Category: World News

Washington, DC - To demonstrate the Administration’s commitment to working with Central American countries to address the root causes of the dangerous migration of unaccompanied children and families, the Vice President, Secretary of Commerce and other senior Administration officials participated in the Inter-American Development Bank-chaired conference on today entitled “Investing in Central America: Unlocking Opportunities for Development.”

This followed President Obama’s July 25 meeting with the leaders of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras and the Vice President’s June 20 visit to Guatemala to meet with regional leaders, as we worked in partnership to address increased migration by Central American citizens, including thousands of unaccompanied children, to the United States. The President and Vice President expressed the commitment of the United States to work with the three countries to help them address the underlying factors contributing to increased migration and encouraged them to work together to develop a regional solution to their challenges.

The United States seeks to contribute to the evolution of an economically-integrated Central America that provides greater economic opportunities to its people, with strong democratic institutions, with more accountable, transparent, and effective public institutions, and where citizens feel safe and can build their lives in peace and stability. This will require coordination with Central America, Mexico, Colombia, international financial institutions, the private sector, civil society, and other international partners to promote regional prosperity through a sustained, well-coordinated plan to address longstanding challenges to economic growth in the region. To that end, the United States will work closely with the governments of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, as well as with other international partners, as they implement the “Alliance for Prosperity” presented by the leaders of the three countries at the Inter-American Development Bank.

Over the summer, we asked Congress for $300 million more in funding for Central America - nearly double what was available in 2014 - and we remain committed to working with Congress to provide additional resources. In fact, $76 million in security funding has already been retargeted to address urgent needs in the justice and law enforcement sectors.

The United States developed a Central America strategy to complement the work undertaken by regional governments and multilateral development banks. The U.S. strategy focuses on three overarching lines of action: 1) Promoting prosperity and regional economic integration; 2) Enhancing security; and 3) Promoting improved governance.

Prosperity and Regional Integration

The United States will focus on promoting trade facilitation under existing trade agreements, promoting transport and customs/border integration, promoting more efficient and sustainable energy, workforce development, facilitating business development, linking Central American and North American Markets, and strengthening Central American regional institutions. Examples of current and planned activities include:

Enhanced Security

El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras are plagued by violence as gangs and other organized criminal groups force many communities to live in fear. The United States will focus on promoting police reform, improving community security, continuing defense cooperation, and attacking organized crime. Examples of ongoing and future activities include:

Improved Governance

Strengthened institutions will enable governments to more effectively address the social, economic, political, and security problems they face. The United States will focus on helping Northern Triangle countries improve revenue collection and public sector fiscal management, increase the role and impact of civil society on governance, strengthen the efficiency, accountability, and independence of judicial institutions, reinforce democratic institutions, and target corruption. The following are examples of U.S. cooperation with Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras to improve governance capacity: