Regional
10:27 am
Wed July 21, 2010

Report: Drug War Aid Needs Better Oversight

New Mexico – President Barack Obama's administration pledges better accounting of its billion-dollar program to help Mexico and Central America fight the drug war.

That's in the wake of a congressional report that describes such slow implementation that the Mexican government has had to buy some equipment on its own while waiting for funds. The Government Accountability Office, which performs investigations for the U.S. Congress, reports that just 9 percent of the $1.6 billion promised under the Merida Initiative from 2008 to 2010 has been spent.

The report said the State Department has no effective way to measure whether the programs are making a difference in the drug war. That's three years after then-President George W. Bush first launched the initiative during a summit with Mexican President Felipe Calderon in the Yucatan Peninsula city of Merida.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.