Ministers Launch Central American Security Strategy

By Dialogo
June 23, 2011



Central American defense, interior, finance, and foreign ministers met in
Guatemala on 21 June to launch a security strategy meeting the following day where
the heads of government of the isthmus and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
would be present.

Clinton, all the Central American heads of government, and those of Colombia,
Juan Manuel Santos, Mexico, Felipe Calderón, and the Dominican Republic, Leonel
Fernández, among others, were in attendance at the event.

The attendees approved the regional security strategy, and hoped that
cooperating countries and organizations would commit funds to finance the fight
against organized crime in a region suffering high levels of insecurity and
violence.

“Estimates are that the cost of the strategy will be more than six billion
dollars,” Guatemalan Finance Minister Rolando del Cid said.

He explained that the plan would be oriented toward “each country’s
possibilities for tackling insecurity,” but international cooperation will be needed
in order to put an end to insecurity.

In the last three years, Central America has received 490 million dollars in
international security and crime-fighting cooperation, according to a study by the
Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Washington Office on Latin America
(WOLA).

Of this total, 406 million dollars (83%) has been in the form of grants, and
the remainder in loans, according to the report, released in Washington on the eve
of the Guatemala meeting.

The 490 million represents the resources already delivered out of a total of
1.335 billion promised to the region by the international community, according to
the study.

Of the money spent so far, around 320 million dollars went to programs to
strengthen institutions, 96 million to prevention, 64 million to the fight against
organized crime, and 7 million to rehabilitation and reinsertion into
society.

International organizations estimate that insecurity costs the region around
6.5 billion a year, 8% of its gross domestic product.

The Central American security strategy included twenty-two projects in four
thematic areas: crime fighting, prevention, prison security, and strengthening
institutions, Guatemalan Finance Minister Rolando del Cid specified.



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