Central America to Manage International Funds for Fight against Crime

By Dialogo
July 03, 2012

The Central American presidents agreed on June 29 to double their efforts to obtain financial aid and fight organized crime, at a biannual summit at which they also signed an unprecedented commercial and political partnership agreement with the European Union.

“What we (the presidents) agreed is to be more expeditious, more aggressive in acquiring funds in order to succeed in financing the regional strategy” to fight crime, said Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes, who acted as an informal spokesperson for the heads of state or government of the eight countries.

The participants in the Central American Integration System (SICA) summit agreed “concretely to construct a regional strategy for the (management of) financing of the plan to fight crime.”

Funes recalled that the United States, Canada, and Australia, among others, have offered Central America up to 2.5 billion dollars to finance 22 programs targeting four security issues.

The United States, represented by the top American diplomat for Latin America, Roberta Jacobson, attended this SICA summit for the first time as an observer.

Jacobson was there to reiterate U.S. support through the Central America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI), for which Washington has committed 361 million dollars.

The summit was organized under the slogan “Everyone’s Fight: The New Security Approach in Central America.”

Security, especially in relation to drug trafficking, is Central America’s primary challenge. Estimates are that 90 percent of the cocaine consumed in the United States passes through the region.

At the summit, Honduran President Porfirio Lobo transferred the group’s rotating presidency to his Nicaraguan counterpart Daniel Ortega. Guatemalan President Otto Pérez, Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes, Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla, and Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli also attended.

Belize was represented by Energy Minister Audrey Joygralt, and the Dominican Republic by Foreign Minister Clara Quiñónez.