At a meeting with Central American leaders in Honduras, US Vice President Joe Biden reiterated the Obama administration’s pledge to seek $107 million in aid for the region in fiscal year 2013.
Biden said the executive branch would ask Congress for another $107 million in aid under the Central American Regional Security Initiative (CARSI), which he noted had already provided $361 million between 2008 and 2011.
This money had already been set out in the State Department’s 2013 budget request. Some $47.5 million was requested for CARSI under the Economic Support Fund, and $60 million under International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement.
The vice president said that the US would work to aid institutional reform. “One of the areas in which we will hopefully be of help is in vetting the police, the prosecutors and the judges,” he said.
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The 2013 aid package marks only a very minor increase from the 2012 one, which stood at $105 million. This is despite the region’s struggles with drug and gang violence, which have given Honduras and El Salvador some of the highest murder rates in the world.
Some analysts have said that Guatemalan President Otto’s Perez’s calls for a debate on drug legalization are a way to pressure the US into giving more aid for the fight against drugs.