Fact Sheet
Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
November 4, 2011

The United States Government is working with our partners in Central America, donor countries, and international financial institutions worldwide to enhance citizen safety in Central America through the Central America Citizen Safety Partnership (CACSP).

CACSP represents the full range of U.S. Government assistance and incorporates critical local efforts already underway in order to address violence and coordinate assistance from other international contributors to the region. This partnership identifies new resources to the most pressing security problems, and supports the Central American Integration System (SICA) led regional security plan that addresses the growing threats of violence, crime, drug trafficking, and the underlying causes of rule of law institutional deficiencies.

The central component of U.S. assistance within the Partnership effort is the Central America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI), which will continue its interagency law enforcement, development, military, and rule of law assistance activities. CARSI strives to work in partnership with the Central American governments 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. The initiative aims to prevent the entry and spread of illicit drugs, violence, and transnational threats to countries throughout the region and to the United States. CARSI also seeks to coordinate its activities with complementary U.S. Government citizen safety programs in the Western Hemisphere, including the Merida Initiative in Mexico, the Colombia Strategic Development Initiative, and the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI).

CARSI’s Scope

CARSI is a multi-year program to provide equipment and training to support law enforcement operations and technical assistance for long-term reform and oversight of security agencies. The $361 million in U.S. CARSI assistance committed to date (during fiscal years 2008 – 2011) seeks to support the following programming in Central America:

  • Assist law enforcement to confront narcotics and arms trafficking, gangs, organized crime and border security deficiencies, as well as to disrupt criminal infrastructure, routes, and networks;
  • Build the capacity of law enforcement and justice sector actors and institutions to serve citizens and address regional threats; and
  • Advance community policing, gang prevention, and economic and social programming for at-risk youth in communities disproportionately impacted by crime.

Five Goals of CARSI

  1. Create safe streets for the citizens in the region
  2. Disrupt the movement of criminals and contraband within and between the nations of Central America
  3. Support the development of strong, capable and accountable Central American Governments
  4. Re-establish effective state presence and security in communities at risk
  5. Foster enhanced levels of security and rule of law coordination and cooperation between the nations of the region

INL’s Role in CACSP and CARSI

These initiatives support development of a regional capacity to respond to drug traffickers and other transnational criminal organizations. INL programs under CARSI focus on the creation of interconnected information systems in all seven countries, extending them to more remote areas and increasing information handling capacity and sharing, as well as support for vetted units targeting bulk currency smuggling, in addition to drug trafficking and alien smuggling. INL programs provide advanced training on border and mobile inspections and police training and equipment. INL also works to complement programs under the regional Criminal Youth Gangs program by consolidating best practices and providing equipment and technical assistance to enhance the effectiveness of preventive policing programs, witness protection programs and community activities. To strengthen the justice sector, INL programs support training and professional development activities for prosecutors, investigators, and courts to ensure rapid and transparent judicial procedures across the region, as well as provide continued support for corrections officials to better manage prisons.

A Common Future

Partnership countries have launched a renewed effort coordinate the critical training and assistance capabilities, partnership countries including Canada, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, the European Union, and Spain, as well as international financial institutions, such as the Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank. The U.S. Government is a member of the “Group of Friends,” a donor community which seeks to enhance donor impact in Central America by increasing opportunities to complement and coordinate our respective efforts where possible. The U.S. is also working with Colombia and Mexico to support their efforts to provide best practices and assistance within Central America.

By working collaboratively with donor partners the United States is confronting regional threats with regional solutions; diminishing the influence and impact of criminal organizations and increasing citizen safety for Central Americans.