US Pledges $300 Million to Central America’s Security

Posted June 22nd, 2011 at 9:30 pm (UTC-5)
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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has pledged to increase the U.S. investment for improving security efforts in Central America to $300 million.

Clinton made the pledge Wednesday at a conference in Guatemala on the growing problem of drug violence and weapons trafficking in the region.

It represents a $40 million increase from last year's U.S. investment to Central America's security.

In announcing the pledge, Clinton also said Central American countries must do their part by fighting corruption and ensuring effective government institutions. She also said businesses and the rich must pay their fare share of taxes and become full partners in the security effort.

Secretary Clinton arrived in Guatemala City Wednesday, leading a delegation that includes representatives from the State, Justice, Defense and Homeland Security departments, as well as the National Security Council and USAID.

After the conference, Clinton is scheduled to go to Jamaica for a meeting with Caribbean foreign ministers. The meeting is a follow-up to one last year in Barbados, when Clinton and members of the Caribbean Community announced a new regional security partnership known as the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative. The initiative calls for $124 million to be spent over a two-year period to help countries counter illicit trafficking in drugs and small arms.