A week before the Donors’ Summit in San Salvador I was able to catch up with Kathy Hall of the Summit Foundation. In a wide-ranging interview she discusses the failures of governments in Central America to provide for the younger generation, the need for the U.S. to condition its assistance to local governments meeting their own commitments, and the moral obligation of donors to collaborate and ensure greater transparency.
The Guatemalan electorate has spoken, electing the political neophyte, Jimmy Morales, with no clear policy platform and a group of retired military officers with shady ties to the past behind him. The good news is Guatemalan civil society is mobilized and ready.
There are multiple causes for the escalating crime and violence that is sweeping the region and making Latin America the region with the highest murder rates in the world. Narcotics trafficking, weak states, misguided anti-narcotics policies are all partly to blame. But given the numbers of U.S.-purchased weapons turning up in crime scenes in Central America, the U.S.’s lax gun control laws are another.
The so-called “surge” of unaccompanied children from Central America has not ended. Not only has the U.S. policy response been insufficient, the language describing the phenomenon has been offensive and unhelpful.