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El Salvador: cash for crime-fighting

Monday, June 24, 2013

El Salvador will have $91 million in aid funds, much of which will be used to combat crime, according to government reports, issued last week.

The funds will come from the United States, under its Association for Growth program.

Additional spending will create opportunities for suppliers of equipment, ranging from weapons to surveillance devices, as well as providers of services, including specialized training.

Some or all of the investment in security may be limited to providers based in the United States, depending on the details of the project.

There has been debate in El Salvador over the effectiveness of a truce, announced last year, between the country’s major gangs on one hand, and the government on the other.

Violent crime has gone down by as much as 75%, according to official figures.

But many Salvadorans are concerned about what they perceive as a high level of insecurity.

Crime has held back investment in El Salvador, where economic growth has for years been the lowest in Central America - which is why close to one quarter of the country’s population has emigrated to the United States.

Money spent in improving security may help create jobs.

El Salvador is strong in banking, aviation, coffee and tourism.

A Salvadoran group is the most successful real estate developer in Central America.