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Atlantic Council

ADRIENNE ARSHT
LATIN AMERICA CENTER

INDEPENDENT TASK FORCE REPORT

BUILDING
A BETTER FUTURE
A Blueprint for Central Americas
Northern Triangle

INDEPENDENT TASK FORCE REPORT


RELEASE DATE: MAY 4, 2017

CHAIRS
John Negroponte
United States
Eduardo Stein
Guatemala
Maria Eugenia Brizuela de vila
El Salvador
Luis Cosenza
Honduras

DIRECTOR
Jason Marczak
The Atlantic Councils Adrienne Arsht
Atlantic Council Latin America Center is dedicated
ADRIENNE ARSHT to broadening awareness of the
LATIN AMERICA CENTER transformational political, economic,
and social changes throughout Latin
America. It is focused on bringing in
new political, corporate, civil society,
and academic leaders to change the
fundamental nature of discussions on
Latin America and to develop new ideas
and innovative policy recommendations
that highlight the regions potential as
a strategic and economic partner for
Europe, the United States, and beyond.
The nonpartisan Arsht Center began
operations in October 2013.

The Atlantic Council promotes


constructive leadership and engagement
in international affairs based on the
central role of the Atlantic Community
in meeting global challenges.
For more information, please visit
www.AtlanticCouncil.org.

2017 The Atlantic Council of the United


States. All rights reserved. No part of
this publication may be reproduced or
transmitted in any form or by any means
without permission in writing from the
Atlantic Council and the Bertelsmann
Foundation, except in the case of brief
quotations in news articles, critical articles,
or reviews. Please direct inquiries to:

Atlantic Council
1030 15th Street NW, 12th Floor
Washington, DC 20005

ISBN: 978-1-61977-425-4

May 2017
INDEPENDENT TASK FORCE REPORT

Building a
Better Future
A Blueprint for Central Americas
Northern Triangle

CHAIRS
John Negroponte
United States
Eduardo Stein
Guatemala
Maria Eugenia Brizuela de vila
El Salvador
Luis Cosenza
Honduras

DIRECTOR
Jason Marczak
Table of Contents
FOREWORD01

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY02

AN IMPERATIVE FOR JOINT ACTION08

NORTHERN TRIANGLE SECURITY AND


ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY TASK FORCE10

CURRENT EFFORTS TO BUILD MOMENTUM12

A BLUEPRINT FOR ADDRESSING THE REGIONS


TOP CHALLENGES16

1. BUILDING SUSTAINABLE
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT17
Integration and Infrastructure18
Key Sector Development20
Human Capital22

2. STRENGTHENING THE RULE OF LAW24


Judicial Institution Building25
Corruption and Illicit Flows27
Public Finance Regimes28

3. IMPROVING SECURITY30
Policing Improvements32
Criminal Justice and Prison Reform34
Gangs35
Illicit Trafficking36

CONCLUSION: A MORE PROSPEROUS NORTHERN


TRIANGLE AND A SAFER UNITED STATES38

TASK FORCE CO-CHAIRS


AND MEMBERS 39

ENDNOTES42

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS46

INDEPENDENT TASK FORCE REPORT|BUILDING A BETTER FUTURE


Foreword
Congressman Eliot Engel Congressman David Valadao
Honorary Task Force Co-Chairs Honorary Task Force Co-Chairs
Ranking Member, House Foreign Affairs Committee Co-Chair, Congressional Central America Caucus
(D-NY 16th District) (R-CA 21st District)

o many Americans, the difficult issues ment exists in these three countries to collabora-
facing Central Americas Northern Trian- tively work with the United States.
gleEl Salvador, Guatemala, and Hondu- We signed on as honorary co-chairs on the At-
rasmay seem distant. But the future of lantic Councils Northern Triangle Security and Eco-
the United States is tied to these coun- nomic Opportunity Task Force because its work
tries as some of our closest neighbors. Geography gets to the heart of the solutions needed for the
alone demonstrates that their stability and pros- region. The task force set out to address those con-
perity is critical to our national interest. cerns, which have been identified as top priorities
Trafficking, gang violence, economic underde- by citizens across the region. Its work considered
velopment, and an atmosphere of impunity and diverse opinions from the public and private sec-
corruption continue to present serious challenges tors and civil society in the three countries, plus
to the Northern Triangle. Some progress has been the United States. And its strong leadership from
made, but more needs to be done to ensure that all four countries considers multiple vantage points
the citizens of those countries feel they have op- and political positions.
tions other than making the perilous trek north to This report should be viewed as a blueprint for
the United States our work in Congress: It addresses short-term solu-
The United States has ready and willing partners tions and long-term structural changes. The key
in the region to help tackle these issues. Democrats pillars of security, rule of law, and sustainable eco-
and Republicans must come together to reinforce nomic development are a familiar refrain for the US
and build on the desire for progress. This includes approach to the region. But those pillars support
helping provide momentum for nascent efforts to proposals that offer a fresh outlook for the sus-
address crime and impunity. tained effort that the region needs. Policy recom-
US assistance to the Northern Triangle coun- mendations are directed at both the United States
tries has been very effective in providing unique and the Northern Triangle, because regional prob-
local leverage and complements significant do- lems require multilateral partnership.
mestic contributions. Still, we believe more can be We hope our colleagues consider the ideas in
done. Future efforts should prioritize game-chang- this report as a starting point for a renewed empha-
ing issues that provide the maximum return for sis on the Northern Triangle. And we hope that the
our investment. three governments also recognize the imperative of
Deep-rooted challenges will not disappear over- joint action. As the ranking member of the House
night. Only long-term investment and partnership Committee on Foreign Affairs and as the co-chair
in sustainable economic development, rule of law, of the House Central America Caucus, we are proud
and security will set the region on the right course. to be working together as part of this task force.
That is why the US Congress should consider a This spirit of bipartisanship has the potential to
multiyear bipartisan funding authorization for the solve the regions challenges once and for all. As
Northern Triangle. Plan Colombia is a prime exam- discussions on Central America continue, we will
ple of whats possible when Congress puts aside use this report as an important tool in our work
differences to help move a country in the right di- and encourage our colleagues on both sides of the
rection. And just as in Colombia, national commit- aisle to do the same.

INDEPENDENT TASK FORCE REPORT|BUILDING A BETTER FUTURE1


Executive Summary

entral Americas Northern Triangle is assistance. Based on the polls responses and ad-
at a crossroads. The region has seen ditional consultations, the recommendations fall
50,000 murders over the past three into three interconnected categories: sustainable
years, along with high-profile corrup- economic development, rule of law, and security.
tion scandals that have tested overbur- Like both the region-led Alliance for Prosper-
dened institutions and stirred public dissatisfaction. ity and current US support for the Northern Trian-
Lack of economic opportunity, weak governance, gle, the task force operates on the premise that
and criminality has led to nearly 10 percent of El increasing border security alone will not stem the
Salvador, Guatemala, and Hondurass thirty mil- flow of unauthorized migration. People will con-
lion residents leaving in recent years. The status tinue to head north if no other option is available.
quo cannot continue domestically or with regard Illicit drugs will continue to head north as well. The
to US policy. Without a major recalibration of both three countries themselves will never shed the title
US strategy and that of the three of weak states without a renewed
countries, the challenges faced push to change course. That is why
in the region today will increas- we must redouble efforts to facil-
ingly lead to bleak long-term Northern Triangle itate the necessary conditions for
national prospects and a more countries will Guatemalan, Honduran, and Salva-
direct effect on US national se- never shed the doran leaders to make the hard but
curity interests. title of weak necessary choices that will provide
This report provides a new di- states without a renewed momentum for achieving
rection for how to regain posi- renewed push to prosperity.
tive momentum. It is the product change course. Local leaders have shown an
of an independent, multisector increasing desire to enact change.
task force launched in Septem- They are also invested, with more
ber 2016 by the Atlantic Councils Adrienne Arsht than 80 percent of Alliance for Prosperity spend-
Latin America Center. Composed of high-level policy ing coming from the Northern Triangle. But their
makers, business executives, and civil society lead- actions, like that of the United States up to this
ers from each of the Northern Triangle countries point, are only first steps. The outsized influence
plus the United States, the task force addresses of the United States in these three countriesand
regional challenges with practical, impact-driven the direct implications of inaction for US interests
solutions. The recommendations in this report are makes financial and technical assistance an invest-
informed by a public opinion survey conducted by ment that is not merely aid but a down payment
CID-Gallup in the Northern Triangle countries in on greater US homeland security.
fall 2016. It found high levels of distrust in virtually A starting point for US assistance is demon-
all institutions and a desire for more international strating the return on investment for US taxpay-

2INDEPENDENT TASK FORCE REPORT|BUILDING A BETTER FUTURE


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

A National Civil Police agent patrols a trade district in zone 1, Guatemala City, Guatemala

ers. This must be done in terms of showing both sector development, and human capital. Joblessness
results achieved and complementary funding allo- poses grave risks in violent societies, where gang
cated by the three countries themselves. For that recruitment thrives among poor youth and fragile
reason, and for the purpose of creating greater families. This report identifies strategic sectors of
transparency in the region, the task force believes Northern Triangle economies that present immedi-
it is critical to develop publicly accessible, easy- ate opportunities for growth (see p.TK). Commer-
SOURCE: JESUS ALFONSO / WORLD BANK

to-use resources to track the amount of funding cial activity demands reliable infrastructure and
budgeted and spent by the three countries in the to support this, the task force calls for creating an
areas that complement US investment. These sig- infrastructure fund that facilitates public-private
nificant in country commitments need to be more partnerships while addressing one of the key im-
closely tracked. pediments to growth (see p.TK). In order to oper-
In all three countries, the lack of economic op- ate effectively, this fund must include mechanisms
portunity is a key motivator for migration. A three- to reduce corruption.
pronged approach to boost economic prospects Improving customs procedures would also spark
should focus on integration and infrastructure, key greater commerce among the three countries and

INDEPENDENT TASK FORCE REPORT|BUILDING A BETTER FUTURE3


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Hondurans march against corruption in 2015 demanding a United Nations-backed impunity commission.

greater exports from the United States. For that, and each government can make headway with the
we propose a trinational institution for border co- right investment: corruption and financial crimes,
ordination (see p.TK). Another priority is to invest public finance regimes, and the strength of judi-
in communities with high economic potential, such cial institutions.
as intermediary cities (see p.TK), while also pro- Corruption can be reduced by clamping down
viding robust support for the communities from on money laundering through digitizing finan-
which children are migrating. Another tool is to pro- cial transactions and implementing a roadmap to
vide more scholarships for Central American stu- comply with and enforce international anti-money
dents to help their countries transition to a knowl- laundering standards (see p.TK). The United States
edge-based economy (see p.TK). can help deter and prosecute financial crimes by
SOURCE: RBREVE/FLICKR
Systemic corruption, inefficient public spend- providing technical support to the relevant au-
ing, and a lack of oversight of financial flows com- thorities (see p.TK). Additionally, the three gov-
promise the Northern Triangles potential for eco- ernments must continue their efforts to reform
nomic growth and ability to address regional judicial institutions and tackle corruption, includ-
security problems. Three areas that hinder prog- ing reaching agreements for US and other inter-
ress in rule of law, where both the United States national advisors to help judges and prosecutors

4INDEPENDENT TASK FORCE REPORT|BUILDING A BETTER FUTURE


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

clear the backlog of cases (see p.TK). Ensuring not breeding grounds for gang recruitment (see
the success of anti-impunity efforts, such as Gua- p.TK). With an expected rise in US deportations,
temalas International Commission Against Impu- greater information sharing is necessary with the
nity (CICIG), Hondurass Mission to Support the Northern Triangle governments regarding return-
Fight Against Corruption and Impunity (MACCIH), ees (see p.TK). Illicit trafficking will only continue
and El Salvadors anti-corruption unit, would sig- to rise without new strategies from both the United
nificantly help to ensure local improvements in the States and the Northern Triangle countries. Here,
rule of law (see p.TK). At the same time, Northern regional governments can build on the new trina-
Triangle governments should fix uneven tax play- tional anti-gang force. The United States should
ing fields to improve spending efficiency and rev- also work with local authorities to concentrate on
enue collection (see p.TK). constricting illicit corridors (see p.TK).
Prosperity in the region will not materialize with- The task force understands that these solutions
out security improvements; 95 percent of homicides must be implemented as part of a broad-based in-
go unsolved, more than 75 percent of poll respon- terconnected strategy. No solution will succeed
dents have little or no trust in the police, and few as a stand-alone initiative. Simply put, infrastruc-
mechanisms exist to address ture projects cannot thrive with-
the temptation to join gangs out addressing corruption. High-
or reduce their influence. The scale prosecutions and convictions
inability of the authorities to This report serves will be piecemeal advances with-
curtail the effects of gang vio- as a blueprint for out profound judicial reform and
lence has led to a widespread addressing the the political will to enact it. A bet-
sense of lawlessness, which challenges and ter-equipped police force will not
consequently has contributed responses that achieve far-reaching success if the
to high emigration rates. The would strengthen economic incentives to join gangs
region also has become a tran- US national continue to exist.
sit corridor for illicit narcotics on security and Guatemala, Honduras, and El Sal-
their way to the United States. regional stability. vador are at a moment of reckoning.
A strategy that combats inse- Action now is essential to prevent
curity should focus on policing a further downward spiral that will
improvements, criminal justice and prison reform, directly affect US interests. Funding that balances
and crack down on gangs and trafficking. security and development, provides technical sup-
As with the task forces recommendation to send port, and is subject to stringent external oversight
advisors to help clear judicial backlogs, more US will be critical in expanding economic opportunity
advisors should be sent to provide technical assis- and building institutional capacity. As President
tance and training to local police forces. Community Donald Trump and Congress identify priorities, a
policing initiatives offer an opportunity to make in- comprehensive, long-term strategy for the North-
roads in combating rampant insecurity as well (see ern Triangleadvanced through a multi-year au-
p.TK). Governments in the region must also double thorization billwould provide the stability for the
down on strengthening police accountability (see necessary strategic planning to further US priorities.
p.TK). Communities need a comprehensive push to This report serves as a blueprint for addressing the
diminish the strength of gangs. This includes both challenges and responses that would strengthen
prevention programs in high-risk neighborhoods, as US national security and regional stability.
well as making sure that overcrowded prisons are

INDEPENDENT TASK FORCE REPORT|BUILDING A BETTER FUTURE5


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Overview of
Recommendations

SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT


US-Focused Northern Triangle-Focused
Recommendations Recommendations

Support the recently-created Prioritize improving secondary


infrastructure fund coordinated by and tertiary roads in key economic
the IDB (p.18). development zones (p.18).
Double down on current efforts to Create a trinational institution in charge
modernize and streamline customs of coordination among all border actors
procedures (p.19). (p.19).
Integration and
infrastructure Organize a public-private supply
chain security initiative that
focuses on the physical safety of
transported goods (p.19).
Introduce technology to trace
trucks and public transportation
vehicles (p.19).

Focus assistance on migrant- Focus funding on strategic sectors for


sending communities and economic growth (p.20).
Key sector intermediary cities (p.20).
Reduce informality with a sector-specific
development Support and build on agriculture strategy that includes stricter penalties for
projects that empower small business tax evasion (p.21).
farmers (p.21)

Increase information-sharing to Implement a jobs creation initiative that


help put in place an effective targets small and medium enterprises
system to help reintegrate returned (SMEs) (p.22).
Northern Triangle residents (p.22).
Human Incorporate more youth and women into
capital Support more funding for the workforce (p.23).
scholarships that bring Central
A200merican students to the Promote more effective job reinsertion
United States (p.23). programs for former gang members
(p.23).

6INDEPENDENT TASK FORCE REPORT|BUILDING A BETTER FUTURE


RULE OF LAW
US-Focused Northern Triangle-Focused
Recommendations Recommendations

Continue supporting the work of CICIG Reach an agreement to receive US


and ensure the success of MACCIH and El advisors to help clear the backlog of
Salvadors anti-impunity unit (p.25). legal cases (p.25).
Judicial
Direct existing funds toward understaffed Promote sharing of best practices
institution
fiscalas (attorneys general) (p.26). among judicial bodies of each country
building (p.26).
Increase transparency in the election
of secondary public officials (p.26).

Provide technical assistance to train police, Create incentives to digitize financial


prosecutors, and judges to investigate transactions and reduce reliance on
Corruption and financial crimes (p.27). cash (p.27).
illicit flows Offer increased technical assistance to Implement an accelerated roadmap to
banking regulatory agencies, the private comply with international anti-money
sector, and multilaterals (p.28). laundering standards (p.28).

Direct more funding to local entities Fix uneven tax playing fields to
Public finance
with verified track records in transparent generate public funds (p.29).
regimes
spending (p.29).

SECURITY
US-Focused Northern Triangle-Focused
Recommendations Recommendations

Send US advisors and coordinate the Improve police accountability through:


participation of additional international greater independent reporting and
advisers to train local police forces (p.32). denouncing of police abuses; and new
internal and external controls in the
Policing Strengthen and promote properly police force (p.33).
improvements implemented community policing initiatives
(p.33).
Promote and increase the number of
women in the police force (p.33).

Ramp up financial and technical support to Implement comprehensive


Criminal justice
reform the prison system (p.34). criminal prison reform, focused on
& prison reform
rehabilitation (p.34).

Increase information sharing on deported Target high-risk neighborhoods for


Gangs gang members and criminals (p.35). increased social and educational
programs (p.35).

Work with Northern Triangle authorities Expand capabilities of the new


to identify, monitor, and constrict illicit trinational anti-gang force to address
Illicit corridors (p.37). organized crime and trafficking (p.36).
trafficking Commit to sharing financial information on
Northern Triangle nationals in the United
States suspected of illicit activities (p.37).

INDEPENDENT TASK FORCE REPORT|BUILDING A BETTER FUTURE7


An Imperative
for Joint Action

three-hour flight from Miami or Hous- result: a lack of economic opportunities, gang and
ton, Central Americas Northern Tri- narco-trafficking proliferation, and an outward flow
angle is locked into a vicious cycle of human capital.
of lost opportunity and violence. The combination of lack of economic opportu-
Made up of El Salvador, Guatemala, nity, weak governance, and rising criminality seen
and Honduras, the region has seen 50,000 mur- in the Northern Triangle led to the unaccompa-
ders over the past three years, the majority due to nied minor crisis in 2014 and brought the North-
gang violence and drug trafficking.1 Weak gover- ern Triangle back onto the radar of the US public.
nance in the three countries has helped give rise That year, US officials apprehended 68,541 unac-
to an illicit corridor for narco-trafficking and orga- companied children and 68,445 family units at the
nized crime that begins just 2,500 miles from the border.2 Today, we continue to see that the majority
US Southwest border. These crimes not only pose a of unauthorized migrants entering through Mexico
crisis for law enforcement and the citizenry overall, are from the Northern Triangle. In total, nearly 10
but also have broad implications for Central Amer- percent of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras
ica and beyond. For the United thirty million residents have left in
States, insecurity and illicit ac- recent years, seeking reunification
tivity combined with the push of with their families, relief from pov-
migrants north, makes the region Nearly 10 percent erty, and, in some cases, refuge or
a national security priority. of El Salvador, protection from growing violence.3
The regions business and Guatemala, There have been efforts among
political leaders have taken re- and Honduras the regions stakeholders to amelio-
newed interest in carving a better thirty million rate the instability, but more must
path forward for their countries, residents have left be done. The Plan of the Alliance
but sustained outside assistance in recent years. for Prosperity, a development strat-
is critical. Solutions to todays egy created by the three countries
crises will require unparalleled with support from the Inter-Ameri-
US cooperation with its Central American part- can Development Bank (IDB)4 is a step in the right
ners. The region never fully recovered from the direction, but even greater comprehensive efforts
civil wars of the 1980s and 1990s, and continues are neededones that include policy makers, civil
to grapple with the repercussions of a significant society, and the private sector from the outset. In
increase in gang member deportations from the late 2015, the US Congress passed a $750 million
United States. Today, weak institutions and under- aid package to support the Alliance for Prosperity
developed economies have yet to fully address the and address the underlying structural causes of the
social inequalities that first gave rise to these con- recent migration trend. This increase in appropria-
flicts, or the culture of violence that ensued. The tionswhich far exceeds prior funding to Central

8INDEPENDENT TASK FORCE REPORT|BUILDING A BETTER FUTURE


AN IMPERATIVE FOR JOINT ACTION

The Mexico-Guatemala border is a key checkpoint for Central Americans


embarking on the ominous trek to the United States.

Americaincluded development assistance and was and Jimmy Morales (Guatemala) must double down
tied to conditions requiring governments to make on finding collaborative solutions to regional prob-
progress fighting crime, impunity, and corruption. lems and drive forward critical domestic change.
Its premise: Increasing border security alone would The writing is on the wall. Without a sustained,
not stem the unauthorized migrant flow.5 long-term US commitment to help push local action,
Although Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala a combination of lack of human capital advance-
face similar problems, each requires a unique plan ment, weak institutions, and insecurity risk creat-
of action. But the starting point for all three coun- ing even greater national crises in each country.
tries is determining innovative, cost-effective ways Volatility in the Northern Triangle has grave im-
to partner together to push for actions that improve plications for security throughout the region. Over
local conditions and, in the process, address direct the next four years and beyond, it would benefit
US interests. Addressing and advancing that pro- the US government to acknowledge that only mul-
cess is the intent of this report. tifaceted, innovative solutions to address the in-
In the United States, lawmakers should note that ternal barriers to economic development, rule of
SOURCE: MIKE STENHOUSE/FLICKR

only a holistic approach will relieve stress on re- law, and security in those countries will make the
gional border enforcement and illicit drug traffick- United States safer as well. Both the Trump admin-
ing, and improve US commercial interests. Such a istration and the US Congress have the opportu-
strategy must include working with key US partners, nity to implement a holistic, long-term policy that
including Mexico, on issues ranging from security will help spur more precise, effective action in the
to economic development. In the Northern Trian- three countries, and pay dividends in security for
gle, the governments of Juan Orlando Hernndez the American people.
(Honduras), Salvador Snchez Cern (El Salvador),

INDEPENDENT TASK FORCE REPORT|BUILDING A BETTER FUTURE9


Northern Triangle Security and
Economic Opportunity Task Force

his Atlantic Council Task Force has its or- Responses to the poll paint a portrait of deep
igins in a public opinion survey in North- frustration and pessimism about Northern Trian-
ern Triangle countries conducted in late gle governments, the economy, and the security
August/early September 2016. The poll situation. Roughly half of those surveyed said they
served as a critical starting point to bring were in a worse economic position than one year
the voices of the people and their concerns into earlier. The poll also found that economic hope-
the work of the task force. Commissioned by the lessness and rising crime have contributed to high
Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center and carried migration rates, and the small percentage of re-
out by CID-Gallup, it found that 75 percent of res- spondents who report that their family is better off
idents believe their country is on the wrong path; than a year ago tend to be the same respondents
nine out of ten people in all three countries believe who report having relatives in the United States.
that corruption is widespread and that the justice Public perception of a leadership deficit is evi-
system favors the rich and powerful. dent, along with distrust of most government insti-
The door-to-door poll was organized around tutions. More than three-quarters of respondents
three regional issues: security, rule of law, and eco- in the three countries have little to no confidence
nomic development. Participants encompassed a in judges, the police, the military, tax authorities,
range of ages (18+), education and income levels, or attorneys general. A similar percentage believes
family situations, occupations, and geographic lo- that judges can be bribed in exchange for favor-
cations with the sample being representative of the able sentences. Even public trust in priests and
countries as a whole. It had a 3.4 percent margin of pastors barely reached 50 percent in Guatemala
error and a 95 percent confidence interval. and Honduras, failing to register 30 percent in El

SOURCE: ATLANTIC COUNCIL

Northern Triangle Task Force members engage in discussions during their December 2016 meeting in
Washington, DC. This marked the second meeting of a yearlong effort.

10INDEPENDENT TASK FORCE REPORT|BUILDING A BETTER FUTURE


NORTHERN TRIANGLE SECURITY AND ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY TASK FORCE

Salvador. On average, a majority of citizens in the ister of the Presidency of Honduras Luis Cosenza,
three countries were open to calls for international and former Minister of Foreign Affairs of El Salva-
bodies to oversee tax authorities and the judicial dor Maria Eugenia Brizuela de Avila, the task force
sector more broadly (beyond just anti-corruption). has received input from scores of additional public
The message is clear: citizens of the Northern Tri- and private stakeholders, seeking bold, concrete,
angle do not believe in their governments, their locally driven solutions to improve security and
institutions, or their leaders, making it a clear ob- economic development in the region.
jective of this task force to help reverse this trend. In addition to identifying areas of priority for US
With the poll serving as a starting point, this in- collaboration, the task force has focused on how its
dependent, multisector task force sought to better findings can help advance the momentum for change
understand the drivers of the chal- in the Northern Triangle, as well as
lenges enveloping the Northern how US policy makers approach
Triangle, in order to explain the on- the US role in the region. As Presi-
the-ground reality and offer con- This independent, dent Trump and Congress identify
crete solutions not only to policy multisector task their priorities, there is more need
makers, businesspeople, and the force sought to than ever for a unified effort to take
public in the United States, but better understand stock of the current situation in the
also to direct stakeholders in the the drivers of Northern Triangle: whats work-
three countries themselves. Rec- the challenges ing, what can be improved, and
ommendations expand upon the enveloping the how different sectors can come
Plan of the Alliance for Prosper- Northern Triangle. together to achieve meaningful
ity but also propose new, inno- reform. Now is the time to lay out
vative ways to move the needle a comprehensive, long-term strat-
and break the cycle of criminality and lack of eco- egy that serves both the interests of the Northern
nomic opportunity that feed into the resulting US Triangle countries and US security concerns.
security concerns. The goals of the task force are fourfold:
The Northern Triangle Security and Economic Op- 1. To provide a roadmap that builds on existing ef-
portunity Task Force first convened at the Seattle In- forts and lays out new ideas that address how
ternational Foundations Central American Donors the United States can secure its national inter-
Forum in Antigua, Guatemala, in September 2016. ests by better supporting the Northern Trian-
A follow-up meeting was held in Washington, DC gle in improving sustainable economic devel-
in December 2016; members remotely convened in opment, rule of law, and security.
February 2017 as well. The task force includes high- 2. To raise awareness and spur action among the
level policy makers, business executives, and civil three countries toward enacting the reforms
society leaders from each of the Northern Triangle necessary to improve security and economic
countries, along with US policy and private-sector opportunity.
leaders. (A full membership list is on p.TK.) 3. To build consensus across sectors and politi-
Co-chaired by former US Deputy Secretary of cal affiliations for a strategy that builds on the
State John Negroponte (who replaced General John Alliance for Prosperity.
Kelly in December 2016, following his appointment 4. To ensure momentum for efforts to make the
as Secretary of Homeland Security), former Vice Northern Triangle a long-term foreign policy
President of Guatemala Eduardo Stein, former Min- priority.

INDEPENDENT TASK FORCE REPORT|BUILDING A BETTER FUTURE11


Current Efforts
to Build Momentum

he 2014 surge of unaccompanied chil- on specific actions, such as tackling corruption,


dren and adults with children from the strengthening institutions, facilitating the safe re-
Northern Triangle to the Southwest border patriation of unauthorized migrants, and counter-
of the United States galvanized biparti- ing the activities of criminal organizations.7 Funding
san US support for a strategy to reduce that balances security and development, provides
child migration from the Northern Triangle. The technical support, and is subject to stringent exter-
increased financial support, technical assistance, nal oversight will be critical in expanding economic
and diplomatic attention by the United States and opportunity and building institutional capacity. But
much of the international community represented while the $750 million in aid to Central America is
an unprecedented investment in laying the ground- an important catalyst for reform, it alone will not
work for a secure and prosperous Central Amer- be enough to create sustainable change.
icawith modern borders, strong institutions, in- It is imperative to recognize the direct benefits
terconnected electricity and infrastructure grids, to the United States of a more prosperous North-
and productive human capital. ern Triangle. This will not happen
To date, international attention overnight, making it critical to put
has helped push local leaders in place a multiyear bipartisan
to action, most notably in the The regions effort. With a long-term com-
judicial sector, but far-reaching, business and mitment, the United States will
comprehensive progress remains political leaders be best positioned as a partner
a long-term proposition. have taken renewed in producing durable, construc-
The US Congress recognized interest in carving tive results.
the importance of this effort and a better path To be successful, a multiyear
came together to support the Plan forward for their strategy also must address chal-
of the Alliance for Prosperity in countries, but lenges on the US side. Imple-
the Northern Triangle of Central sustained outside mentation must be focused on a
America. At the Plans launch in assistance is critical. core objective while still adapt-
November 2014, the US Congress able enough to respond to con-
authorized a 75 percent increase gressional calls for immediate re-
in aid for Central America, from $317 million in fiscal sults to justify increased US involvement.
year 2014 to $560 million in fiscal year 2015. Con- Course corrections are inevitable with any such
gress increased the Central America aid budget by long-term foreign assistance programas was
an additional 34 percent to $750 million in fiscal the case when Plan Colombia (see the next page)
year 2016.6 These funds must reach the countries evolved from a counter-narcotics strategy to a nar-
in a timely manner and be disbursed effectively. co-terrorist strategy post-9/11and this flexibility
In an effort to hold Northern Triangle govern- will be critical to sustained US involvement in the
ments accountable for reform, US aid is conditioned Northern Triangle. Finally, any long-term strategy

12INDEPENDENT TASK FORCE REPORT|BUILDING A BETTER FUTURE


CURRENT EFFORTS TO BUILD MOMENTUM

should balance the preference of some US lawmak- and international financial institutions.10 Colombian
ers for a focus on security assistance with those taxpayer funds financed nearly 95 percent of the
who prefer support for justice and rule of law in- total investment in Plan Colombia. The plan suc-
stitutions. Both are fundamental to success. This ceeded because of bipartisan support in Congress
report seeks to balance these complementary ob- and a shared interest between the United States
jectives through its recommendations. and Colombia to address the roots of lawlessness
and clamp down on narco-trafficking guerrillas.
BUILDING ON US ASSISTANCE The challenges in the Northern Triangle are dis-

T he new funding follows substantive but still frag-


mented US approaches toward assistance for
the Northern Triangle in previous years. The Cen-
tinct from those in Colombia: It is a drug-transit
region, rather than drug-producing, for example,
and has a narrower tax base that is unable to sup-
tral America Regional Security Initiative
(CARSI), led by the US Department of
State, has contributed $1.5 billion since
2008 to disrupting criminal networks
and enhancing state security appara-
tuses, as part of a broader strategy to
strengthen law enforcement, build in-
stitutional capacity, and address un-
derlying socioeconomic challenges in
Central America.8 While the program
has improved law enforcement capa-
bilities, it must also promote an inte-
grated approach among countries and
garner equal commitment from host
governments.
Another US entity, the Millennium Presidents Salvador Snchez Cern, Juan Orlando Hernndez, and
Challenge Corporation (MCC), has Jimmy Morales at a 2016 Northern Triangle presidential summit.

made laudable advances toward fos-


tering private investment and improving infrastruc- port similar levels of complementary funding. But
ture.9 Since 2005, it has provided nearly $1 billion a comprehensive and sustained effort, like that of
to the three countries through both compacts and Plan Colombia, will be imperative to a similar revi-
SOURCE: PRESIDENCIA EL SALVADOR/FLICKR

threshold programs, with El Salvador receiving the talization. Already, Colombian advisorswith key
bulk ($738 million) of those funds. Both CARSI and US fundinghave provided assistance to secu-
MCC funding levels face an uncertain future in the rity forces in the Northern Triangle, training nearly
current budgetary cycle. 10,000 security officers in the three countries com-
By comparison, Plan Colombia, which helped bined.11 Now, the critical challenge is measuring this
put a blighted country on the path to becoming a efforts long-term success.
middle-income nation, began in 2000 with $860 Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador have each
million in US assistance and involved nearly $10 demonstrated significant political will by taking
billion in aid over fifteen years, spurring signifi- steps in crucial areas, most notably by strength-
cant investments by the Colombian government ening judicial institutions. The UN-backed Interna-

INDEPENDENT TASK FORCE REPORT|BUILDING A BETTER FUTURE13


CURRENT EFFORTS TO BUILD MOMENTUM

tional Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala One lesson learned: Any successful course of
(CICIG) has revealed deep-seated corruption within action must be embraced by stakeholders in civil
the political and judicial systems. Its investigative society and the private sector. Guatemalans sup-
work led to the exposure of corruption under the port for CICIG helped extend its mandate, Hondu-
Otto Prez Molina administration, including the rans outrage over the IHSS embezzlement case
ouster of both Prez Molina and Vice President led to the creation of MACCIH. In El Salvador, a
Roxana Baldetti. In Honduras, the Mission to Sup- coalition of civil society organizations pushed for
port the Fight Against Corruption and Impunity in a new law guaranteeing public access to govern-
Honduras (MACCIH), established in February 2016 ment information.14
with support from the Organization of American
States (OAS), has begun investigating an embez- ALLIANCE FOR PROSPERITY:
zlement scandal involving the Honduran Social A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION
Security system (IHSS).12 The Honduran Congress,
spurred by MACCIH, enacted a campaign finance
law in January 2017 to prevent illegal funds from
T he three Northern Triangle countries launched
the Plan of the Alliance for Prosperity in the
Northern Triangle in November 2014, with techni-
entering politics and to increase oversight of polit- cal assistance from the IDB. The Alliance for Pros-
ical parties.13 In El Salvador, the new attorney gen- perity aims to create economic opportunities for
eral, Douglas Melndez, has launched a number citizens in the three Northern Triangle countries,
of high-profile corruption investigations, includ- so that they will be motivated to stay. It is working
ing cases against former presidents Antonio Saca in four strategic areas: developing human capital;
and Mauricio Funes. improving public safety and access to the justice
system; fostering the produc-
tive sector; and strengthen-
ing institutions.
To support the five-year
development plan, the US
Congress approved a record
$750 million aid package for
the region.15 While none of
the initial funds approved
had reached the Northern
Triangle by the end of 2016,

SOURCE: US EMBASSY GUATEMALA/FLICKR


Honduras had received $125
million and El Salvador $98
million as of February 2017.
Most importantly, the Plan
of the Alliance for Prosperity
represents a crucial improve-
CICIG Commissioner Ivn Velsquez, Assistant Secretary for International ment in how the region lever-
Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs William Brownfield, Attorney General ages US assistance with its
Thelma Aldana, and US Ambassador to Guatemala Todd Robinson (left to
right) following a meeting at the US Embassy in March 2017.
own financial commitments.
The governments of the three

14INDEPENDENT TASK FORCE REPORT|BUILDING A BETTER FUTURE


CURRENT EFFORTS TO BUILD MOMENTUM

in 2016, although
human rights groups
have expressed con-
cern about extra-
judicial executions
by security forces.18
Similar concerns are
voiced about Hon-
duras by the United
Nations.19
Institutional
strengthening is an-
other priority. The
IDB reported a posi-
tive bump in tax rev-
enues in El Salva-
dor (by 0.5 percent
Representatives from the Northern Triangle countries and the United States meet during of gross domestic
a 2015 Alliance for Prosperity summit. productGDP) and
Honduras (by 2.3
countries have taken ownership of the plan and percent) between 2013 and 2015.20 El Salvador also
have worked to annually complement US fund- hired one hundred new assistant prosecutors and
ing with their own. Guatemala, El Salvador, and approved a 5 percent telecommunications tax to
Honduras collectively budgeted $2.8 billion for fund security-related measures.21 A similar tax to
the plan in 2016, with a slight increase to $2.9 bil- fund anti-corruption policies proposed by CICIG
lion in 2017. That means local taxpayer funds rep- has not had the support of Guatemalan lawmak-
resent 80 percent of total Alliance for Prosperity ers and business leaders.
budgeted resources. Still, the Alliance for Prosperity was developed
So far, there have been some improvements in quickly, without robust consultation across all
citizen security and access to justice. This has been sectors of society to address the deep structural
accomplished by cleaning up the police, implement- challenges facing the countries. More concerted,
ing more robust security policies, and investing in multi-sectoral action is needed, especially in build-
SOURCE: PRESIDENCIA EL SALVADOR/FLICKR

increasingly independent fiscalas (attorneys gen- ing a more competitive investment environment to
eral). In an unprecedented move in Honduras, nearly attract and sustain private investment-generating
40 percent of police forces were removed by the jobs. The private sector, in particular, must be part
government in 2016, with ousters beginning with of the solution, especially given its outsized con-
the top commanders.16 Salaries have increased for tribution to GDP in the countries. While the Plan
security forces in El Salvador (by 25 percent) and of the Alliance for Prosperity is an important initial
for low-ranking members of the police in Hondu- step in the right direction, it must continue. This
ras (by 78 percent). Nearly 5,000 police officers in task forces conclusions complement the Plan, and
the three countries have received additional train- its recommendations build on current efforts by
ing.17 In El Salvador, murders dropped 20 percent the three countries.

INDEPENDENT TASK FORCE REPORT|BUILDING A BETTER FUTURE15


A Blueprint for Addressing
the Regions Top Challenges

hrough a deep analysis of the


situation in the Northern Tri-
angle and consideration of
the baseline poll results, the
Northern Triangle Security
and Economic Opportunity Task Force
outlined the top challenges in which the
United States can be of further assis-
tance and sought solutions that would
bring together Northern Triangle gov-
ernments, the US Congress, the US pri-
vate sector, and the international com-
munity. At the same time, the task force
believes that US assistance must be met
with additional game-changing mea-
sures taken by the governments, pri-
vate sector, and civil society within the
three countries themselves. The cen-
tral focus for the recommendations that follow is excluding others. There is no doubt that other
how to move the needle in those areas that would issuesincluding health and indigenous rightsare
directly impact US interests. invaluable to the Northern Triangles progress. But,
Each recommendation responds directly to a by elevating these three main concerns, the task
core challenge being faced, with the overall ideas force aims to empower mutually beneficial strate-
organized into three categories: gic partnerships between the United States and
1. Sustainable economic development (p.TK) Central America and highlight their importance to
2. Security (p.TK) US national interests.
3. Rule of law (p.TK) Additionally, the task force suggests more ef-
As demonstrated by the results of the public fective ways to measure impact, increase trans-
opinion poll, these issues are at the root of the vi- parency, and ensure accountability regarding the
olence affecting Central America, causing tens different efforts underway and the resources avail-
of thousands to flee their countries. By breaking able to the region. Regular monitoring and evalu-
down complex regional issues into tangible prob- ation by the United States and local governments,
lems, the task force has identified areas in which as well as civil society actorsof both funds allo-
SOURCE: ISTOCK

the United States and the international community cated by the United States and money directed by
can assist domestic actors. the three governments toward a shared planwill
The task force realizes that its three-pronged ensure better coordination among complemen-
approach inevitably overlaps on some issues, while tary initiatives.

16INDEPENDENT TASK FORCE REPORT|BUILDING A BETTER FUTURE


Building Sustainable
Economic Development GAME CHANGERS

A
lready underdeveloped, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Hon-
UNITED
duras were hit hard by the 20082009 global economic
STATES
crisis. Recovery has been slow, compounded by factors
such as natural disasters and a coffee rust. Unemployment has Facilitate creation of an
fluctuated, and even risen, in recent years.22 High levels of jobless- infrastructure fund
ness pose grave risks to societies where gang recruitment thrives Focus assistance on mi-
among jobless youth and fractured families. The percentage of grant-sending commu-
youth who neither study nor work is staggeringup to a quar- nities and intermediary
ter of people ages fifteen to twenty-nine in El Salvador and Hon- cities
duras, compared with 20 percent in Latin America as a whole. 23 Increase informa-
Jobless youth today will spell further trouble in the years to tion-sharing to help put
come. In 2033, the regions demographic windowthe period in place an effective
when there are many workers and few dependentswill close,24 system to help reinte-
creating a greater imperative to make sure youth gain the skills grate returned Northern
today to support themselves and their families. This makes it even Triangle residents
more crucial to provide clear pathways for all youthincluding
US returneesto access the formal labor market and see a future NORTHERN
that does not revolve around illicit activities. TRIANGLE
Task force poll results show that the cost of basic needs is the
top concern for citizens in Honduras (43 percent) and Guatemala Prioritize improving sec-
(30 percent). However, dialogue between the government and ondary and tertiary
the private sector, crucial to creating jobs, has been either no- roads in key economic
ticeably absent or unproductive in each of the three countries, as development zones.
have broadly connected vocational and technical education pro- Focus funding on strate-
grams that extend beyond laudable but isolated corporate efforts. gic sectors for economic
The recommendations here seek sustainable economic de- growth.
velopment that will discourage migration and criminality and lay Create a trinational insti-
the groundwork for future generations. The following core issue tution in charge of co-
areas are addressed below: ordination among all
Integration and infrastructure (p.TK) border actors
Key sector development (p.TK)
Human capital development (p.TK)

INDEPENDENT TASK FORCE REPORT|BUILDING A BETTER FUTURE17


BUILDING SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
1

INTEGRATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE


CHALLENGE: overseen by an independent body, composed of

W ell-functioning, efficient infrastructure is a


crucial step toward fostering job creation
and foreign investment in the Northern Trian-
multilateral institutions, civil society, and the pri-
vate sector. US and Northern Triangle businesses
could then invest through the fund in transporta-
gle.25 Businesses need adequate infrastructure to tion and energy projects, working with Northern
thrive, and citizens need it to reach job opportuni- Triangle governments to establish public-private
ties. But opportunities for infrastructure projects partnerships (PPPs), while placing an emphasis on
have suffered due to the lack of a transparent, in- regional integration and sharing technical expertise.
tuitive framework for public-private partnerships. 26
By statute, US assistance managed by the De-
At the same time, poor infrastructure has made it partment of State and USAID, including the $750
hard for the Central American Integration System million, can only fund infrastructure to combat
(SICA)which also includes Nicaragua, Panama, crime and narcotics trafficking. One option is for
Belize, Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic Congress to authorize the MCC, which implements
and other regional agreements to foster necessary infrastructure projects, to move forward with a re-
regional integration and global competitiveness. gional compact that promotes Northern Triangle
Business executives from six Central American integration. A complementary action would be for
countries ranked roads as inferior in quality to air- the US Congress to consider approving loan guar-
ports, ports, and electricity supply in the World antees for infrastructure projects. Such an initiative
Competitiveness Index, identifying a clear priority could also provide incentives such as zero-coupon
for infrastructure investment by Northern Triangle bonds to companies with infrastructure develop-
governments.27 Inadequately paved, poor-qual- ment projects in the region. Latin American Part-
ity roads are a time drain on cargo movement, re- ners $188 million Central American Mezzanine In-
sulting in high transport costs and product losses, frastructure Fund29 provides one model for such a
particularly for time-sensitive agricultural prod- project, as does the Colombian governments mul-
ucts. Small producers are particularly affected by tibillion-dollar investment in infrastructure.30 All
poor road quality. 28
projects must be developed in consultation with
US companies seeking to enter the infrastruc- local community groups and interests.
ture market have difficulty competing due to local At the same time, Northern Triangle countries
inefficiencies and government inability to attract should harmonize existing PPP frameworks and
sufficient investment. Moreover, corruption scan- prioritize improving secondary and tertiary roads
dals surrounding public infrastructure have hin- in productive areas, chosen in consultation with
dered the ease of doing busi- trade groups of diverse industries.
ness and increased reservations Governments should reduce costs
toward further developing large- in these projects by applying strict
scale projects. Businesses oversight to combat corruption.
need adequate CHALLENGE:
infrastructure to
RESPONSES:
The United States should
facilitate the creation of an
thrive, and citizens
need it to reach
U ncoordinated operation of
border control agencies, in-
adequate customs systems, and
international infrastructure fund, job opportunities. bureaucratic red tape often cancel

18INDEPENDENT TASK FORCE REPORT|BUILDING A BETTER FUTURE


BUILDING SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
1

out the advantages of the existing chandise serves as a precedent


transportation infrastructure. Sub- for similar initiatives in Northern
Substandard
standard infrastructure and cus- Triangle countries. Eight of ten
toms delays, among other prob-
infrastructure and Atlantic Council poll respondents
lems, contribute to the Northern
customs delays supported such a plan.
Triangles reputation as a chal-
contribute to the Programs like the Trusted
lenging place to do business. The
Northern Triangles Trader program (a joint US-Can-
three countries rank at or near reputation as a ada, and US-Mexico program),
the bottom half of countries in challenging place and the Customs-Trade Part-
the 2016 Doing Business Index.31 to do business. nership Against Terrorism pro-
gram (a public-private supply
RESPONSES: chain security initiative) are two
There are clear benefits for both local and US busi- well-known initiatives that deliver increased secu-
nesses, if it becomes easier to trade with the region. rity while also providing expedited customs clear-
The United States should double down on cur- ance to pre-vetted shipments.
rent efforts to help Northern Triangle countries The three countries should create a trinational
modernize and streamline customs procedures institutionpotentially led by their vice pres-
and implement standardized electronic data pro- identsin charge of coordinating all border
cessing, risk management systems, and im- actors, including customs, migration, police, and
proved border infrastructure. USAID has re- trade authorities. This institution should build on
cently released funding toward a regional facility the customs union created in 2015 by Guatemala
to reduce transit times and improve intraregional and Honduras (assuming it proves successful) at
trade. Efforts could include enforcing mandatory their shared border.33 The goal is to improve border
vehicle tag use and registration and introducing operations and institutional linkages. All of these
technology to trace trucks and public transporta- respective agenciesplus private-sector represen-
tion vehicles. As a start, the Department of Home- tativeswould have a voice and a stake in this in-
land Security has also invested in border security stitution. This institution should be charged with
programs to facilitate trade and US Customs and carrying out the following objectives:
Border Protection (CBP) has created border units Increase bilateral coordination and harmoniza-
in the three countries. tion of practices on both sides of shared borders.
The United States should seek to replicate Establish an online portal that publishes de-
successful efforts with Mexico and Canada tailed records of commercial activities, customs
by organizing a public-private supply chain secu- data, and sanitary measures in an easily acces-
rity initiative among the Northern Triangle govern- sible manner.34
ments and US businesses that specializes in the Improve customs procedures with improved pro-
physical safety of transported goods. Reducing cesses, nonintrusive inspections, and develop-
cargo security costswhich today can reach up to ment of risk profiling capabilities.
22 percent of the value of freightand optimizing The United States should also encourage and
en route conditions by introducing monitoring sys- help facilitate full implementation of the Interna-
tems and secure areas for drivers will help make the tional Goods Customs Transit (TIM), an important
region more attractive for trade.32 The use of radio tool for integrated trade facilitation, customs con-
frequency identification (RFID) in Brazilian trucks trol, and border security.35
to ensure tracking and increased safety of mer-

INDEPENDENT TASK FORCE REPORT|BUILDING A BETTER FUTURE19


BUILDING SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
1

KEY SECTOR DEVELOPMENT


CHALLENGE: with the potential for growth in vital industries

W hile southern Mexico and Central America


comprise an attractive market of 70 million
people, it is neither formal nor integrated. The Sep-
such as tourism and apparel, while also directing
funding for areas from which children migrate to
the United States. Employment-generation assis-
tember 2016 poll commissioned by the Atlantic tance should be directed toward those areas that
Council found that for the majority of Salvadorans have the best potential for actually generating jobs
(51 percent), Guatemalans (70 percent), and Hon- in all rural and urban zones. Although it extends
durans (77 percent) with friends or relatives who beyond just one city, one example of an employ-
had migrated, reported that they had done so in ment-focused project in El Salvador would be de-
search of better economic opportunities. Another velopment of the triangle stretching from the cos-
poll in Guatemala found that 57 percent of people mopolitan suburb of Santa Tecla to the Comalapa
migrated looking for jobs and 26 percent did so Airport and beach resorts of Mizata and Estero de
because of the economy,36 thus making it crucial Jaltepeque, which would have a positive impact on
to invest in communities with the highest employ- the development of the tourism, fishing, and avi-
ment-generating potential. ation industries.

RESPONSE: CHALLENGE:
As a strategy to facilitate regional trade and bol-
ster job creation, the United States should prior-
itize development aid both to intermedi-
I n a region where six million people will enter
the job market in the next six years, formal-sec-
tor job creation is a fundamental step to boosting
ary cities along major transportation routes economic growth.37 The three countries need to
focus on new sectors of em-
ployment and revive old sec-
tors. Agriculture, for example,
employs almost half of all work-
ing men in the Northern Trian-
gle, but represents a shrinking
share of GDP.38

RESPONSES:
Northern Triangle coun-

SOURCE: ALEXANDER BONILLA/FLICKR


tries should identify
strategic sectors for eco-
nomic growth (such as agri-
culture and tourism) and focus
funding on these sectors to
complement US investment.
Governments must bring to-
The San Salvador volcano extends through Quezaltepeque, San Juan Opico,
Coln, Nejapa, and Santa Tecla areas that are ripe for further investment gether diverse societal actors
to formulate long-term eco-

20INDEPENDENT TASK FORCE REPORT|BUILDING A BETTER FUTURE


BUILDING SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
1

La Gran Va, a shopping mall and lifestyle center located in Antiguo Cuscatln, El Salvador, is a direct product of
San Salvadors urbanization and rising investment.

nomic plans, bringing in outside mediators if nec- and increased yields. US companies should also
essary, as El Salvador has done with the United Na- continue supporting institutions like Zamorano in
tions.39 These dialogue sessions should draw upon Honduras to train the next generation of farmers.
evidence-based tools, research, and analysis by Still, while empowering farmers is an important ob-
think-tanks and educational institutions to iden- jective, it is imperative to remain focused on how
tify new strategic sectors (telecommunications and to best prepare the workforce for being compet-
call centers, for example) and ways to expand and itive for the jobs of tomorrow. Governments must
adapt old ones. Economic growth should be com- foster an innovation-friendly policy environment.
plemented by a strategy that improves the overall The three countries also should identify
quality of life through social progress. sectors where informality rates are high-
The United States should support and est and impose stricter penalties for tax evasion
build on agriculture projects that empower for businesses profiting from contraband. These
small farmers, by providing technical assistance sectors could include the wholesale distribution
and access to markets. The US should expand of food and mass-consumption goods, and sales
strategies like the ACCESO project in Honduras of alcohol and tobacco. Effective penalization of
and Feed the Future in Guatemala, funded by MCC large-scale tax evasion can reduce informality.41 A
SOURCE: ALEX AYALA/FLICKR

and USAID, which educated poor farmers on drip strategy to identify these sectors and estimate the
irrigation systems and offered an opportunity to percentage of GDP that informality comprises is
intensify production with improved productivity the first step toward combating it. Governments
and yields.40 Such projects must include not only should also consider a simplified tax system for
education about new farming technology, but also SMEs and tax incentives, such as temporary abate-
links with potential buyers through cooperatives to ments, for merchants to bring their businesses into
ensure that there is a market for the new products the formal sector.

INDEPENDENT TASK FORCE REPORT|BUILDING A BETTER FUTURE21


BUILDING SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
1

HUMAN CAPITAL
CHALLENGE: RESPONSES:

I nadequate educational opportunities exacer-


bate disadvantages for Northern Triangle youth.
In 1984, the National Bipartisan Commission on
Effective systems must be put in place to
reintegrate returned Northern Triangle
residents into their home societies. Long-term
Central America, led by Henry Kissinger, identified comprehensive reintegration services remain lim-
reforming the regions schools as a critical step ited and reach only a fraction of returnees.46 The
toward stability and prosperity.42 Since then, the United States should provide additional resources
adult literacy rate and primary school attendance to increase coordination among Northern Triangle
have improvedmore than 85 percent of children government agencies, nongovernmental organi-
attend primary school nowbut public schools zations (NGOs), and the private sector to connect
still fail to prepare students for todays globalized deportees to social services and employment pro-
job market.43 grams, thus discouraging future migration attempts.
In Guatemala and Honduras, less than half of The United States should also provide technical
eligible children attend secondary school, 44 while assistance to help Northern Triangle governments
in El Salvador in 2015, more than 39,000 children manage, collect, analyze, and share information on
were forced to drop out due to gang violence.45 migration trends and best practices for reintegra-
The lack of economic mobility caused by insuffi- tion. While El Salvador was the first to set up re-
cient education makes joining a gang or another ception programs, such as the Migrant Attention
illegal group one of the only choices available in Center La Chacra,47 the Guatemalan government is
a region where unemployment and underemploy- currently providing more comprehensive services
ment abound. The other option for youth is to head to its returned citizens.48
north to the United States in search of opportunity. At the same time, Northern Triangle coun-
tries should implement a jobs
creation initiative that targets
small and medium enterprises. One
such example is Technoserves Im-
pulsa Tu Empresa program, which
helps SMEs in the region boost
their growth through mentoring
and business training. Governments
should integrate entrepreneurial
skills into educational curricula to

SOURCE: NELO MIJANGOS/FLICKR


foster innovation among younger
students. Sector-specific intern-
ship and training programs should
be sponsored in areas where busi-
nesses and universities better link
workers with small and medium
A family business owner in Guatemala works on the manufacturing
enterprises. Government-hosted
of his leather products.
roundtables with young entrepre-

22INDEPENDENT TASK FORCE REPORT|BUILDING A BETTER FUTURE


BUILDING SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
1

neurs, companies, and NGOs should be convened mote economic growth while guaranteeing labor
to identify pain points in the process of starting rights and protections.
a business. The United States should also support
Northern Triangle countries should pro- more funding for scholarships that bring Central
mote more effective job reinsertion programs American students to the United States, including
for former gang members. Local policy makers an increase in the number of scholarships under
should lead the way in overcoming social stigma the Fulbright Foreign Student Program and the
and helping civil society and the private sector un- Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative. In the
derstand that finding alternative economic activ- legacy of the Central American Program for Under-
ities for thousands of gang members is the only graduate Scholarship, which grew out of the presi-
way to eradicate criminal structures. Governments dential commission led by Henry Kissinger in 1984,
should look to the League Collegiate Outfitters a new program for university and technical-voca-
factory in El Salvador as a successful model, par- tional scholarships should be introduced to help
ticularly in its hiring, vetting, and monitoring pro- provide future generations of Central American
cess, as it provides an effective way for employers leaders with the necessary skills to transition to
to ensure that their employees are in good stand- a knowledge-based economy.50 Programs should
ing with the law.49 target low-income applicants, as well as indige-
The countries should also work to incor- nous students, and be accompanied by English
porate more women and youth in the labor force. language training to ensure they are properly pre-
Part-time employment and other such options pared for university in the United States; the schol-
that improve access to formal labor opportuni- arship recipients should be required to return to
ties can be successful in creating jobs and foster- their home countries after completing their educa-
ing a more inclusive workforce. Legislators should tion. Funding should build on the efforts of Guate-
seek guidance from industry leaders, union repre- futuro and Hondufuturo, as well as support a sim-
sentatives, and NGOs to ensure that reforms pro- ilar program in El Salvador.

MEASURING IMPACT
NEW WAYS TO DETERMINE ACCOUNTABILITY

Develop regular, in-country dialogues Work with the IDB to track host coun-
that monitor various metrics of economic try spending in areas that complement US
development, such as the Doing Busi- support. Establish permanent dialogue
ness Index and the Global Competitive- among governments and partner multilat-
ness Index. These should measure, but eral institutions to improve coordination.
not be limited to, variables such as reduc- Ensure that all related local funding is pub-
tions in informality, ease of doing busi- licly shared in an accessible format.
ness, and youth labor force participation.
Dialogue should include the private sector
and local NGOs that track public policy
effectiveness.

INDEPENDENT TASK FORCE REPORT|BUILDING A BETTER FUTURE23


Strengthening
GAME CHANGERS the Rule of Law
S
ystemic corruption, coupled with inefficient public spending and
UNITED insufficient local and foreign private investment, stagnates eco-
STATES nomic growth in the Northern Triangle. In fact, eight in ten poll re-
Direct existing funds spondents see corruption as widespread.
toward understaffed Numerous investigations reveal massive networks dedicated to co-opt-
fiscalas (attorneys ing public funds for the personal enrichment of government officials: La
general) Linea, which brought down Guatemalan President Otto Prez Molina; the
Offer increased cases against former Salvadoran officials, including ex-presidents Mauri-
technical assistance cio Funes and Antonio Saca and former Attorney General Luis Martnez;
to banking regulatory and corruption scandals in Honduras, including embezzlement of social
agencies, the security funds and links to the Cachiros criminal group, and allegedly in-
private sector, and volving the ruling party, the president, the military, the police, and some
multilaterals members of the private sector. Still, the successful prosecution of many
Direct more funding of these corruption cases demonstrates significant judicial advancements.
to local entities Corruption drags on growth, diverting resources away from develop-
with verified track ment and deterring investment from abroad. The World Economic Forums
records in transparent Global Competitiveness Index cited inefficient government bureaucracy as
spending the biggest problem for doing business in Honduras. In El Salvador, crime
and theft are the biggest factors. In Guatemala, crime and theft, corrup-
tion, and inadequate infrastructure were among the top factors.51
NORTHERN
At the same time, judicial authorities have struggled to respond to rising
TRIANGLE
crime and gang violence. An astounding 95 percent of all homicides in
Promote sharing of
the Northern Triangle go unpunished.52 This impunity stems from under-
best practices among
staffed police forces and prosecutors offices, underreporting, and the
judicial bodies of each
lack of science-based evidence collection, among other factors. Although
country
some improvements have been seen in El Salvador and Guatemala (see
Increase transparency
previous section), weak judiciariesa characteristic of the region since
in the election of
before the civil warsperpetuate crime and impunity: Criminals assume
secondary public
that they can get away with illegal activities, and victims do not bother
officials
reporting crimes. More than 75 percent of poll respondents have little or
Implement an
no trust in judges, and disenchantment with public institutions is exacer-
accelerated roadmap
bated by heightened political polarization at the national level.
to comply with
In addition to the economic consequences of corruption and impunity
international anti-
money laundering stunted entrepreneurship and low foreign investment, among themun-
standards trustworthy institutions make it incredibly challenging to find reliable part-
ners to implement responses to the regions top challenges. Addressing
this deficit is central to recommendations in the following areas:
Judicial institution building (p.TK)
Corruption and illicit flows (p.TK)
Public finance regimes (p.TK)

24INDEPENDENT TASK FORCE REPORT|BUILDING A BETTER FUTURE


STRENGTHENING THE RULE OF LAW
2

JUDICIAL INSTITUTION BUILDING


CHALLENGE: provide them with access to organizations central

J udicial institutions in the Northern Triangle are


notoriously weak and face many hurdles to
addressing systemic lawlessness. Strong institu-
and local offices. In recent years, the United States
has provided critical support to public ministries in
Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, embedding
tions deter crime, which, in turn, deters unautho- resident legal advisors to help build the capacity of
rized migration. Internationally supported efforts prosecutors, judges, and investigators working on
to strengthen institutionssuch as CICIG in Gua- high-profile cases.55 Such support has been an im-
temalaare a step in the right direction, and the portant factor in the creation of new anti-corrup-
conditions tied to the Alliance for Prosperity aid tion units, and has helped spur progress disman-
package offer an opportunity for Northern Triangle tling criminal structures like La Linea in Guatemala
governments to enact crucial reforms. The follow- and the financial holdings of the Mara Salvatrucha
ing recommendations chart a path toward stron- in El Salvador. This type of assistance should be
ger institutions and better defenses against cor- significantly expanded. Guatemalas twenty-four-
ruption, impunity, and illicit activities. hour courtsseven courts in seven jurisdictions
Citizens in the Northern Triangle do not trust the around the countryrepresent a successful strat-
government institutions responsible for monitoring egy to reduce backlogs and could be replicated in
politicians and curtailing corruption. Three-quar- the other two countries.
ters of Atlantic Council poll participants responded To make this collaboration more effective, the
that they believed it was possible to pay judges for United States should send more advisors through
a favorable ruling, while only 26 percent of Guate- the Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development
malans, 17 percent of Hondurans, and 14 percent Assistance and Training to Public Ministriesinclud-
of Salvadorans believe all people receive equal ing departmental offices outside the capitaland
treatment before the law. Less than 30 percent of also to specialized tribunals that oversee corrup-
residents in the three countries said they trusted tion-related and other high-profile cases. These
prosecutors and judges. Resolving the murders of advisors need not exclusively be from the United
Honduran activists Berta Cceres, Julian Aristides States: Northern Triangle governments should ex-
Gonzalez, Alfredo Landaverde, and Orlan Chavez plore further partnerships with other Latin Ameri-
is a critical step to building public trust.53 can countries, such as Colombia. US embassies in
the Northern Triangle are already facilitating re-
RESPONSES: gional coordination among attorneys general, but
Northern Triangle countries should reach this process should be significantly accelerated. In-
an agreement to expand the presence of ternational bodies, like Transparency International,
US and international advisors to judiciaries and are actively working to establish support networks
public ministries to help judges and prosecutors for judicial institutions around the world and could
clear the backlog of cases. Among other things, be a partner in this effort.
this would help alleviate the 7,500 to 8,000 people The United States should continue sup-
in prison awaiting sentencing in each country.54 porting the work of CICIG and ensure the
The United States should commit to sending ad- success of MACCIH and El Salvadors Anti-Impu-
visors, and the Northern Triangle countries should nity Unit within its fiscala. US government assis-

INDEPENDENT TASK FORCE REPORT|BUILDING A BETTER FUTURE25


STRENGTHENING THE RULE OF LAW
2

tance to Guatemala in 2016 in- eral will need additional physical


cluded $7 million for CICIG,56 protection to mitigate the threats
along with $5.2 million in fund- Attorneys general that come along with more con-
ing for MACCIH57 and technical are at the helm of certed action. Advisors can also
and financial support for El Sal- the anti-corruption help ensure that the treatment of
vadors new anti-impunity unit efforts in the investigations and resulting pro-
in the attorney generals office.58 Northern Triangle, ceedings remain apolitical.
It is critical to properly equip but they need Northern Triangle coun-
and train the new anti-impunity more resources tries should commit to in-
unit in El Salvador and strengthen to develop creasing transparency in the
CICIG and MACCIH. A significant independent elections of secondary public
portion of these institutions fund- judicial institutions. officials, such as supreme court
ing comes from voluntary inter- magistrates, accounts court
national donations, which must magistrates, and attorneys gen-
be sustained to continue progress. Latin American eral. The process by which Congress nominates
countries with success tackling corruption and or- and elects these officials is opaque and often is
ganized crime should send advisors to train their based more on political considerations than nom-
Northern Triangle counterparts. The international inees qualifications. It must be reformed to guar-
community should encourage the governments of antee institutional independence and prevent re-
Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador to create gression from the progress that has been made
medium- and long-term roadmaps to integrate in the regions judicial institutions in recent years.
anti-impunity units into their judiciaries, and pro- They should also promote sharing of best
vide technical and legal assistance to policy makers practices between judicial bodies of each
working on these plans. country. Last year the Northern Triangle countries
The United States should also direct ex- stepped up their efforts to coordinate their fight
isting funding toward understaffed fiscalas against gangs and insecurity.59 With US support,
to increase prosecutorial capacity. The perfor- and within the context of the Alliance for Prosper-
mance of the fiscalas should be evaluated to de- ity, the three national attorneys general met several
termine the areas that need strengthening. Attor- times and launched a trinational border force to
neys general are at the helm of the anti-corruption facilitate the capture of drug traffickers and gang
efforts in the Northern Triangle, but they need more members.60 Members of Guatemalas public min-
resources to develop fully functional and indepen- istry have also provided advice to the fiscalas in
dent judicial institutions. El Salvador and Honduras as they launched simi-
The United States should provide funding for lar anti-corruption efforts.
hiring and training additional prosecutors, and This new spirit of collaboration should be ex-
strengthening specialized units that prosecute panded to other institutionsincluding those in-
corruption, money laundering, narco-trafficking, volved with indigenous lawwith the goal of formal-
organized crime, and other complex cases. Attor- izing coordination among the justice departments
neys from the US Department of Justices anti-klep- of the three countries. More than 66 percent of poll
tocracy unit could be embedded to serve as men- respondents supported the creation of a tricoun-
tors and to facilitate cooperation between US and try body to combat corruption and improve the
local law enforcement. Judges and attorneys gen- administration of justice.

26INDEPENDENT TASK FORCE REPORT|BUILDING A BETTER FUTURE


STRENGTHENING THE RULE OF LAW
2

CORRUPTION AND ILLICIT FLOWS


CHALLENGE: trys Organized Crime Office, and includes police,

C orruption and other illicit activities in the North-


ern Triangle have led to low and downgraded
risk ratings in recent years. Coupled with the per-
prosecutors, and members of the Financial Inves-
tigation Unit of the National Banks and Insurance
Commission. The task force, which is supported
ception of weak governance and slow economic by US funds and has been trained and observed
growth, this endangers the regions prospects for by US, Colombian, and Costa Rican advisers, pur-
investment.61 sues money laundering and tax crimes, along with
asset forfeiture cases.62 It could serve as a model
RESPONSES: for similar units in other countries.
The United States should continue to pro- The United States should also support the reform
vide technical assistance to train police, of government auditing functions to create
public accountants, prosecutors, and judges in an institution similar to the Government Ac-
using technology to investigate financial crimes. countability Office. Currently, institutions such as the
Honduras has made significant progress in this Tribunal Superior de Cuentas in Honduras are built
area following the passage of a new asset forfei- on political appointments and lack independence.
ture law in 2010. The law strengthened the Office Northern Triangle governments should
of Administration of Seized Goods (Oficina Admin- create incentives to digitize financial trans-
istradora de Bienes Incautados) and helped launch actions (payroll, payments, disbursements, etc.)
the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law En- and reduce reliance on cash, especially in the
forcement Affairs (INL)-supported Financial Crimes public sector. This will make it easier for law en-
Task Force. This is now part of the Public Minis- forcement and regulatory bodies to track funds
and combat money launder-
ing, trafficking, and other fi-
nancial crimes. At the same
time, it will make it harder for
governments, businesses, and
individuals to engage in cor-
ruption and tax evasion. Ac-
tions could include requiring
the electronic distribution of
national and local subsidies
and conditional cash transfers,
salaries, social benefits, and
pensions. Countries could also
SOURCE: SURIZAR/FLICKR

adopt policies requiring public


entities, utilities, and private
entities, which are appointed
to perform public entity ac-
Massive anti-corruption protests in Guatemala in 2015 contributed to the
ouster of President Otto Prez Molina and the extension of CICIGs mandate. tivities, to accept electronic
payments.

INDEPENDENT TASK FORCE REPORT|BUILDING A BETTER FUTURE27


STRENGTHENING THE RULE OF LAW
2

The inappropriate movement plans. The perception of high risk


of money is enabled by manual for money laundering among
Even with recent
and cash processes. The ratio- Central American banks endan-
nale for digitizing these finan-
improvements, gers the regions prospects for
cial flows is straightforward: It is
Northern Triangle investment.63
more efficient and less expen-
countries have Governments should pass and
sive, offers greater visibility and
among the lowest enforce laws that meet the con-
control, reduces opportunities tax burdens trol mechanisms recommended
for money laundering, fraud, tax in the world, by the Caribbean Financial Action
evasion and other illicit activities, amounting to just Task Force and emulate the best
and fosters greater financial in- 16 percent of GDP. practices of sophisticated reg-
clusion. It is estimated that a 10 ulatory systems. El Salvadors
percent improvement in digitiz- 2015 amendment to the 1998
ing monetary flows has the potential to shift more anti-money laundering law is a step in the right di-
than $1 trillion into the formal economy. rection; the government must enforce the law and
The Northern Triangle should also commit strengthen awareness within the banking and finan-
to implementing an accelerated roadmap cial sector of compliance obligations.64
to comply with international anti-money laun- To complement this effort, the United
dering standards and introduce additional safe- States should increase technical assistance
guards against money laundering through pub- to banking regulatory agencies, the private sector,
lic-sector procurement. Implementation would and multilateral institutions to bring local regula-
require collaboration with regulators, the private tory frameworks and supervisory functions in line
sector, and multilateral institutions to develop these with international anti-money laundering standards.

PUBLIC FINANCE REGIMES


CHALLENGE: cient crackdown on these crimes further exacer-

E ven with recent improvements, Northern Trian-


gle countries have among the lowest tax bur-
dens in the world, amounting to just 16 percent of
bate the problem.

RESPONSES:
GDP.65 In general, the low tax intake is compounded The United States should ensure that US
by a lack of confidence in the governments abil- taxpayer money is spent responsibly, by
ity to spend public resources effectively and trans- allocating more funds directly to local entities
parently, thus creating a vicious cycle of mistrust. with verified track records in transparent spend-
The problems with the tax systems are com- ing. It should also put in place additional mecha-
plex and cannot be solved by simply raising taxes. nisms to prevent fraud and local corruption. One
By and large, taxes in the region are regressive: option to provide greater oversight over govern-
The majority of the population pay taxes through ment spending could include programs to send fi-
their daily consumption. Low tax collection com- nancial experts from the US Government Account-
bined with contraband, tax fraud, and an insuffi- ability Office to the region.

28INDEPENDENT TASK FORCE REPORT|BUILDING A BETTER FUTURE


STRENGTHENING THE RULE OF LAW
2

In countries with weak in- tion of tax evasion, fraud, and


stitutions, traditional top-down contraband, and reduce reliance
approaches to aid often fail to
The US should on public debt. While El Salvador
achieve lasting results. The United
place more has made progress in tax collec-
States should shift to a locally
emphasis on tion over the past decade, it cur-
driven approach, to support re- identifying local rently has the largest public debt
gional partners in the challenge actors who are in Central America (and second
of fighting corruption and reform- leading the fight for largest in Latin America), followed
ing dysfunctional institutions, in a more accountable closely by Honduras.66
similar vein to El Salvadors Plan governance. To promote more efficient
Salvador Seguro. management of increased tax
For this approach to be suc- revenues, tax reform must be ac-
cessful in the long term, the US should place more companied by fiscal reform and more responsible
emphasis on identifying local actors who are lead- government spending. Governments should care-
ing the fight for more accountable governance. fully analyze the tax incentives to attract more US
USAID has already begun to implement this ap- businesses, but with a recognition that incentives
proach through its Local Solutions Initiative, through alone will not attract foreign direct investment. Any
which it has pledged to increase the share of its tax incentives must strike a balance between max-
aid to local partners to 30 percent. Other US aid imizing foreign and local direct investment without
agencies, like the State Department and the Mil- irreparably harming the tax base. Newly raised funds
lennium Challenge Corporation, should follow suit. should be allocated to specific productive projects
Northern Triangle countries should fix and investments through check-off programs, to
uneven tax playing fields to generate public prevent misuse of funds. An oversight mechanism
funds and improve spending efficiency. Govern- led by civil society and the private sector should
ments should create integral strategies to reform guarantee that resources are spent correctly, simi-
tax regimes, remove distortions that favor certain lar to the experience with Colombias security tax.67
groups, expand the tax base, prioritize prosecu-

MEASURING IMPACT
NEW WAYS TO DETERMINE ACCOUNTABILITY

Set five- to ten-year benchmarks to proj- Measure the number of partnerships


ect and assess the success of institu- in place with US business and govern-
tion-building efforts. ment agencies to expand open data in the
public sector.
Ensure continued improvements in the
Transparency International Corruption Per- Work with the IDB to track host coun-
ceptions Index. try spending in areas that complement US
support.

INDEPENDENT TASK FORCE REPORT|BUILDING A BETTER FUTURE29


Improving Security

O
GAME CHANGERS ne of the most troubling problems for Northern Trian-
gle residentsespecially middle- and low-income citi-
UNITED zensis insecurity. Drug trafficking and conflict among
STATES rival gangsand between the gangs and the policeas well as
burgeoning levels of organized crime and impunity have made
Strengthen and promote
the region one of the worlds most violent.
properly implemented
Authorities estimate there are more than 85,000 active gang
community policing
initiatives. members in the Northern Triangle, with nearly a million morerel-
atives, business partners, corrupt police officersdependent on
Promote an increase in
the gangs.68 Though the two main gangs are the same through-
the number of women in
out the regionMara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and Barrio 18 (18th
the police force
Street)they have different organizational structures and modes
Ramp up financial and
of operation in each country. For example, street gangs in El Sal-
technical support to
vador, at least up until recently, rarely handle drugs (their main
reform the prison system
source of income is extortion), while gangs in Honduras and Gua-
temala have connections to organized crime and drug-traffick-
NORTHERN ing networks.69 In contrast to Mexican drug cartels, street gangs
TRIANGLE in the Northern Triangle make money mainly through vast extor-
Improve police tion networks through which they demand money from every-
accountability through: one, from corner tortilla vendors to international telecommuni-
greater independent cations companies and soft drink distributors.
reporting and Extortion has massive economic consequences, costing large
denouncing of police corporations millions of dollars and forcing small- and mid-sized
abuses; and new internal business to shut their doors; seven to ten shops a week close
and external controls in due to extortion in El Salvador, according to the National Coun-
the police force cil of Small Businesses.70 Likewise, extortion has a direct impact
Implement on the competitiveness and job generation of micro and small
comprehensive criminal businesses. According to a study by the Central Bank, Salvadoran
prison reform, focused businesses and individuals pay $756 million a year to gangs in ex-
on rehabilitation tortion fees and hundreds of millions more for private security.71
Target high-risk Though more sectors of society are seeing bloodshed as the ho-
neighborhoods for micide rate creeps up in the Northern Triangle, extortion garners
increased social and the most resentment among middle- and upper-class residents
educational programs although its damage is most acutely felt by the less advantaged.

30INDEPENDENT TASK FORCE REPORT|BUILDING A BETTER FUTURE


IMPROVING SECURITY
3

Authorities are not only unable to curtail the effects of


gang violence, there are no mechanisms to address social
Extreme poverty, a
issues that produce a proclivity to join gangs or to reduce
their influence in the region. Extreme poverty, a fragile social
fragile social fabric
fabric due to high levels of migration, and lack of employ-
due to high levels
ment opportunity create a social incubator for gangs to thrive.
of migration, and
Decades of civil war eroded traditional means of social sup- lack of employment
port and normalized violence and small arms possession.72 opportunity create
Gang influence disrupts the education system, forcing early a social incubator
dropouts.73 Migration and deportation have stimulated gang for gangs to thrive.
networks and made gang membership a means to recreate
social structure for many youths.
Additionally, women and girls face levels of violence
unseen in neighboring countries, with far-reaching impli-
cations for economic and gender equity. El Salvador, Hon-
duras, and Guatemala had three of the four highest rates of
female homicide in the world from 2007 to 2012, with esca-
lation each year.74 According to the Demographic and Health
Survey, more than 20 percent of women in Guatemala and
nearly 27 percent in Honduras have experienced some form
of domestic partner abuse.75 Increasingly, migrants flee-
ing the Northern Triangle and being detained in Mexico are
womenabout 14 percent of the total migrants in 2011 and
24 percent in 2015.76
Collaboration among Northern Triangle governments and
technical assistance from the United States will be neces-
sary for this effort to succeed, along with a serious invest-
ment in rehabilitation programs for ex-gang members and
prevention programs for at-risk youth. Efforts should focus
on the following areas:
Policing improvements (p.TK)
Criminal justice and prison reform (p.TK)
Gangs (p.TK)
Illicit trafficking (p.TK)

INDEPENDENT TASK FORCE REPORT|BUILDING A BETTER FUTURE31


IMPROVING SECURITY
3

POLICING IMPROVEMENTS
CHALLENGE: forts to empower the police in all three countries

T he Atlantic Council poll results found that vio-


lence is the top concern for families in El Salva-
dor, and second highest (after high cost of living)
have revealed authorities complicit in corruption,
organized crime, and drug-trafficking.

in Guatemala and Honduras. Judicial systems have RESPONSES:


also failed to hold state security authorities ac- The United States should increase the number
countable for human rights abuses. Investigations of advisors and coordinate the participa-
by media and the human rights ombudsmans office tion of additional international advisors to pro-
in El Salvador have found increasing evidence of vide technical assistance and training to local
targeted killings by police and the military, such as police forces. In Honduras, the US-backed Crimi-
the San Blas massacre in March 2015, which was nal Investigation School has trained thousands of
cited in the US State Departments 2015 human police officers and prosecutors in advanced inves-
rights report. In Honduras, newly released docu- tigation techniques and can provide important les-
ments about the 2009 assassination of the coun- sons for neighboring countries seeking to imple-
trys anti-drug czar revealed a vast conspiracy and ment similar models.78 The school opened in 2011
cover-up within the national police.77 Recent ef- with four US instructors, but soon employed Colom-

SOURCE: PAULIEN OSSE/FLICKR

Police forces in Honduras conduct routine street operations. Increasing police accountability and establishing
stringent internal controls would help reduce levels of violence.

32INDEPENDENT TASK FORCE REPORT|BUILDING A BETTER FUTURE


IMPROVING SECURITY
3

bians and eventually Hondurans to teach courses study the functional and systemic shortcomings
to their less experienced colleagues. The Interna- of the police, the ministerios pblicos, and the ju-
tional Law Enforcement Academy in El Salvador dicial branch. The Honduras Denuncia platform,
provides another ideal channel for expanding the which accepts complaints in the form of text mes-
presence of advisors in the region.79 The curricu- sages, e-mails, and telephone calls, is one exam-
lum should be consistently revised and technology ple of an effective tool; half of Salvadorans and 64
integrated into such specialty schools. percent of Guatemalans surveyed said they would
The United States also should strengthen be likely to use it.81 The platform, run by the Asso-
existing community policing initiatives, in ciation for a More Just Society, has contributed to
conjunction with local authorities, in order to the countrys unprecedented Police Purification
build trust and move away from mano dura (iron Commission, which, over the course of 2016, dis-
fist) strategies. In recent years, the United States missed more than 2,000 officers accused of cor-
has funded community policing initiatives in all ruption and criminal connections.82
three Northern Triangle countries through USAID More profound changes within police forces are
and CARSI, including the successful Villa Nueva necessary as well. Northern Triangle govern-
model police precinct (MPP) in Guatemala. But the ments should create mechanisms for hor-
programs potential gains have been izontal accountability for police
undercut both by the perceived cre- abuses involving both internal and
ation of parallel chains of command external controls, such as more rig-
within MPPs that supersede local More profound orous internal evaluation and pro-
police, and the simultaneous mili- changes within motion processes to prevent graft
tarization of security forces as a re- police forces and a specialized oversight of the
sponse to rising crime. are necessary. police by fiscalas.
One way to ensure that community Following these efforts, the
policing programs do not become a United States should also en-
token to receive aid and appease foreign govern- courage increasing the number of women
ments would be to require more frequent and rig- in the police force. Women comprise 14 percent
orous tracking and assessment of officers who par- of the police force in Honduras, 16 percent in Gua-
ticipate in the training.80 If evaluations prove that temala, and 8.6 percent in El Salvador.83 Research
community policing programs contribute to more shows that increasing the number of women in the
effective law enforcementand/or a greater sense police force leads to reductions in rates of rape,
of citizen security, as measured by opinion polls homicides, and sexual assault. The United States
the United States will have a stronger argument to should promote greater female participation in
encourage Northern Triangle governments to shift the police by allocating funds and advocating for
their own resources away from mano dura. programs that seek to hire more female police of-
Hand in hand with US assistance, the ficers, just as it has done in Afghanistan, Nigeria,
Northern Triangle countries should forge and Pakistan, where $133 million has been allocated
partnerships among government, private sector, toward recruiting, hiring, and training women for
and civil society groups to identify and improve the police force.84 Replicating these efforts in the
accountability through new mechanisms to de- Northern Triangle could produce tangible benefits.
nounce police abuses, such as internationally sup-
ported civil society initiatives to investigate and

INDEPENDENT TASK FORCE REPORT|BUILDING A BETTER FUTURE33


IMPROVING SECURITY
3

CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND PRISON REFORM


CHALLENGE: Triangle countries should implement com-

P risons in the Northern Triangle have slipped


beyond government control. The Organization
of American States ranked Northern Triangle prisons
prehensive prison reform focused on re-
habilitation. While the Northern Triangles prison
population has more than tripled over the past two
as among the worst in the hemisphere,85with sig- decades, spending on new facilities and rehabilita-
nificant evidence that gangs continue to engage in tion programs has barely budged. Recent measures,
illicit activities from inside prisons.86 Over the past such as restricting communications for inmates by
two decades, funding has barely increased as Gua- blocking cellphone coverage inside Salvadoran
temala, Honduras, and El Salvadors prison popu- prisons, and the ongoing construction of four new
lations have more than doubled. El Salvadors are prisons in Honduras, are steps in the right direc-
the most overcrowded, at over 300 percent of ca- tion.89 But, they must be matched by investments
pacity, creating severe impediments to rehabilita- in rehabilitation, including job training programs
tion and proper internal policing. Prisons, especially for even the most violent criminals, and funding
with the high number of pretrial detainees and the for more humane prison conditions.
mixing of youth with adults, provide de facto in- Recent reports indicate that 70 percent of minors
cubators for the next generation of those joining in Guatemalas penitentiary system are rehabilitated
gangs and trafficking organizations. while incarcerated, but that number falls to 40 per-
cent for minors affiliated with gangs,90 making it
RESPONSES: essential to implement differentiated rehabilita-
The United States should ramp up its finan- tion programs for gang-affiliated youth. While po-
cial and technical support for prison reform. litically unpopular, rehabilitation-focused prison
It should promote capacity building for local prison reform is essential to reducing crime and provid-
authorities through equipping, training, and men- ing alternatives to gang membership. As previously
toring programs, in addition to providing financial mentioned, the private sector also has an import-
assistance. The Bureau of International Narcot- ant role to play in facilitating reinsertion into the
ics and Law Enforcement Affairs has done this in labor market (see p.TK).
the past, contributing $10 million to creating 800
medium-security beds in Izalco Prison, El Salva-
dor in 2008. These types of efforts should be ex-
panded and complemented through a combina-
tion of technical and financial assistance, using
experiences in Mexico as a reference. With invest-

SOURCE: OAS/SMS ARENA ORTEGA /FLICKR


ments of nearly $24 million by the United States
and $8 billion from the Mexican government, and
with INL officials working directly with local cor-
rections authorities, the federal prison system in
Mexico more than quintupled its capacity between
2008 and 2013.87 It subsequently gained interna-
tional accreditation with the help of funding from
the Merida Initiative, a security cooperation part-
An inmate attempts to light a fire in the
nership between the two countries.88 Quezaltepeque prison in El Salvador.
In conjunction with this assistance, Northern

34INDEPENDENT TASK FORCE REPORT|BUILDING A BETTER FUTURE


IMPROVING SECURITY
3

GANGS
CHALLENGE: US Immigration and Customs

N orthern Triangle governments


have often responded to the
gangs with mano durairon fist re-
A priority strategy
should be to focus
Enforcement to provide com-
plete criminal histories for in-
dividuals deported on criminal
on education and
pressive tacticsthat have failed to grounds.92 The State Depart-
social initiatives
dismantle the gangs and instead cre- ment and the Department of
ated overcrowding in the prisons. A
in select at-risk Homeland Security should
truce between El Salvadors gangs
neighborhoods. expand the Criminal History In-
and its government in March 2012, formation Sharing (CHIS) pro-
cut the homicide rate in half (from 14 murders per gram, which has been operating in Honduras, Gua-
day in March 2012 to 5.5). But when the truce fell temala, and El Salvador since 2014, and commit to
apart in late 2013, the homicide rate began to climb; providing complete criminal histories for violent
2015 was the bloodiest year since El Salvadors civil offenders and criminals convicted of gang-related
war ended in 1993more than 6,650 murders were crimes. US agencies should work to better coordi-
reported, including over 60 police officers. nate domestic and international anti-gang efforts,
The gang problem is compounded by a lack of uniting strategies and task forces run by the State
coordination between US and local authorities re- Department, the Department of Homeland Secu-
garding deportees. Between 2013 and 2015, the rity, the FBI, and Northern Triangle governments.
three Northern Triangle countries received more At the same time, Northern Triangle au-
than 300,000 deportees from the United States.91 thorities should target high-risk neighbor-
Many deportees have some sort of criminal record, hoods for increased social and educational pro-
yet the Department of Homeland Security does not grams. Their efforts should embrace a more holistic
provide complete criminal histories of deportees approach to prevent youth from joining gangs. A
to authorities in the three Northern Triangle coun- priority strategy should be to focus on education
tries and only recently began sharing information and social initiatives in select at-risk neighborhoods,
such as gang affiliations. Insufficient funds to ef- and better coordinate with NGO and private-sector
fectively reintegrate deportees further exacer- efforts. More money should be spent on prevention
bates insecurity in the three countries. A difficult as well. Only 6 percent of the $318 million collected
assimilation process and lack of job prospects in- through Hondurass security tax between 2012 and
crease the appeal of joining gangs, or in the case July 2016 went toward prevention programs.
of gang-affiliated deportees, continuing to engage Northern Triangle governments should look to
in criminal activities. This challenge will become in- external anti-gang programs as models that could
creasingly imperative to address as the Trump ad- be adapted locally. US cities such as Boston and Los
ministration increases the number of deportations. Angeles have model programs, and there are lit-
tle-known but promising initiatives in other Central
RESPONSES: American countries. The Barrios Seguros program
The United States should increase infor- in Panama has offered amnesty and job training to
mation sharing with the region on gang more than 4,100 former gang members, while Nic-
members and criminals it deports and increase aragua has previously involved police in prevention
coordination among US agencies and Northern and rehabilitation efforts, as embodied in a five-
Triangle law enforcement. Since the mid-2000s, year program supported by the IDB to target at-
Central American governments have been asking risk youth in eleven municipalities.93

INDEPENDENT TASK FORCE REPORT|BUILDING A BETTER FUTURE35


IMPROVING SECURITY
3

ILLICIT TRAFFICKING
CHALLENGE: smuggling networks operated by criminal organi-

L ying between the drug-producing region of


South America and the drug market in the
United States, the Northern Triangle is an attrac-
zations that profit from families seeking reunifica-
tion or better economic opportunities. Estimates
show that nearly 80 percent of unaccompanied
tive transit corridor for drugs, guns, human traf- minors who reached the US Southwest border in
ficking, and other illicit goods. The US government 2014 had done so through smugglers.97 Unfortu-
estimates that the region accounts for approxi- nately, battles for control of profitable traffick-
mately 90 percent of the cocaine trafficked into ing routes often get lumped in with gang violence
the United States.94 The remote northeastern re- and street crime, with subsequent investigations
gions of Honduras are particularly busy with drug and prosecutions leaving smuggling networks un-
flights: In 2016, authorities estimated that 87 per- touched. This impunity contributes to the danger
cent of cocaine smuggling flights departing from and instability of the Northern Triangle.
South America landed in Honduras.95
The components that allow for drug traffick- RESPONSES:
ingporous borders, corrupt authoritiesalso Northern Triangle countries should build
permit other illegal trades. The region is witness- on the new trinational anti-gang force and
ing a surge in human trafficking, as evidenced by expand its capabilities to address organized crime
the 80 percent increase in human trafficking cases and drug trafficking. Guatemala, El Salvador, and
in Guatemala between 2012 and 2015.96 Child mi- Honduras announced a joint unit of police, mili-
grants are increasingly becoming susceptible to tary, intelligence, migration, and customs officials
to limit gang members
ability to flee justice in
their home countries. The
unit will monitor nearly
400 miles of shared bor-
ders and seek to capture
gang members, drug
traffickers, and other
criminals.98 This is a new
effort that expands on
the 2015 agreement be-
tween Honduras and

SOURCE: US ARMY SOUTH/FLICKR


Guatemala to deploy a
bilateral unit to combat
crime on their shared
border. To be effective,
governments should pro-
vide the necessary fund-
Members of Guatemalan Task Force Salerno conduct training operations in Jutiapa,
Guatemala in 2015.
ing and training to allow
for advanced intelligence

36INDEPENDENT TASK FORCE REPORT|BUILDING A BETTER FUTURE


IMPROVING SECURITY
3

sharing and regular communication and coordina- The United States should also commit
tion of operations. to sharing information on the monies held
The United States should work with local by Northern Triangle nationals in the US finan-
authorities to better identify, monitor, and cial system, in a similar fashion to the way these
constrict illicit corridors, to significantly impede countries treat US nationals under the Foreign
smuggling. The US should offer Account Tax Compliance Act
technical assistance and training (FATCA). To facilitate two-way
to help Northern Triangle police information sharing, the United
and prosecutors more effectively The United States States should seek intergovern-
identify, investigate, and pros- should improve mental agreements with Guate-
ecute trafficking structures. At coordination mala and El SalvadorHondu-
the same time, the United States and intelligence ras is currently the only Northern
should improve coordination and sharing among its Triangle nation that has signed a
intelligence sharing among its FATCA agreement. The United
federal and state
federal and state agencies and States should agree to provide
agencies and their
their Northern Triangle coun- information about transactions
Northern Triangle
terparts, since a majority of the undertaken between residents
counterparts.
goods that are being trafficked of the three countries and US
end up in the United States. For residents, which could be con-
example, the US treasury should expand its role in cealing both under- and over-invoicing. This type
money laundering investigations involving North- of agreement would provide local tax authorities
ern Triangle nationalsa strategy that has helped with crucial information to combat the use of trans-
bring forward cases against suspected drug traf- fer pricing and to improve tax collection, while also
ficking operations, such as the ongoing proceed- discouraging the use of foreign bank accounts as
ings surrounding the Rosenthal and Cachiros cases a mechanism to launder money.100
in Honduras. 99

MEASURING IMPACT
NEW WAYS TO DETERMINE ACCOUNTABILITY

Regularly publish security and crime data Measure the success of US funding with
to encourage accountability. five-year and ten-year benchmarks (e.g.
goals for crime rate reductions) that are
Use multiple variables, not just homicides,
set at the outset of disbursement.
to assess the quality of the rule of law and
state presence in remote areas. Work with the IDB to track host coun-
try spending in areas that complement US
support.

INDEPENDENT TASK FORCE REPORT|BUILDING A BETTER FUTURE37


Conclusion: A More Prosperous
Northern Triangle
and a Safer United States

here is no magic bullet for all the


issues plaguing the Northern Tri-
angle today. Any strategy that
focuses only on security and ne-
glects strengthening institutions
and fostering an enabling economic climate
will inevitably be insufficient. Only a holis-
tic approach that builds on recent efforts,
but also recognizes their shortcomings
and pushes for more assertive action, will
generate transformational change. That is
what is needed to profoundly alter course
in the region. If not, we are doomed to a
continued deterioration in the local econ-
omy, rule of law, and security with rever- School children in Guatemala pose during a rural school visit.
berations felt not only locally but also north
of the Rio Grande. vious US assistance. This is what is needed so that
The blueprint for action provided by this task weak states do not further deteriorate and so that
force provides targeted, fresh ideas for how to US taxpayers benefit from the necessary return on
move the needle forward in these three critical areas. investment of government resources.
More effective judiciaries, better-equipped and ac- The importance of US engagement in the region
countable police forces, efficient public spending, cannot be understated. In todays interconnected
more stringent anti-corruption measures, and im- world, insecurity in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, has
proved infrastructure frameworks are all mutually ramifications in Abilene, Texas. Recognizing the
reinforcing solutions. US action will serve to fur- nature of these issues is what has enabled mem-
ther spur regional governments to make far-reach- bers of Congress from both sides of the aisle to
ing reforms, as well. come together and lend their support to the three
The multi-sectoral nature of the task force has countries. The governments of El Salvador, Guate-
enabled it to put forward recommendations that mala, and Honduras have shown a renewed com-
SOURCE: MOONJAZZ/FLICKR
provide Congress, the Trump administration, and mitment to fully engage with the United States.
the governments of the three countries with a com- Today, such willingness provides the administration
prehensive and multifaceted strategy. Embracing and Congress with a unique opportunity to cata-
these measures will ensure a course correction in lyze critical, generative action. It is in the direct in-
necessary areas while building on the progress of terest of the security and prosperity of the United
efforts such as the Alliance for Prosperity and pre- States that they do so.

38INDEPENDENT TASK FORCE REPORT|BUILDING A BETTER FUTURE


TASK FORCE CO-CHAIRS AND MEMBERS

Mara Eugenia Brizuela de vila American Development Bank. Eduardo Stein served as
was the first female minister of He also served on the board vice president of Guatemala
foreign affairs for El Salvador, of directors of the World Bank from 2004 to 2008 and was
from 1999 to 2004, and left to and the International Monetary coordinator of the Honduran
take a position as president of Fund, and was a visiting fellow Truth Commission. From 1996 to
Banco Salvadoreno, becoming at the Kellogg Institute for 2000, Stein served as minister of
the first woman to lead a International Studies of the foreign relations of Guatemala,
private bank in El Salvador. University of Notre Dame. actively participating in the
She pioneered Corporate Cosenza began his career with countrys peace process and in
Sustainability at HSBC for the Honduran state-owned garnering international support
Latin America from 2006 to power utility, where he rose to for its implementation. Since
2015. She now participates on become CEO. leaving government, Stein has
boards such as Davivienda John Negroponte has held served as a consultant for the
El Salvador, Davivienda numerous US government International Organization
Honduras, and Universidad positions, including deputy for Migration and the United
JMDelgado. Brizuela has actively secretary of state, where Nations Development Program.
participated in socially oriented he served as the State He has also been president of
service institutions such as Departments chief operating the Foundation of the Americas
the Salvadoran Social Security officer. Ambassador and the head of various OAS
Institute, the Fund for Social Negroponte is currently Electoral Observation Missions.
Investment, FUSADES, FEPADE, vice chairman at McLarty Stein has ample experience in
Zamorano Agriculture School, Associates. Since 2009, he has coordinating and promoting
INCAE Business School, and also been the Brady Johnson international cooperation
she served as president of the distinguished fellow in grand among Latin American,
Vital Voices El Salvador Chapter strategy and senior lecturer European Community, and
and FUDEM. Her charitable in international affairs at Nordic governments and
work includes membership the Jackson Institute of Yale Central America, as a result of
on the global boards of Junior University, his alma mater. He his decade-long involvement
Achievement and PLAN has served as ambassador with the Action Committee
International. to Honduras, Mexico, the for the Support of the Social
Luis Cosenza served as the Philippines, the United Nations, and Economic Development
Minister of the Presidency in the and Iraq. In Washington, he of Central America. Among his
Ricardo Maduro administration, served twice on the National current international duties, he
responsible for coordinating Security Council staff, first as is one of the twelve members
the day-to-day activities of director for Vietnam in the of the International Commission
the government and working Nixon administration and then on Intervention and State
with multilateral and bilateral as deputy national security Sovereignty that reports to
donors. Cosenza spent eight advisor under President Reagan. the secretary general of the
years working with the Inter- He held a cabinet-level position UN. Stein is also one of the two
American Development Bank as the first director of national Latin American members of the
supervising projects in Costa intelligence under President International Crisis Group in
Rica and then preparing George W. Bush. Ambassador Brussels.
projects at headquarters. In Negroponte serves as chairman
1989, he joined the World Bank emeritus of the Council of the HONORARY CO-CHAIRS
and began working on projects Americas/Americas Society. He
in Africa and Latin America, has received numerous awards Congressman Eliot L. Engel
advising countries on electricity in recognition of his more is the Ranking Member of
and power projects until 1997. than four decades of public the House Foreign Affairs
In 2001, he served as campaign service, including the State Committee. Before becoming
manager for Ricardo Maduro Departments Distinguished Ranking Member, Mr. Engel
when he won the presidency Service Medal on two separate served as the Chairman
of Honduras. He has served as occasions, and in January and Ranking Member of the
executive director for Central 2009, President Bush awarded Subcommittee on the Western
America and Belize on the Ambassador Negroponte the Hemisphere. He also sits on
board of directors of the Inter- National Security Medal. the Energy and Commerce

INDEPENDENT TASK FORCE REPORT|BUILDING A BETTER FUTURE39


Committee. In December 2016, top challenges. At the Atlantic Roberto Rubio is the executive
President Barack Obama Council, in addition to directing director of the National
signed into law two of his bills its Northern Triangle Security Foundation for Development
related to Latin America and the and Economic Opportunity (FUNDE) in El Salvador. He
Caribbean: the USCaribbean Task Force, he has led work on is also the coordinator for
Strategic Engagement Act issues that include trade and the El Salvador chapter of
(H.R. 4939) and the Western commerce, China-Latin America Transparency International and a
Hemisphere Drug Policy trade, US-Cuba relations, featured columnist for La Prensa
Commission Act (H.R. 1812, energy transformations, and Grfica.
included in S. 1635). For twelve the Pacific Alliance. With the Guatemala
years prior to his election to Inter-American Development
Congress, Mr. Engel served in Bank, he oversaw a fifteen- Felipe Bosch Gutierrez is
the New York State Assembly country effort that led to the president of Losa Inversiones
(1977-1988). Prior to that, he December 2016 publication and the Guatemala
was a teacher and guidance of Latin America and the Development Foundation
counselor in the New York City Caribbean 2030: Future (FUNDESA). He also serves on
public school system. Scenarios, of which he was the the board of Corporacin Multi
lead author. He is also a lecturer Inversiones, a multinational
Congressman David G. Valadao conglomerate with investments
was born and raised in Hanford, in International Affairs at The
George Washington Universitys in the agriculture, food, real
California. Since 2012, Valadao estate, finance, and energy
has represented Californias 21st Elliott School of International
Affairs. Marczak was previously industries.
Congressional District, which
includes Kings County and director of policy at Americas Pedro Ixchu is an expert in
portions of Fresno, Kern, and Society/Council of the Americas, indigenous law and served
Tulare Counties. Most recently, where he was a cofounder of as advisor to the Guatemalan
in November 2016, Valadao Americas Quarterly magazine. judicial branchs Indigenous
was elected to serve a third He has served in positions Affairs Unit until 2016. He has
term in the United States House at the National Endowment been an active participant
of Representatives. Valadao for Democracy, the Andean in dialogues between the
is proud to serve on the Community General Secretariat, Public Ministry, CICIG, and the
influential House Appropriations and was a founding member of Human Rights Office regarding
Committee, which is the Partners of the Americas Center Guatemalas constitutional
committee responsible for for Civil Society. He began reform.
funding the federal government his career in the US House of Juan Carlos Paiz is the co-
and determining where Representatives. founder and president of Pani-
American tax dollars are spent. Fresh, an industrial bakery with
During his time in Congress, MEMBERS 300 employees that exports to
Congressman Valadao has 20 Latin American countries. He
served as the Co-Chair of the El Salvador has also served as Guatemalas
Central America Caucus, which Diego de Sola is a Central Presidential Commissioner for
is focused on directing US American committed to making Competitiveness, Investment
policy attention on the issues a positive impact on the region and Millennium Challenge
affecting the region. through his business and Corporation.
nonprofit endeavors. He is Salvador Paiz is vice president
currently CEO of Inversiones of the Guatemala Development
DIRECTOR Bolivar SA de CV, a 60-year- Foundation (FUNDESA). As
Jason Marczak is director of old real estate development president of the Sergio Paiz
the Latin America Economic firm specializing in multilevel Foundation (Funsepa), he has
Growth Initiative at the Atlantic housing and commercial sought to leverage technology
Councils Adrienne Arsht Latin projects. to improve the quality of
America Center. Marczak joined Alejandro Poma is director education in Guatemala. He
the Atlantic Council in October of Grupo Poma, a Salvador- is also the chairman of PDC,
2013 to help launch the center. based multiLatina. Poma is a a company with operations
He has more than fifteen years board member of Fundacion spanning from Mexico to
of expertise in Latin American Salvadorea para la Salud y Colombia.
policy leadership and analysis, Desarrollo Human (FUSAL) and
with a track record of working Gert Rosenthal was minister
INCAE Business School and is of planning of Guatemala
with high-level policy makers co-founder of Proyecto Pais,
and private-sector leaders to from 1969 to 1974 and foreign
a youth violence prevention minister from 2006 to 2008.
build consensus on the regions program in El Salvador. He has been the permanent

40INDEPENDENT TASK FORCE REPORT|BUILDING A BETTER FUTURE


representative of his country United States Mauricio Vivero is the founding
at the United Nations on two Anne Murphy is the senior CEO of the Seattle International
occasions (1999-2004 and international policy associate Foundation, a private institution
2008-2014), and headed his at Cargill. She joined Cargills working to alleviate global
delegation in the Security Washington, D.C., government poverty through grant-making
Council from 2012 to 2013. relations team in 2011 to and special initiatives. Under his
Honduras advance Cargills federal and leadership, the foundation has
international policy priorities awarded more than $16 million
Julieta Castellanos is a to 184 organizations in 60
Honduran sociologist and and expand the Cargill Political
Action Committee. countries.
the rector of the Universidad
Nacional Autnoma de Eric L. Olson is associate direc- Beyond the
Honduras (UNAH). In 2004, tor of the Latin American Pro- Northern Triangle
he founded the Observatorio gram and senior advisor to the Laura Chinchilla Miranda served
de la Violencia (Violence Mexico Institute at the Wood- as president of the Republic of
Observatory), a center that row Wilson International Center Costa Rica from 2010 to 2014,
analyzes crime statistics in for Scholars in Washington, D.C. the first woman to become
Honduras, at UNAH. His research and writing have president. Since leaving the
Carlos Hernndez is the focused on security issues and presidency, Chinchilla has led
executive president of the impact of crime, organized several judicial and electoral
the Association for a More crime, and violence on demo- missions for the United States
Just Society, a Honduran cratic governance. Agency for International
nongovernmental organization Thomas Pickering served Development (USAID), the
working on human rights and more than four decades as a United Nations Development
government transparency in US diplomat. He last served Program (UNDP), and the Inter-
Honduras that also serves as the as undersecretary of state American Development Bank
local chapter of Transparency for political affairs, the third (IDB).
International. highest post in the US State Victor Umaa is the director
Jacobo Kattan is the president Department. He was also of the Latin American Center
of the Kattan Group, a family ambassador to El Salvador from for Competitiveness and
enterprise founded in 1920 that 1983 to 1985. Sustainable Development at
has had a pioneering presence Julissa Reynoso is a partner at INCAE Business School, the
in the economic, political, and the law firm of Chadbourne and leading development think-
social development of Honduras. Parke, and teaches at Columbia tank in Central America. He is a
The Kattan Group has presence University. She served as US PhD candidate in international
in the appeal manufacturing, ambassador to Uruguay and political economy at ETH Zurich.
transportation, communication, deputy assistant secretary Observers
real estate, and construction of state for the Western Juan Ricardo Ortega is a
industries. Hemisphere under President senior advisor at the Inter-
Hugo No Pino is a former Barack Obama. American Development Bank
Honduran ambassador to the Francisco Santeiro is the (IDB). Before joining the IDB,
United States, as well as former managing director of global he served as the director
governor of the Central Bank trade services for Fedexs of the National Tax and
and finance minister. He is Latin America and Caribbean Customs Directorate (DIAN) in
currently senior economist at division. He has been involved Colombia, where he improved
the Instituto Centroamericano with the international express tax collection and prosecuted
de Estudios Fiscales (ICEFI) industry since 1980 and has contraband. He has also served
in Honduras and professor at served as president of the Latin as vice minister of trade and
UNITEC. American Conference of Express Bogotas secretary of finance.
Marlon Tbora currently serves Companies. Arturo Sagrera is president of
as the Honduran ambassador Jennifer Smith is the head Empresas ADOC, a retail and
to the United States. He was of government affairs and shoe manufacturing business
previously executive director corporate citizenship at Citi with a presence throughout
for Central America and Latin America, where she is Central America. He is also
Belize at the Inter-American responsible for the coordination the vice president of Grupo
Development Bank and of government relations efforts Hilasal and founder of Proyecto
president of the Honduran as well as corporate social Pais, a community-based
Central Bank. responsibility initiatives in the crime prevention and youth
region. development model.

Task Force members endorsed the findings of the report in their individual capacity and not that of the institutions they are affiliated to.

INDEPENDENT TASK FORCE REPORT|BUILDING A BETTER FUTURE41


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
We extend a special thanks to the Inter-American Development Bank and the Seattle
International Foundation for their generous support of this effort, without which the work
of this task force would not have been possible. The commitment of Emmanuel Abuelafia
and Beatriz Uribe to this project was key to its execution.

We would like to thank the many people who were instrumental in the creation of this
task force and who provided support and insight over the course of the last year. In
addition to our funders, these include the ambassadors of El Salvador, Guatemala, and
Honduras as well as numerous officials across the US government and advisors in both
the US Senate and US House of Representatives. In particular, we are deeply grateful to
Eric Jacobstein, senior policy advisor for Representative Eliot Engel, and Dylan Chandler,
legislative assistant for Representative David Valadao, for their commitment to our work
and unwavering cooperation in ensuring the participation of our honorary co-chairs.

Thank you to the members of the Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center team who worked
tirelessly to convene the task force and whose passion for the prosperity of the Northern
Triangle is reflected in the pages of this report. Juan Felipe Celia, program assistant, was
an instrumental force behind this project from start to finish. He provided invaluable
support in implementation of the initial poll to frame the task force and continued being
a key lead on this project for the duration of it. As well, Thomas Corrigan, senior research
assistant and media coordinator until March 2017, and Maria Fernanda Prez Argello,
assistant director until December 2016, provided invaluable research and logistical
support. In addition, Peter Schechter, center director until April 2017, contributed his
expertise in the task force conceptualization and in the initial polling.

For her decisive input and thorough research, we thank Sarah Maslin. Thank you to
INCAE Business School, especially Beatriz Slooten, and Juan Carlos Zapata at FUNDESA
for contributing crucial expertise and empirical data to the recommendations of this
report. We are grateful to Carlos Denton and his team at CID-Gallup for the outstanding
execution of our three-country poll.

For their precise editorial assistance and good-spirited flexibility, we thank Beth Adelman,
external editor, and Susan Cavan, Atlantic Council editor. We would also like to extend our
thanks to Donald Partyka for his unique design of yet another Arsht Center report, as well
as to Sam Aman and James Kimer for their development of the digital strategy behind
this report.

Most importantly, we thank our four co-chairs for their passion, commitment, expertise,
and leadership. It has been a true pleasure to work with Eduardo Stein, John Negroponte,
Maria Eugenia Brizuela, and Luis Cosenza as part of this effort. John Kelly, Secretary of
Homeland Security, served as our US co-chair until December 2016. We thank him for his
unwavering commitment to the region and for his many ideas that helped to guide the
initial work of the task force.

42INDEPENDENT TASK FORCE REPORT|BUILDING A BETTER FUTURE


ENDNOTES
1 Organized Crime and Migration in the Northern 11 Colombia firm acuerdo con Honduras para apoyo
Triangle and Mexico, Inter-American Dialogue, Last en seguridad naval, Caracol Radio, April 7, 2016.
updated July 21, 2016, http://www.thedialogue.org/ http://caracol.com.co/radio/2016/04/07/
resources/ politica/1460025683_418561.html
organized-crime-and-migration-in-the-northern- 12 Mike LaSusa, Honduras Officials Investigated by
triangle-and-mexico/. Anti-Corruption Body, InSight Crime, August 17, 2016,
2 Southwest Border Unaccompanied Alien Children http://www.insightcrime.org/news-briefs/
FT 2014, US Customs and Border Protection, Last honduras-anti-corruption-body-eyes-top-officials-
updated November 24, 2015, https://www.cbp.gov/ in-social-security-scandal.
newsroom/stats/southwest-border-unaccompanied- 13 Honduras sanciona la Ley de Financiamiento de
children/fy-2014. This was a substantial jump from Partidos Polticos, El Heraldo, January 17, 2017,
the 38,759 children and 14,855 family units in 2013. http://www.elheraldo.hn/pais/1035782-466/
Comparisons reflect Fiscal Year 2014 (October 1, honduras-sanciona-la-ley-de-financiamiento-de-
2013-September 20, 2014) compared to the same partidos-pol%C3%ADticos .
time period for Fiscal Year 2013.
14 Centro de Documentacin Legislativa, Ley De
3 Danielle Renwick, Central Americas Violent Acceso a la Informacin, Asamblea Legislativa de El
Northern Triangle, CFR Backgrounder, Council on Salvador, Last updated April 20, 2012, http://
Foreign Relations, January 19, 2016, http://www.cfr. asamblea.gob.sv/eparlamento/indice-legislativo/
org/transnational-crime/central-americas-violent- buscador-de-documentos-legislativos/
northern-triangle/p37286. ley-de-acceso-a-la-informacion.
4 Governments of El Salvador, Guatemala, and 15 Elizabeth Gonzalez, Update: Central America and the
Honduras, Plan of the Alliance for Prosperity in the Alliance for Prosperity, American Society / Council
Northern Triangle: A Road Map, Inter-American of the Americas, Last updated February 25, 2016,
Development Bank (2014). http://idbdocs.iadb.org/ http://www.as-coa.org/articles/
wsdocs/getdocument.aspx?docnum=39224238 update-central-america-and-alliance-prosperity.
5 Examining the Central America Regional Security 16 Joseph Biden ve que Plan Alianza ha logrado
Initiative (CARSI), Wilson Center, Last updated avances contundentes, La Prensa, September 14,
September 12, 2014, https://www.wilsoncenter.org/ 2016, http://www.laprensa.hn/honduras/
publication/ 1002738-410/joseph-biden-ve-que-plan-alianza-
examining-the-central-america-regional-security- ha-logrado-avances-contundentes.
initiative-carsi.
17 Principales Avances y Logros 2015-2016, Gobierno de
6 The United States and Central America: Honoring El Salvador, Guatemala y Honduras, September 22,
our Commitments, The White House, Last updated 2016, https://issuu.com/presidenciasv/docs/
January 14, 2016, https://www.whitehouse.gov/ alianzaprosperidad1516.
the-press-office/2016/01/15/
fact-sheet-united-states-and-central-america- 18 Tristan Clavel, Homicides Down in El Salvador, But
honoring-our-commitments. Police-Gang Clashes Continue, InSight Crime,
November 10, 2016, http://www.insightcrime.org/
7 Ibid. news-briefs/homicides-down-in-el-salvador-but-
8 Peter Meyer and Clare Seelke, Central America police-gang-clashes-continue.
Regional Security Initiative: Background and Policy 19 Relator de ONU sobre ejecuciones reconoce
Issues for Congress, Congressional Research Service reduccin de violencia en Honduras, La Prensa, May
https://fas.org/sgp/crs/row/R41731.pdf 27, 2016, http://www.laprensa.hn/mundo/964323-
9 In El Salvador, a Highway to Education, Opportunity 410/relator-de-onu-sobre-ejecuciones-
and Prosperity, Millennium Challenge Corporation: reconoce-reducci%C3%B3n-de-violencia-en-
Latin America, Last updated 2016, https://www.mcc. honduras.
gov/where-we-work/region/latin-america. 20 Governments of El Salvador, Guatemala, and
10 Nick Miroff, Plan Colombia: How Washington Honduras, The Northern Triangle: Building Trust,
learned to love Latin American intervention again, Creating Opportunities: Main Progress and
Washington Post, September 18, 2016, https://www. Achievements, 2015-2016, Inter-American
washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/ Development Bank (2016).
plan-colombia-how-washington-learned-to-love- 21 https://fas.org/sgp/crs/row/R43616.pdf
latin-american-intervention-again/2016/09/18/
ddaeae1c-3199-4ea3-8d0f-69ee1cbda589_story.
html.

INDEPENDENT TASK FORCE REPORT|BUILDING A BETTER FUTURE43


22 Unemployment, total: El Salvador The World Bank, 38 Agriculture and Rural Development, The World
Last updated 2016, http://data.worldbank.org/ Bank Group, Last updated, 2016, http://data.
indicator/SL.UEM.TOTL. worldbank.org/topic/agriculture-and-rural-develop
ZS?end=2014&locations=SV&start=1991. ment?end=2013&locations=GT-SV-HN&start=2004.
23 https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/bitstream/ 39 Daily Press Briefing by the Office of the
handle/10986/22349/K8423.pdf?sequence=5 Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, The
24 Jason Marczak et al., Latin America and the United Nations, Last updated January 16, 2016,
Caribbean 2030 Future Scenarios, Atlantic Council, https://www.un.org/press/en/2017/db170116.doc.htm.
December 2016, http://publications.atlanticcouncil. 40 Marco Tulio Galvez, Drip Irrigation in Honduras:
org/lac2030/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/ Findings & Recommendations; Scaling up
LAC2030-Report-VersionNov30-ForWeb.pdf. Agricultural Technologies from USAIDs Feed the
25 Ibid. Future, USAID, May 7, 2015, http://pdf.usaid.gov/
pdf_docs/PA00KFQH.pdf.
26 What are Public Private Partnerships?, The World
Bank Group, Last updated October 3, 2015, http:// 41 David E.A. Giles, The Underground Economy:
ppp.worldbank.org/public-private-partnership/ Minimizing the Size of Government, University of
overview/what-are-public-private-partnerships Victoria, March, 1998, https://www.fraserinstitute.
org/sites/default/files/
27 Logistics in Central America: The Path to HowtoUseFiscalSurplusUndergroundEconomy.pdf.
Competitiveness, The World Bank Group, June
2012, http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/ 42 The Bipartisan Commission, Report of the National
en/572541468012033363/ Bipartisan Commission on Central America, January
pdf/750980WP0Logis00Box374299B00PUBLIC0. 1984.
pdf. 43 Gross enrollment ratio, primary, both sexes, The
28 Ibid. World Bank, last updated 2014, http://data.
worldbank.org/topic/
29 Latin American Partners Closes Central American education?locations=GT-SV-HN.
Mezzanine Infrastructure Fund, LAVXA Venture
Investors, September 9, 2016, https://lavca. 44 Ibid.
org/2016/09/09/lap-latin-american-partners- 45 Clare Ribando Seelke, Gangs in Central America,
closes-central-american-mezzanine-infrastructure- Congressional Research Service, 2016, https://fas.
fund/. org/sgp/crs/row/RL34112.pdf.
30 Amy Bell and Andres Schipani, Colombia Priorities 46 Victoria Rietig and Rodrigo Dominguez Villegas,
Infrastructure Plans, Financial Times, September 27, Stopping the Revolving Door: Reception and
2015, https://www.ft.com/content/ Reintegration Services for Central American
39e07b96-4b3d-11e5-b558-8a9722977189. Deportees, Migration Policy Institute, December,
31 About the Doing Business Project, The World Bank 2015, http://www.migrationpolicy.org/sites/default/
Group, 2017, http://www.doingbusiness.org/ files/publications/RMSG-Reintegration-FINALWEB.
about-us. pdf.

32 Trucking Services in Belize, Central America, and the 47 Centro de Atencin al Migrante: por un retorno
Dominican Republic: Performance Analysis and digno y seguro, Embajada de los Estados Unidos
Policy Recommendations, IDB: Department of en El Salvador, April 22, 2016, https://blogs.
Infrastructure and Environment, (Washington D.C., usembassy.gov/sansalvador/centro-de-atencion-al-
IDB, March 2013), http://www19.iadb.org/intal/ migrante/#.WMr4AW8rKUk.
intalcdi/PE/2013/11626.pdf. 48 Peter J Meyer et al., Unaccompanied Children from
33 Guatemala and Honduras Make Customs Union Central America: Foreign Policy Considerations,
Official, Inter-American Development Bank, Congressional Research Service, April 11, 2016,
December 2015, http://www19.iadb.org/intal/ https://fas.org/sgp/crs/homesec/R43702.pdf.
conexionintal/2015/12/21/ 49 Elisabeth Malkin, At Salvadoran Factory, Helping
guatemala-y-honduras-oficializan-la-union- Troubled Youth Makes Business Sense, New York
aduanera/?lang=en. Times, September 21, 2015, http://www.nytimes.
34 Beatriz Slooten and Octavio Martinez, com/2015/09/22/world/americas/at-salvadoran-
Recomendaciones para el Entorno Empresarial factory-helping-troubled-youth-makes-business-
Nicaragua, INCAE Business School, (2016). sense.html; Jason Marczak, Central America: A Job
Instead of a Gun, Americas Society / Council of the
35 IDB, Trucking Services in Belize, Central America, and Americas, December 13, 2012, http://www.as-coa.
the Dominican Republic org/articles/central-america-job-instead-gun;
36 Acortemos la Distancia al Desarrollo, FUNDESA, League Central America: Making a Difference in El
November 22, 2016, https://issuu.com/ Salvador, League Collegiate Outfitters, June 23,
fundesaguatemala/docs/kit_enade_para_issuu. 2016, http://www.league91.com/
37 TBD league-central-america-making-difference-el-

44INDEPENDENT TASK FORCE REPORT|BUILDING A BETTER FUTURE


salvador/. 60 David Gagne, Northern Triangle Deploys Tri-National
50 Gene I. Maeroff, New Scholarships Aim to Improve Force to Combat Gangs, InSight Crime (2016),
U.S. Standing in Central America, New York Times, http://www.insightcrime.org/news-briefs/
January 12, 1986, http://www.nytimes. northern-triangle-deploys-tri-national-force-to-
com/1986/01/12/us/new-scholarships-aim-to- combat-gangs.
improve-us-standing-in-central-america.html. 61 Fitch: Money laundering Risk Challenges Central
51 Klaus Schwab and Xavier Sala-i-Martin, The Global American Banks, Reuters, Last updated May 18,
Competitiveness Report 2016-2017, World Economic 2016, http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSFit958943.
Forum, 2016, http://reports.weforum.org/ 62 Aaron Korthuis, The Central America Regional
global-competitiveness-index/. Security Initiative in Honduras, Woodrow Wilson
52 Suchit Chavez and Jessica Avalos, The Northern Center, 2014, http://wilsoncenter.org/sites/default/
Triangle: The Countries That Dont Cry for Their Dead, files/CARSI%20in%20Honduras.pdf.
InSight Crime, Last updated April 23, 2014, http:// 63 Reuters, Fitch: Money Laundering
www.insightcrime.org/news-analysis/ 64 Violeta Molina, El Salvador: Anti-money Laundering
the-northern-triangle-the-countries-that-dont-cry- Law, International Financial Law Review, October
for-their-dead. 20, 2016, http://www.iflr.com/Article/3594860/
53 Honduras: The deadliest place to defend the planet, El-Salvador-Anti-money-laundering-law.html.
Global Witness, January 31, 2017, https://www. 65 Kevin Casas-Zamora, Central Americas Triangle of
globalwitness.org/en-gb/campaigns/environmental- Despair, The Inter-American Dialogue, January 27,
activists/ 2016, http://www.thedialogue.org/resources/
honduras-deadliest-country-world-environmental- central-americas-triangle-of-despair/.
activism/.
66 Alicia Brcena et al., Panorama Fiscal de America
54 Tristan Clavel, Datos de Prisiones Respaldan Reforma Latina y el Caribe 2013, United Nations, the
a Detencin Preventiva en Honduras InSight Crime Economic Commission for Latin America, 2016,
(2016), http://es.insightcrime.org/noticias-del-dia/ http://www.justiciafiscal.org/wp-content/
nuevos-datos-sobre-prisiones-respaldan-reforma-a- uploads/2016/03/S1600111_es.pdf.
la-detencion-preventiva-en-honduras; Prisin
Preventiva, una Iniciativa para Reducir el 67 Amy Angel, Aportaciones Obligatorias para Fondos
Hacinamiento, El Mundo (2015), http://elmundo.sv/ de Fomento Productivo (check-off): Una
prision-preventiva-una-iniciativa-para-reducir-el- Alternativa Viable para Financiar el Desarrollo
hacinamiento; Marco Antonio Canteo, Situacin de Sectorial?, Fusades, Departamento de Estudios
la prisin preventiva en Guatemala (PowerPoint Econmicos y Sociales, Julio, 2011, http://fusades.
presented at the Organization of American States, org/sites/default/files/investigaciones/analisis_
2015). economico_10_aportaciones_obligatorias_para_
fondos_de_fomento_productivo_check-off__una_
55 Ninth Report to Congress Pursuant to The alternativa_viable_para_financiar_el_desarrollo_
International Anticorruption and Good Governance sectorial_.pdf.off__una_alternativa_viable_
Act, US Department of State, 2014-2015, https:// para_financiar_el_desarrollo_sectorial_.pdf
www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/rpt/264335.htm.
68 Seelke, Gangs in Central America.
56 Guatemala: Events of 2016, Human Rights Watch
(2016), https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2017/ 69 Steven Dudley, How Drug Trafficking Operates,
country-chapters/guatemala. Corrupts in Central America, InSight Crime, July 6,
2016, http://www.insightcrime.org/news-analysis/
57 Senator Patrick Leahy, Leahy, On Justice In Honduras, how-drug-trafficking-operates-corrupts-in-central-
And The U.S. Contribution To The Support Mission america.
Against Corruption And Impunity In Honduras, June
2, 2016, https://www.leahy.senate.gov/press/ 70 The gangs that cost 18% of GDP, The Economist,
leahy-on-justice-in-honduras_and-the-us- May 21, 2016, http://www.economist.com/news/
contribution-to-the-support-mission--against- americas/21699175-countrys-gangs-specialise-
corruption-and-impunity-in-honduras-maccih. extortion-they-may-be-branching-out-gangs-cost.

58 Hctor Silva valos, El Salvador Announces New 71 Ibid.


Anti-Impunity Unit, InSight Crime, September 15, 72 Seelke, Gangs in Central America.
2016, http://www.insightcrime.org/news-analysis/ 73 Jaime Lpez, Desercin Escolar por Violencia se ha
el-salvador-announces-new-anti-impunity-unit. Triplicado en ltimos Dos Aos, ElSalvador.com, Last
59 Mike LaSusa, Northern Triangle Policing Pact Limits updated July 19, 2016, http://www.elsalvador.com/
Focus to Gangs, InSight Crime (2016), http://www. articulo/sucesos/desercion-escolar-por-violencia-
insightcrime.org/news-briefs/ triplicado-ultimos-dos-anos-119540.
northern-triangle-policing-pact-limits-focus-to-
gangs.

INDEPENDENT TASK FORCE REPORT|BUILDING A BETTER FUTURE45


74 Lethal Violence Against Women and Girls, in Global 87 INL Guide to Corrections Assistance, US Department
Burden of Armed Violence 2015: Every Body Counts, of State, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law
The Geneva Declaration, May 08, 2015, 87-120, http:// Enforcement Affairs, October, 2014, https://www.
www.genevadeclaration.org/fileadmin/docs/GBAV3/ state.gov/documents/organization/234722.pdf.
GBAV3_Ch3_pp87-120.pdf. 88 Embassy Assistance Enables Twelve More Mexican
75 Encuesta Nacional de Demografa y Salud 2011-2012, Jails to Achieve International Accreditation, US
Instituto Nacional de Estadstica, May, 2013, http:// Embassy in Mexico, August 8, 2016, https://
dhsprogram.com/pubs/pdf/FR274/FR274.pdf. mx.usembassy.gov/
76 Easy Prey: Criminal Violence and Central American embassy-assistance-enables-twelve-mexican-jails-
Migration, International Crisis Group, July 28, 2016, achieve-international-accreditation/.
https://www.crisisgroup.org/latin-america- 89 Honduras tendr cuatro prisiones como El Pozo en
caribbean/central-america/easy-prey-criminal- los prximos dos aos, La Prensa, March 16, 2017,
violence-and-central-american-migration. http://www.laprensa.hn/honduras/1053404-410/
77 Elisabeth Malkin and Alberto Arce, Files Suggest honduras-tendr%C3%A1-cuatro-prisiones-como-el-
Honduran Police Leaders Ordered Killing of pozo-en-los-pr%C3%B3ximos-dos-a%C3%B1os.
Antidrug Officials, New York Times, April 15, 2016, 90 David Gagne, Guatemala Prison Programs
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/16/world/ Rehabilitate 70% of Minors: Report, InSight Crime,
americas/files-suggest-honduras-police-leaders- July 18, 2016, http://www.insightcrime.org/news-
ordered-killing-of-antidrug-officials.html?_r=0. briefs/guatemala-prison-programs-rehabilitate-
78 Ibid. 70-of-minors-report.

79 International Law Enforcement Academy in El 91 Seelke, Gangs in Central America.


Salvador, US Department of State, https://2001- 92 Seelke, Gangs in Central America.
2009.state.gov/p/inl/crime/ilea/c11286.htm. 93 Santiago Ramirez, Violence and Crime in Nicaragua:
80 Wilson Center, CARSI. A Country Profile, Inter-American Development
81 Denuncia Policas Honduras, Asociacin para una Bank (June 2013), https://publications.iadb.org/
Sociedad ms Justa, Last updated August 03, 2016, bitstream/handle/11319/5770/IDB-DP-306_
http://asjhonduras.com/webhn/tag/ Violence_and_Crime_in_Nicaragua.pdf?sequence=1.
denuncia-policias-honduras/ 94 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, US
82 Honduras: Ms de Dos Mil Policas Fueron Department of State, March 2017, https://www.state.
Depurados Durante el 2016, El Heraldo, Last gov/documents/organization/268025.pdf.
updated December 27, 2016, http://www.elheraldo. 95 Honduras, InSight Crime, Last updated December
hn/pais/1029953-466/honduras-ms-de-dos-mil- 06, 2016, http://www.insightcrime.org/honduras-
polic%C3%ADas-fueron-depurados-durante-el-2016. organized-crime-news/honduras.
83 Richard Carbajal, Tres Mil Mujeres se Suman a las 96 Transnational Organized Crime in Central America
Filas de la Polica Nacional, Tiempo, November 11, and the Caribbean, United Nations Office on Drugs
2016, http://tiempo.hn/incrementa-mujeres-policia- and Crime, https://www.unodc.org/documents/
nacional/; Mariela Castan, Solo el 14 Por Ciento de data-and-analysis/glotip/Glotip16_Country_profile_
Agentes de la PNC son Mujeres, La Hora, February Central_AmericaCaribbean.pdf.
28, 2015, http://lahora.gt/solo-el-14-por-ciento-de- 97 The White House, The United States and Central
agentes-de-la-pnc-son-mujeres/; Las Mujeres America: Honoring our Commitments.
Policas de Centroamrica, Mxico y El Caribe se
renen en El Salvador, RT, Last updated May 22, 98 David Gagne, Northern Triangle Deploys Tri-National
2011, https://actualidad.rt.com/actualidad/ Force to Combat Gangs, InSight Crime, November
view/27488-Las-Mujeres-Polic%C3%ADas-de- 15, 2016, http://www.insightcrime.org/news-briefs/
Centroam%C3%A9rica%2C-M%C3%A9xico-y-El- northern-triangle-deploys-tri-national-force-to-
Caribe-se-re%C3%BAnen-en-El-Salvador. combat-gangs.

84 Christina Asquith, US Spending Millions to Train 99 Treasury Sanctions Rosenthal Money Laundering
Women Police Officers Worldwide. What About at Organization, US Department of Treasury, Last
Home?, Public Radio International (PRI), August 15, updated October 07, 2015, https://www.treasury.
2016, https://www.pri.org/stories/2016-08-15/ gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/jl0200.aspx.
us-spending-millions-train-women-police-officers- 100 Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), US
worldwide-what-about-home#. Department of Treasury, Last updated February 15,
85 TBD 2017, https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/
tax-policy/treaties/Pages/FATCA.aspx.
86 Michael Lohmuller, El Salvador Moves to Clamp Down
on Prisons, Gangs, InSight Crime, April 1, 2016, http://
www.insightcrime.org/news-briefs/
el-salvador-moves-to-clamp-down-on-prisons-
gangs.

46INDEPENDENT TASK FORCE REPORT|BUILDING A BETTER FUTURE


ATLANTIC COUNCIL BOARD OF DIRECTORS

CHAIRMAN *Richard R. Burt *Maria Pica Karp Brent Scowcroft


*Jon M. Huntsman, Jr. Michael Calvey *Zalmay M. Khalilzad Rajiv Shah
James E. Cartwright Robert M. Kimmitt Stephen Shapiro
CHAIRMAN EMERITUS,
John E. Chapoton Henry A. Kissinger Kris Singh
INTERNATIONAL ADVISORY
Ahmed Charai Franklin D. Kramer James G. Stavridis
BOARD
Sandra Charles Richard L. Lawson Richard J.A. Steele
Brent Scowcroft
Melanie Chen *Jan M. Lodal Paula Stern
PRESIDENT AND CEO George Chopivsky *Jane Holl Lute Robert J. Stevens
*Frederick Kempe Wesley K. Clark William J. Lynn Robert L. Stout, Jr.

EXECUTIVE VICE CHAIRS David W. Craig Izzat Majeed John S. Tanner

*Adrienne Arsht *Ralph D. Crosby, Jr. Wendy W. Makins *Ellen O. Tauscher

*Stephen J. Hadley Nelson W. Cunningham Zaza Mamulaishvili Nathan D. Tibbits


Ivo H. Daalder Mian M. Mansha Frances M. Townsend
VICE CHAIRS Ankit N. Desai Gerardo Mato Clyde C. Tuggle
*Robert J. Abernethy *Paula J. Dobriansky William E. Mayer Paul Twomey
*Richard W. Edelman Christopher J. Dodd T. Allan McArtor Melanne Verveer
*C. Boyden Gray Conrado Dornier John M. McHugh Enzo Viscusi
*George Lund Thomas J. Egan, Jr. Eric D.K. Melby Charles F. Wald
*Virginia A. Mulberger *Stuart E. Eizenstat Franklin C. Miller Michael F. Walsh
*W. DeVier Pierson Thomas R. Eldridge James N. Miller Maciej Witucki
*John J. Studzinski Julie Finley Judith A. Miller Neal S. Wolin
TREASURER Lawrence P. Fisher, II *Alexander V. Mirtchev Mary C. Yates
*Brian C. McK. Henderson *Alan H. Fleischmann Susan Molinari Dov S. Zakheim
*Ronald M. Freeman Michael J. Morell
SECRETARY HONORARY DIRECTORS
Laurie S. Fulton Courtney Richard Morningstar
*Walter B. Slocombe Geduldig David C. Acheson
Georgette Mosbacher
*Robert S. Gelbard Thomas Madeleine K. Albright
DIRECTORS Thomas R. Nides
H. Glocer James A. Baker, III
Stphane Abrial Franco Nuschese
Sherri W. Goodman Harold Brown
Odeh Aburdene Joseph S. Nye
Mikael Hagstrm Frank C. Carlucci, III
*Peter Ackerman Hilda Ochoa-Brillembourg
Ian Hague Robert M. Gates
Timothy D. Adams Sean C. OKeefe
Amir A. Handjani Michael G. Mullen
Bertrand-Marc Allen Ahmet M. Oren
John D. Harris, II Leon E. Panetta
John R. Allen Sally A. Painter
Frank Haun William J. Perry
*Michael Andersson *Ana I. Palacio
Michael V. Hayden Colin L. Powell
Michael S. Ansari Carlos Pascual
Annette Heuser Condoleezza Rice
Richard L. Armitage Alan Pellegrini
Ed Holland Edward L. Rowny
David D. Aufhauser David H. Petraeus
*Karl V. Hopkins George P. Shultz
Elizabeth F. Bagley Thomas R. Pickering
Robert D. Hormats Horst Teltschik
*Rafic A. Bizri Daniel B. Poneman
Miroslav Hornak John W. Warner
Dennis C. Blair Daniel M. Price
*Mary L. Howell William H. Webster
*Thomas L. Blair Arnold L. Punaro
Wolfgang F. Ischinger
Philip M. Breedlove Robert Rangel
Reuben Jeffery, III *Executive Committee
Reuben E. Brigety II Thomas J. Ridge Members
Joia M. Johnson
Myron Brilliant Charles O. Rossotti List as of March 28, 2017
*James L. Jones, Jr.
*Esther Brimmer Robert O. Rowland
Lawrence S. Kanarek
R. Nicholas Burns Harry Sachinis
Stephen R. Kappes
MEMBERS
El Salvador
Diego de Sola
Inversiones Bolvar SA
Alejandro Poma
Grupo Poma
Roberto Rubio
Fundacin Nacional para el Desarrollo
Guatemala
Felipe Bosch Gutirrez
Losa Inversiones
Pedro Ixchu
Indigenous law expert
Juan Carlos Paiz
Pani-Fresh
Salvador Paiz
Guatemala Development Foundation (FUNDESA)
Gert Rosenthal
Diplomat
Honduras
Julieta Castellanos
Universidad Nacional Autnoma de Honduras
Carlos Hernndez
Asociacin Para una Sociedad Ms Justa
Jacobo Kattan
Grupo Kattan
Hugo No Pino
Instituto Centroamericano de Estudios Fiscales
Marlon Tbora
Honduran Ambassador to the United States
United States
Anne Murphy
Cargill
The Atlantic Council is a nonpartisan
Eric L. Olson
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars organization that p romotes
Thomas Pickering constructive US leadership and
Hills & Company
Julissa Reynoso
engagement in international affairs
Chadbourne and Parke based on the central role of the
Francisco Santeiro
Fedex Express
Atlantic community in m eeting
Jennifer Smith todays global c
hallenges.
Citi Latin America
Mauricio Vivero
Seattle International Foundation 1030 15th Street, NW, 12th Floor,
Beyond the Northern Triangle Washington, DC 20005
Laura Chinchilla Miranda
Former President of the Republic of Costa Rica
(202) 778-4952,
Victor Umaa
INCAE Business School www.AtlanticCouncil.org