$410 million was tucked away in the bill to provide 2009 funding for the military and law enforcement aid package known as the Merida Initiative or Plan Mexico. The House version constitutes a 25% decrease from former president George W. Bush’s original proposal of $550 million for 2009.
Under the House version, Mexico would receive $300 million in Plan Mexico funds, which is $100 million less than last year. Central America would receive $105 million, which is a significant increase over the $60 million it received last year. Haiti and the Dominican Republic’s funding remains the same at $2.5 million each….
However, the FY 2009 bill that funds Plan Mexico contains one potentially significant difference from the 2008 bill: whereas the 2008 bill says that 15% of funds will be withheld “until the Secretary of State reports in writing to the Committees on Appropriations that the Government of Mexico is” complying with the human rights conditions, the 2009 bill says that 15% of the funds will be withheld “until the Secretary of State reports in writing to the Committees on Appropriations that the Government of Mexico is continuing to” comply with the human rights conditions. The addition of the two words “continuing to” seems to give the Mexican government a pass on the 2008 conditions, which, as previously stated, the Secretary of State has not determined it has fulfilled. The Mexican government cannot possibly “continue to” comply with human rights conditions it never complied with in the first place.