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OAS Secretary General Calls for "Cooperation, Solidarity and Regionalism" in Security Policy in Central America

  March 12, 2013

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, said today at a meeting of the Central American Integration System (SICA) and the Group of Friends of the Central American Security Strategy, that in order to advance in reducing violence in the region, it is necessary to follow the principles of "cooperation, solidarity and regionalism."

"It is very clear to me that all our governments, our societies and stakeholders know we have a joint responsibility, we must cooperate in order to prevent violence, and combat with the same commitment those who commit crimes. There is a common desire to strengthen this process," said the OAS Secretary General during his participation in the opening ceremony of the event, held at the Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington, DC, that aims to explain to the international community the efforts being carried out in Central America in security policy, based on the strategy that was adopted by the Heads of State of SICA (LINK in Spanish) in December 2007 and revised in 2011.

"We know that criminality in our region expresses itself in a way that varies significantly from country to country, even between regions within the same state, but there are many crimes, such as the production and trafficking of drugs, the trafficking of arms and migrants, human trafficking, and crimes against property that know no borders, and sometimes, those responsible for these crimes are more skilled than we are in going beyond the geographical and political boundaries, and coordinating and developing their business," he said.
Insulza said, in this context, that crime and violence are "a threat to the democratic security of some countries and the possibilities for its development," adding that "the presence of transnational organized crime generates nontraditional challenges and tests the structure and capacity of states to respond to these challenges.” "To put it bluntly -he warned- we must work more effectively,” pointing out that the SICA countries must determine "where there is room for joint efforts and where they are willing to work together."

Furthermore, Insulza highlighted the work of the OAS in security in Central America, including the truce with the "maras" in El Salvador, which just marked one year, and for which Secretary General Insulza is an observer and guarantor; the work being developed by the OAS Secretariat for Multidimensional Security in the Presidential Commission that is reviewing the security apparatus in Honduras; and the marking and destruction of firearms and the report on the drug problem in the Americas, commissioned by the Sixth Summit of the Americas of the OAS, that under the supervision of the Secretary General will be delivered in the coming weeks. In his explanation he said that, even though these programs are carried out with limited resources, they are achieving significant results.

The Secretary General of SICA, Juan Daniel Alemán, expressed his hope that meetings like the one today consolidate concepts such as "the additional availability of resources, shared and differentiated responsibilities, and synergies," among others. He later said that within the SICA there is "a sense of urgency, and enormous responsibility, regarding this security process, as to the steps that must be exhausted and evaluated, because we have to be move toward a results-based system.” "This is an effort of complementarity, of synergy, and it is an unprecedented effort that not only strengthens the position from the perspective of democratic security, but also re-launches the Central American integration process," he said.

Carlos Roverssi, representing Costa Rica as President pro tempore of SICA, said both the countries of the System and the members of the Group of Friends "are united in the intention to try to share and search for alternatives to solve the crime problem and the drug trafficking that affect Central America." Roverssi said it is necessary to find ways to preserve the democratic institutions of the countries of the region.

In other presentations to the countries attending the meeting, Nicaragua’s Commissioner Aminta Granera, President of the Commission of Police Chiefs of Central America, Mexico, the Caribbean and Colombia, expressed "the sense of urgency that we, the heads of police forces feel to boost the Central American security strategy."
Commissioner Granera praised the debates on the subject, but called on countries to take action, so that "security strategy does not become a global dissertation topic, but is translated into the operating parameters for our forces." She explained that, despite the difficulties, the Commission that she commands has planned thirty-one regional operations in Central America: seven anti-drugs, nine gang operations, four against vehicle theft, four directed at fugitives, three for border security, two against human trafficking, and two against the arms trade.

For his part, Walter Espinosa, representing the Council of Public Prosecutors of Central America and the Caribbean, reiterated the many challenges facing the region in terms of security, but gave a positive message reaffirming the willingness of his organization to make a success of the strategy safety. "We as prosecutors and in contact with the police and the judiciary, have assumed the firm commitment to ensuring that law enforcement is effective and efficient and has a clear orientation, because in the end we are dealing with the institutions of our countries," said Espinosa.

A gallery of photos of the event is available here.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-088/13