On August 5, 2010, the U.S. Department of State announced the launch of a $165 million initiative to combat security issues in Central America by instituting the Central American Regional Security Initiative (CARSI).
Central America has faced decades of social and political upheaval as a result of the prevalence of trafficking routes controlled by powerful narco- and arms traffickers and various crime organizations. In effect, the region has suffered from a collapse of security structure and deterioration of its citizens’ safety. In addition, public distrust in government corruption and officials’ inability to provide solutions to crime has led to the social and economic isolation of communities and individuals unable to participate in prosperous, safe environments.
CARSI strives to produce a safe region where criminal organizations no longer exercise power to destabilize governments and threaten national and regional security as well as transnational threats to countries within the region and the US.
CARSI prioritizes five main goals: Creating safe streets for the citizens in the region, disrupting the movement of criminals and contraband within and between the nations of Central America, supporting the development of strong, capable and accountable Central American Governments, re-establishing effective state presence and security in communities at risk, and fostering enhanced levels of security and rule of law coordination and cooperation between the nations of the region. The programs’ efforts will stretch from the U.S. Southwest border down to Panama, and extend outward to the Caribbean.
Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton fervently commented on CARSI’s efforts to prevent illicit drug trafficking, violence, and transnational threats throughout Central America and into the United States:
“The U.S. is committed to citizen safety in Central America… We are doing everything we can in the fight against corruption and impunity, in providing the equipment and the support that law enforcement and the military require, and helping to build civil society to stand against the scourge of drug trafficking.”
SIF supports leadership building in vulnerable communities and empowerment of at-risk youth affected by this violence in Central America. Executive Director Mauricio Vivero notes that SIF’s funding efforts align with CARSI’s mission to institute justice and civil security while promoting leadership development and community participation.
The Foundation also seeks to build the local private sector’s involvement with creating lasting social change in the region by supporting the Central American Leadership Institute (CALI). CALI aims to create a new generation of community leaders, committed to addressing the complex issues in the region– similar issues to that which CARSI seeks to tackle.
In addition, SIF supports the Due Process of Law Foundation (DPLF) which promotes reform and modernization of national justice systems and destabilized governments affected by these rising levels of corruption through academic research, in addition to training and technical assistance for Central American leaders.