May 26

Past Event

The Merida Initiative and Central America

Event Materials


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In October 2007, the U.S. government announced the Merida Initiative, a 3-year program that provides funding for a wide-range of drug interdiction, prevention and intervention activities throughout Mexico, Central America and select Caribbean countries. While the Mexico side of the Merida Initiative has received widespread attention from the press, policy-makers and officials throughout the region, relatively little focus has been given to the Central American experience, which differs in its orientation and programmatic allocations.

On May 26, the Latin America Initiative at Brookings and the Washington Office for Latin America hosted a discussion on the Central American component of the Merida Initiative. Panelists examined the security challenges in Central America and the adequacy of the Merida Initiative to provide effective responses within the context of existing and future national and regional initiatives. Particular attention was placed on the suitability of the Initiative to deal effectively with the issue of Central American youth gangs, or maras.

Brookings Senior Fellow Kevin Casas-Zamora provided introductory remarks and moderated the discussion.

Event Agenda

  • Introduction and Moderator

  • Featured Speakers

    • Geoff Thale

      Program Director, Washington Office on Latin America

    • H.E. Roberto Flores Bermudez

      Ambassador of Honduras to the United States

    • Jose Miguel Cruz

      Latin America Public Opinion Project, Vanderbilt University

    • Mario Pozas

      Expert on Juridical Issues and Migration, Central American Integration Sysyem (SICA)

    • Roberta Jacobson

      Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, U.S. Department of State


May 26, 2009

10:00 AM - 12:00 PM EDT

The Brookings Institution

Falk Auditorium

1775 Massachusetts Ave., NW


For More Information

Brookings Office of Communications

(202) 797-6105