meeting during a complicated political time for President Joe Biden. Congress is in the midst of a budget battle which follows 2020, a year that saw a record number of homicides. This is a time when, despite legal and media scandals surrounding synthetic drug use, consumption of these and other drugs remains on the rise.
Mexico is not having its finest moment either, in terms of security. The issues include the number of homicides, territorial expansion of organized crime in several areas of the country, incidents in the Pacific zone during and after the election, and what may happen if certain rumors are true.*
Although it is true that immigration is the most important subject for the United States, security is the most difficult issue, and has caused most of the friction between the two countries for many years. The Mexican government has not forgotten about the arrest of Salvador Cienfuegos, and Americans’ distrust of the government’s strategy is very clear.
The next few years do not look good for security in either country. The question, beyond dealing with concrete strategies, is whether confidence can be restored in this environment that would allow the countries to collaborate constructively in a way that produces results, something that simply has not happened for the past three years.
*Translator’s Note: It is unclear what rumors the author is making reference to.