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Mexico-United States Counternarcotics Policy, 1969-2013

With a nearly 2000-mile shared border, the economic, security, and social concerns of Mexico and the United States are deeply intertwined. This National Security Archive collection focuses on one aspect of that complex and multifaceted bilateral relationship: counternarcotics policy. Comprising 1,877 documents, these records trace the impact of U.S. drug policy on Mexico-U.S. relations from the Nixon administration through the first term of the Obama presidency. The collection begins with Operation Intercept, President Nixon’s unilateral attempt to stem drug traffic by nearly closing the Mexico-U.S. border, and follows the often contentious relations between the hemisphere’s largest consumer of illegal drugs and a principal producer and transit point for those substances. It chronicles the impact of U.S. drug policy on Mexico-U.S. relations; the infusion of U.S. counternarcotics aid in the form of equipment, training, and joint eradication programs; the transformation of drug control from a law enforcement issue to a national security concern; the increased role of the Mexican military in drug control; the rise of Mexican cartels, drug violence, and official corruption; and efforts, through the Merida Initiative, to support judicial reform, institution-building, and institutionalization of rule-of-law. The set includes detailed reporting on crop eradication campaigns such as Operation Trizo, Operation SEAM, and Operation Condor; Federal Bureau of Investigation reports on the 1985 killing of agent Enrique Camarena; and records on the U.S. extraordinary rendition of Humberto Alvarez Machaín. The documents also examine the effects of the North American Free Trade Agreement on the drug trade, the escalation of drug-related violence in Mexico and on the U.S. border, and implementation of the Merida Initiative.

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