Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., blocked the release of a favorable State Department report on Mexico’s human rights record, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.
Leahy’s action delays the release of $100 million in U.S. aid meant to help Mexico combat drug traffickers. The Merida Initiative, a $1.4 billion, three-year package, requires Congress to withhold some of the funding unless the State Department reports that Mexico is not violating human rights while prosecuting the drug war, the Post reported.
“Those requirements have not been met, so it is premature to send the report to Congress,” Leahy said in a statement released to the newspaper. “We had good faith discussions with Mexican and U.S. officials in reaching these requirements in the law, and I hope we can continue in that spirit.”
The Post reported that the State Department had intended to send its report praising Mexico’s progress on human rights to Congress this week. But aides to Leahy, chairman of the Senate Appropriations foreign operations subcommittee, cited reports of torture and forced disappearances in rejecting the report.
President Barack Obama is traveling to Guadalajara, Mexico, this weekend for a summit with Mexican President Felipe Calderon and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.