Fact Sheet
Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs
April 25, 2013


"As the nations of Central America develop a new regional security strategy, the United States stands ready to do our part through a new partnership that puts the focus where it should be – on the security of citizens. And with regional and international partners, we’ll make sure our support is not just well-intentioned, but is well-coordinated and well-spent."

– President Barack Obama

The Five Goals of CARSI in Central America:

  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.

Citizen Safety Under Siege

Within Central America, the deteriorating security situation threatens citizen safety. Narcotics traffickers continue to establish trafficking routes to and through Central America. The continued expansion of national and transnational gangs creates communities of fear where gangs are effectively in control. Organized crime—from extortion to corrupt acts by government officials—robs citizens of confidence in their ability to earn a livelihood, provide for their families, and trust public officials for solutions.

CARSI – An Integrated, Collaborative Regional Security and Rule of Law Program

The Central America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) responds to these threats and supplements the strategies and programs the nations of Central America are implementing on their own and in cooperation with other countries. CARSI is coordinated with other nations, international financial institutions, the private sector, civil society, and the Central American Integration System (SICA). It is a coordinated approach that draws upon the expertise and efforts of like-minded donors supporting the citizen safety goals of Central American countries.

U.S. Assistance – Meeting the Threat – Building Capacity

The $496 million in U.S. CARSI assistance since 2008 supports the following priorities in the Central American countries of Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama:

  • Assist law enforcement and security forces 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 the justice sector to serve citizens and to address regional threats; and
  • Advance community policing, gang prevention, and economic and social programming for at-risk youth and communities disproportionately affected by crime.

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