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Latino Daily News

Friday June 24, 2011

U.S. to Increase Foreign Aid to Help Fight Drug War in Central America

U.S. to Increase Foreign Aid to Help Fight Drug War in Central America

Photo: Secretary Clinton announces U.S. will increase foreign aid to fight drug war in Central America

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Wednesday, the Obama administration pledged to send additional aid to Central America’s forces working against its drug war.

At the Central American Security Conference in Guatemala, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated that the U.S. would increase its aid by 10 percent, bringing it to nearly $300 million.

At the conference Secretary Clinton stated:

The turnout today is an expression of shared responsibility and a testament to the shared sense of crisis and an acute and growing concern over the violence and criminality affecting our friends and neighbors in Central America. Everyone knows the statistics, the murder rates surpassing civil war levels, the citizens who rank insecurity as their top concern, the violence that burdens economic development and foreign direct investment, the threats to democracy, the impacts on society’s most vulnerable populations, especially women and children.

But we don’t need to go through the statistics, because many of you around this table are living these brutal facts every single day. And by coming here for this important conference, we’re acknowledging a very basic truth, that no single country can overcome these facts on its own. It will take concerted action from all of us. That is why when President Obama visited Central America in March, he pledged that the United States would do our part through a new partnership that puts the focus where it should be, on the security of citizens.

We know from the work that the United States has supported in Colombia and now in Mexico that good leadership, proactive investments, and committed partnerships can turn the tide. When President Obama visited San Salvador, he said we would start by investing more than $200 million in Central American-led efforts to address deteriorating citizen security. In fact, the U.S. funding for the Central American Citizen Security Partnership will go even further than that. You have identified your priorities, you have set your strategy, and we will respond with almost $300 million this year, backed up by an action plan that is focused on high-impact investments to help you build new capabilities and create the reforms you need from within.

Our investments will support special vetted police units, initiatives like the SICA Regional Crime Observatory to bring technology, data, and intelligence together, support to train judges and prosecutors, a fund to encourage fiscal reform, and a new challenge grants program, starting with $20 million this year to support initiatives to bolster the rule of law. And as always, we will support efforts to protect and empower women and girls who are too often the targets of so much of the violence.