U.S. Assistant Secretary of State William Brownfield was in Honduras last week to sign over $1.75 million in Central America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) funds—part of a larger $200 million sum he pledged to Central American nations. Brownfield, who heads the State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, noted that the funding would support prison management, anti-gang community policing efforts and security enhancement of borders and ports. In the latter case, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Border Tactical Unit would provide training to Honduran Frontier Police.
The $200 million in CARSI funds will aid Honduras and six other Central American countries: Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Panama. The CARSI program is an enhanced version of the Mérida Initiative. According to the State Department, CARSI has a list of five goals including to “re-establish effective state presence and security in communities at risk” and to “disrupt the movement of criminals and contraband within and between the nations of Central America.”
In his remarks in Tegucigalpa, Brownfield added that he chose to visit Honduras because it suffers from crimes—including gangs and illicit drugs—from consequences that often originate outside the country. In speaking of CARSI, he said that “the logic is that if Honduras is a victim of transnational threats, the solution should also be transnational.” Brownfield, a former U.S. ambassador to Venezuela and Colombia, also visited Guatemala, El Salvador and Colombia earlier this month.