Fact Sheet
Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs
April 13, 2012


Central America – Citizen Safety Under Siege

The deteriorating security situation in Central America poses serious threats to the safety of its citizens. Traffickers across Central America smuggle drugs to the United States and other nations, while arms and cash flows move south from the United States to sustain these criminal organizations. The continued expansion of national and transnational gangs has created communities of fear, and rampant organized crime and corruption robs citizens of their trust in public officials and their ability to earn a livelihood.

A Collaborative Partnership To Support Central America

The United States has far-reaching geographic, economic, and demographic links to Central America. Assisting these nations in addressing the complex, transnational challenges they face is in our national security interest. During his March 2011 visit to El Salvador, President Obama launched the Central American Citizen Security Partnership to improve citizen safety by reducing the ability of criminal organizations to destabilize governments, threaten public safety, and spread illicit drugs, guns, and other transnational threats to Central America, its neighbors, and the United States. In partnership with the Central American Integration System (SICA), the United States and other donor nations and multilateral organizations participating in the Group of Friends of Central America, are working closer than ever before to ensure citizen security assistance is well coordinated and aligned with regional priorities set forth in SICA’s Central America Security Strategy. During the past year, this multilateral collaboration has generated additional international commitments, both in funding and technical assistance, to support various prevention, law enforcement and rule of law programs.

CARSI – The Partnership’s Implementation Mechanism

The Central America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) is the primary U.S. implementation and funding structure for United States citizen security assistance to the region under the Central American Citizen Security Partnership. CARSI is implemented in close collaboration with our Central American partners. CARSI focuses on establishing successful programs that will make short- to medium-term sustainable impacts to reduce levels of crime and violence and build the capacity of law enforcement and rule of law institutions. Programs include the development of local crime prevention plans, the establishment of model police precincts and community policing efforts, support for border security programs, and training for rule of law actors, such as prosecutors and judges. CARSI also supports education, training and other services that provide alternatives to youth that are at a heightened risk of being exposed to crime and violence. Through CARSI, the United States has committed more than $361 million in regional assistance since 2008.

For more information related to the Central America Regional Security Initiative, please visit our website at http://www.state.gov/p/wha/rt/carsi/index.htm

Priority Areas of The Central American Citizen Security Partnership

  1. Create safe streets for the citizens of the region;
  2. Disrupt the movement of criminals and contraband to, 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, services and security in communities at risk; and
  5. Foster enhanced levels of coordination and cooperation between the nations of the region, other international partners, and donors to combat regional security threats.