April 19, 2016

Corker: Strategic Objectives Key to Success of U.S. Support for Central America Alliance for Prosperity

WASHINGTON – At a hearing to assess progress with Central America’s “Alliance for Prosperity” initiative, U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, stressed the importance of establishing strategic objectives for continued U.S. support of the alliance, which was established by El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras to improve security, enforce the rule of law, and promote economic growth as a means of stemming mass migration affecting the region. Francisco Palmieri, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, and Elizabeth Hogan, Acting Assistant Administrator of the Latin America and Caribbean Bureau at the U.S. Agency for International Development, provided testimony on behalf of the Obama administration. The committee also heard from José Cárdenas, former USAID Acting Assistant Administrator for Latin America, and Jim Swigert, the director of Latin America and Caribbean Programs at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs.

“[W]e want to make sure that Central America is able to secure stability, the rule of law, and economic growth,” said Corker. “I think there’s a strong desire to make sure that there’s oversight here because we want to see [the alliance] be successful.”

Corker questioned whether the alliance and the leadership of the three Central American governments are focused enough on establishing security in order to create the conditions necessary for economic growth. Only 13 percent of the alliance’s budget is being directed toward security initiatives while 30 percent of U.S. contributions are being allocated for security purposes.

“It is very difficult to have much economic growth when you have tremendous violence taking place,” added Corker in a reference to gang and drug-related violence plaguing the region.

For archive footage and full witness testimony, visit: http://1.usa.gov/1Wb5sgR.