Is smarter US aid helping El Salvador's crime issues?
An interesting article by Hannah Stone on the InsightCrime site discusses US foreign aid to El Salvador through the Partnership for Growth program and the progress on crime issues described in a recent report. As Stone notes,
One of the key goals of the partnership is to strengthen Salvador’s justice and security institutions. The action plan says that the country’s institutional weaknesses prevent an effective response to crime, and calls for a “holistic, comprehensive strategy” across different bodies, with reform for prosecutors, police officers, judges, and security personnel. The six-month scorecard says that these efforts are on target. Some 242 justice sector personnel have been trained by US agencies so far, and a new Inter-Institutional Investigation Manual, meant to improve and standardize investigative procedures, has been distributed to police and prosecutors.The article concludes:
It is far too early to evaluate the success of the partnership for growth. Many of the projects it sets out are good ideas, targeted to the specific problems of El Salvador. Even more encouragingly, it appears that the plan is avoiding some of the failures of Plan Colombia, which took a heavily militarized approach to security, building up the armed forces at the expense of justice institutions. If the US-El Salvador partnership stays on track, as the six-month score card says it has so far, both countries may soon be able to point to some very visible successes in terms of strengthening El Salvador's badly weakened institutions.You can read the US El Salvador progress report on these initiatives here.