Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Q&A with U.S. Ambassador Aponte

The United States Agency for International Development's Impact Blog has a brief Q&A with the U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador, Mari Carmen Aponte. In the interview, Ambassador Aponte speaks about the recently announced $42 million public-private initiative to "combat citizen insecurity and strengthen municipal responses to crime and violence in 50 dangerous communities in El Salvador."
As Ambassador to El Salvador, what are your top priorities?
My priorities in El Salvador are laid out in the Partnership for Growth (PfG) Joint Country Action Plan, which was signed by both governments in 2011. PfG is our joint, five-year strategy for expanding broad-based economic growth in El Salvador under an overarching commitment to democracy, sustainable development, and human rights. The Action Plan identifies insecurity as one of the binding constraints to El Salvador’s productivity and competitiveness. Crime and insecurity have had an incalculable effect on the potential growth of El Salvador’s business sector. They have also negatively affected the legitimacy of El Salvador’s institutions of government. The limitations of the state to combat and prevent crime can erode the confidence of the people and can undermine good governance. Crime and insecurity pose a threat to institutional and development advances and the Government of El Salvador and the Unites States are committed to advancing joint efforts under Partnership for Growth.
Security especially with regards to violent crime has improved with the gang truce. I'm not that sure that Salvadoran political institutions have improved much in the last year or two. And economic growth is pretty anemic.

Let's hope this partnership helps.

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