Central American Business Leaders Ask for Support to Combat Violence and Smuggling
On April 26, business leaders from Central America and the Dominican Republic called on their Governments to support plans by the private sector and the police to combat smuggling, extortion, and violence in the region.
“We have resolved to request from you (presidents) that within the framework of the Central American Integration System, SICA, you support this public-private alliance” established between business leaders and the police, the chair of the Private Enterprise Senior Council (COSEP), José Aguerri, affirmed.
Aguerri made the request of SICA’s president pro tempore, Honduran President Porfirio Lobo, during the visit he made to his counterpart Daniel Ortega in Managua on April 26.
Lobo’s visit coincided with a meeting held in Nicaragua by representatives of the Federation of Private Entities of Central America, Panama, and the Dominican Republic (FEDEPRICAP) and regional police forces to analyze security issues.
In SICA, “we’re open to promoting the initiatives” of this new alliance, Lobo said, and Ortega expressed the view that “the more we combine our forces” in the region, the easier it will be to fight against violence and extreme poverty.
The business proposal seeks to create 200,000 jobs for young people over the next four years with the aim of drawing them away from crime, which is generating problems of citizen security, chiefly in Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala.
According to studies by the World Bank, “the direct and indirect costs for citizen security, judicial proceedings, and the costs of the health system in Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Honduras were 8 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) of those countries” in 2011, the proposal warned.
According to Aguerri, that represented a cost of 10.823 billion dollars for the region, money that could be saved if the public and private sectors come together to reduce violence by around 10 percent in the hardest-hit countries.
The plan also calls for creating mechanisms of communication with the police in order to guarantee the passage of freight transportation, in order to combat smuggling and extortion.
The meeting among Lobo, Ortega, and regional business leaders was held in the House of the Peoples in Managua.