Within Central America, a rapidly deteriorating security situation has led to significantly decreased levels of citizen safety, and to the social and economic exclusion of large populations unable to fully participate in thriving, safe communities. Narcotics traffickers continue to establish trafficking routes to and through Central America. The widespread availability of firearms, including those trafficked into the region, has increased their use in the commission of crimes. The continued expansion of national and transnational gangs has created communities of fear where gangs effectively control entire neighborhoods. Organized crime – which takes many forms, from the extortion of money from bus drivers, to corruption by government officials – robs citizens of their confidence in their ability to earn a livelihood and trust in their public officials for solutions to their problems.
The Five Goals of CARSI in Central America:
The Central America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) responds to the region’s threats and builds upon existing strategies and programs, both on a bilateral and regional basis. It is designed to stop the flow of narcotics, weapons, and bulk cash generated by illicit drug sales, and to confront gangs and criminal organizations. CARSI envisions strengthening and integrating security efforts from the U.S. Southwest border to Panama, including the littoral waters of the Caribbean. The desired objective of CARSI is to produce a safer and more secure region where criminal organizations no longer wield the power to destabilize governments or threaten national and regional security and public safety, as well as to prevent the entry and spread of illicit drugs, violence, and transnational threats to countries throughout the region and to the United States.
The $496 million in U.S. CARSI assistance since 2008 seeks to support the following programming in Central America: