Central American Governments Agree on Regional Security Plan

By Dialogo
November 15, 2011

The Governments of Central America agreed on a regional security strategy, directed chiefly toward combating violent juvenile gangs (maras) and preventing the region from turning into a new bastion of drug trafficking, official sources announced.

The strategy, which contains 22 specific projects, was analyzed and ratified by the region’s deputy ministers of security and foreign relations during a closed-door meeting.

Central America, considered one of the world’s most violent regions and one of those most susceptible to penetration by drug traffickers, will present these initiatives to a Group of Friendly Countries, which has already committed around $2 billion dollars in donations and credits.

The proposals were submitted to representatives of that group, opening a period of negotiations, the secretary general of the Central American Integration System (SICA), Juan Daniel Alemán, explained in a press release.

Of the 22 programs agreed on, the Governments have chosen 8 for priority execution in 2012, according to a diplomatic source.

These include plans for the social prevention of violence at the level of local Governments, for the modernization of the region’s prison systems, and for the professionalization of regional police forces.

The improvement of national criminal investigation systems, border security, and youth prevention programs, among others, will also be given priority.

The decision to draw up a regional security plan was adopted at a summit of the presidents of Central America, Mexico, and Colombia with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Guatemala in June.

El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras are the countries most affected by violence and corruption in Central America, although insecurity is perceived as one of the chief problems in all the countries in the area.