Central America Seeks Almost $1B Anti-Crime Aid

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The countries of Central America agreed to seek financial aid from the international community to help fund a plan to combat drug trafficking, gangs and organized crime in the region.

The strategy was agreed after a two-day meeting between representatives of Central American countries, plus the Dominican Republic, reports El Nuevo Heraldo. They gathered in San Salvador for a conference of members of the Central American Integration System (Sistema de la Integracion Centroamericana – SICA).

Daniel Aleman, SICA’s secretary general, said that they are looking for political support, as well as help with technology and funds, and that the plan will cost a total $953 million. He also said that the nations seek greater regional integration on the issues of violence and crime.

The new anti-crime strategy will be presented to the European Community on May 16 in Madrid, and to other nations in a conference to be held in Guatemala June 22-23.

Central America is currently facing a crime wave and is suffering some of the world’s highest rates of violence. In a landmark visit to El Salvador in March, U.S. President Barack Obama restated the pledge of $200 million in U.S. funds for a Central American Citizen Security Partnership to combat drug traffickers and gangs in the region.

This will likely not be counted within in the sum sought by SICA; Aleman stated that the aid would be in addition to money already being received by member states.

The SICA secretary general also said that the details of the plan would not be made public for security reasons.

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