Thursday, January 29, 2009

Spain to Send $45 Million in Aid

In 2009 Spain will send about U.S. $45 million in aid to Guatemala to fight poverty and increase security. Spanish Secretary of State for Iberoamerica, Trinidad Jimenez, announced the aid package on Wednesday. He said that while the international economic crisis is affecting Spain, this not affect in any way affect Spain's commitment to developmental cooperation. In fact, it will increase.

Jimenez said that since 2005, Spanish cooperative aid to Guatemala has totaled $146 million for programs to reduce poverty, strengthen democracy, institutions, and to prevent crime. Jimenez also announced Q82 million or about 8 million Euros for various aid programs to Central America, spread over four years, aimed at treatment and rehabilitation of young people. Moreover, resources can be put in place for increased tourist security, reduction of violence against women, to harmonize the legal systems of Central America, and towards the control of small arms and light weapons. The cooperative effort will also serve to "strengthen policies to protect children at risk or in conflict with the law."

The agreement seeks to strengthen the Observatorio Centroamericano de Violencia (OCAVI) and create a Unidad de Seguridad Democrática del Sistema de la Integración Centroamericana (SICA), consisting of Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama.

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