Central America Regional Security Initiative

Date: 2011 Description: Officers are csertified in the GREAT program at the International Law Enforcement Agency in El Salvador. © USAID Image Date: 2011 Description: President Obama announces the Central American Citizen Security Partnership in El Salvador.  - State Dept Image Date: 2009 Description: Central American Students © USAID Image

Citizen Safety Under Siege

Within Central America, the deteriorating security situation threatens citizen safety. Narcotics traffickers continue to establish trafficking routes to and through Central America. The continued expansion of national and transnational gangs creates communities of fear where gangs are effectively in control. Organized crime—from extortion to corrupt acts by government officials—robs citizens of confidence in their ability to earn a livelihood, provide for their families, and trust public officials for solutions.

The Five Goals of CARSI in Central America:

  1. Create safe streets for the citizens of the region;
  2. Disrupt the movement of criminals and contraband to, within, and between the nations of Central America;
  3. Support the development of strong, capable, and accountable Central American governments;
  4. Re-establish effective state presence, services and security in communities at risk; and
  5. Foster enhanced levels of coordination and cooperation between the nations of the region, other international partners, and donors to combat regional security threats.

CARSI – An Integrated, Collaborative Regional Security and Rule of Law Program

The Central America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) responds to these threats and supplements the strategies and programs the nations of Central America are implementing on their own and in cooperation with other countries. CARSI is coordinated with other nations, international financial institutions, the private sector, civil society, and the Central American Integration System (SICA). It is a coordinated approach that draws upon the expertise and efforts of like-minded donors supporting the citizen safety goals of Central American countries.

U.S. Assistance – Meeting the Threat – Building Capacity

The $979 million in U.S. CARSI assistance since 2008 supports the following priorities in the Central American countries of Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama:

  • Assist law enforcement and security forces to confront narcotics and arms trafficking, gangs, organized crime, and border security deficiencies, as well as to disrupt criminal infrastructure, routes, and networks;
  • Build the capacity of law enforcement and the justice sector to serve citizens and to address regional threats; and
  • Advance community policing, gang prevention, and economic and social programming for at-risk youth and communities disproportionately affected by crime.