Help Latin America
On April 26, 2022, Rep. Mark Green (R-TN-7) introduced the Western Hemisphere Nearshoring Act (H.R. 7579), a bipartisan bill that aims to accelerate economic development in Latin America through nearshoring. Using nearshoring to help Latin America and the Caribbean will also safeguard the interests of the U.S. Moving supply chains to Latin America, from China, will give many countries more sustainability. Decreasing dependency on China by establishing partnerships in the Western Hemisphere will bring a wide range of benefits, including poverty reduction in the region. By cosponsoring and advocating for the bill, U.S. legislators in both houses can support both the U.S. economy and the reduction of poverty in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The Benefits of Nearshoring

  • Promotes economic stability and growth in Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • Reduces migration to other countries from Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • Reduces overdependence on China as a supply chain.
  • Greater “peace, security and democracy” in the region.

By importing goods from nearby countries instead of China, U.S. companies have a cheaper choice for international sourcing. This would help create jobs and rebuild the struggling economy in Latin America and the Caribbean, considering that the number of individuals enduring extreme poverty in the region increased to 86 million in 2021. Nearshoring would not only address the economic downturn but would also address job scarcity post-pandemic.

This nearshoring opportunity will benefit the region’s economy and everyday workers. Prospective deals could uplift multiple countries in the region and promote stability and growth. By helping its neighbors reverse poverty trends, the U.S. can also prevent dangerous journeys of migration by providing a solution in the home countries of potential migrants.

Poverty from the Source

U.S. companies would provide significant economic opportunities by using nearshoring to help Latin America and the Caribbean with benefits reaching rural and urban areas. One can understand poverty in Latin America and the Caribbean better by viewing the lack of job opportunities — the region has an unemployment rate of about 10% in 2021.

Whether it is rural people moving to urban cities where job opportunities are scarce or a lack of opportunity in rural areas themselves, private sector companies making deals in Latin America and the Caribbean would tackle the issue from its source. In the 2000 publication “Options for rural poverty reduction in Latin America and the Caribbean,” Rubén G. Echeverría from the Sustainable Development Department of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) confirmed that economic growth and GDP increases will help reduce extreme poverty in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The IDB has outlined and supported private sector companies that have provided better wages in rural areas. Urban-based centers for economic development and nearshoring would provide the city with jobs for those from rural areas or those with a lack of higher education.

Long-term Capability

In October 2021, the U.S. Chamber’s Association of American Chambers of Commerce in Latin America and the Caribbean (AACCLA) held the 2021 Virtual Forecast on Latin America and the Caribbean Conference. Discussions included considering nearshoring to help Latin America and the Caribbean’s economic recovery from the pandemic.

During the conference, “panelists shared insights on how to create a resilient and sustainable global supply chain, the opportunities to revitalize certain nations and the role foreign policy plays in supporting the Latin American and Caribbean economies.”

The Panamanian government sees nearshoring as a strong economic development solution for Panama as “60% of the world’s commerce goes through the Panama Canal.” Furthermore, “more than 170 multinational companies” have bases in Panama, making Panama the ideal nation for nearshoring.

By providing proof that nearshoring can have positive effects on Latin America and the Caribbean, U.S. lawmakers have a great platform to support the U.S. economy while helping Latin America by providing economic opportunity and a way out of poverty.

– Karen Krosky
Photo: Flickr

Digital Gap in Latin America
As the World Economic Forum has noted, the COVID-19 “pandemic has exposed a deep digital divide” across the world. An Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) study from 2020 indicated that the digital gap in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) equated to “three in 10 people” who do not have access to the internet. The pandemic highlights the importance of the internet and digital technology in keeping businesses and people connected by allowing for continuous contactless services and transactions. The LAC region has made great strides in improving internet access and has developed creative ways to ensure that marginalized and low-income communities can access the internet.

Factors Influencing the Digital Gap in Latin America and the Caribbean

Many factors influence digital accessibility, including income levels and location. The internet gap between low and high-income households equates to roughly 40%. About 67% of urban households have internet connections in comparison to 23% of rural households. Evidently, the digital divide is deep, but the LAC region has committed to closing this digital gap.

4 Ways the LAC Region is Closing the Digital Gap

  1. Caribbean Digital Transformation Project. In June 2020, the World Bank approved a $94 million project to implement “an inclusive digital economy” in four Eastern Caribbean nations. The project’s goal is to “increase access to digital services, technologies and skills by governments, businesses and individuals.”
  2. Increasing Free Internet Access. Peru, Argentina, Chile and Colombia have introduced laws to increase free internet access. This includes providing “tablets to teachers and students” and developing more “free WiFi hotspots in public spaces.” These Latin American countries are also expanding “zero-rated services,” meaning that “certain government, health and education sites” do not count as data usage for users. In the past, the world typically viewed internet access and smart devices as luxuries, but this mindset is starting to change as more countries realize that digital inclusion is vital for social and economic development.
  3. Internet as an Essential Public Service. In July 2021, Colombia passed a law defining “the internet [as] an essential public service.” Colombian President Iván Duque explained that the importance of the internet for the nation is “comparable to that of water, electricity and gas.” With this law in place, telecommunication companies must “guarantee customers internet service and provide minimum browsing and free text packages during health and other emergencies.” Chile and Argentina passed similar decrees during the COVID-19 pandemic. These laws are a start in closing the digital gap in Latin America and the Caribbean and could be bolstered by lowering the cost of the internet in low-income countries.
  4. Public Service Kiosks. The digital divide between rural and urban households in the LAC region is especially wide. The Colombian government has set up Vive Digital, “a collection of kiosks” situated in rural communities across the country. The kiosks give people a connection to the internet and increase the accessibility of “e-learning and e-training services” in addition to “online public services.”

Societal Benefits of Addressing the Digital Gap in the LAC Region

Closing the digital divide in Latin America and the Caribbean is critical to improving educational, health and economic opportunities in the region. The World Bank has played an instrumental role in ensuring connectivity in countries such as Haiti and Colombia. In Haiti, the World Bank is assisting with the broadband connectivity needs of roughly “1,300 public institutions.” In Colombia, the World Bank is assisting the Colombian government with advancing  policy and regulations in order to “expand broadband access.”

  • Health Benefits: The digital gap in Latin America and the Caribbean has serious implications for health, particularly given the increased reliance on telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic, which drew attention to this issue. The adoption of digital health initiatives better serves rural residents without easy access to a health care facility. In Colombia, approved telecare health services rose by 192% between January 2020 and September 2020.
  • Economic Benefits: Digital inclusion will allow rural and underserved regions to take advantage of economic growth opportunities. The Digital Economy in Latin America and the Caribbean project found that the prevalence of “business websites increased by 800% in Colombia and Mexico” between April and May 2020. During the pandemic, the region has seen an increase in the number of people and businesses using digital technology for teleworking, shopping and e-commerce.
  • Education Benefits: As a result of the pandemic, countless children in Latin America have missed out on education opportunities due to school closures and a lack of internet connectivity. Existing initiatives, such as the Inter-American Development Bank’s (IDB) partnership with Sesame Workshop, seek to ensure a continuation of early education through educational content broadcasts via television.

The Future of Digital Technology

Many LAC nations are experiencing a boom in internet adoption and access as organizations and governments take the necessary steps to close the digital divide in the region. The COVID-19 pandemic not only reveals the educational and health gaps that exist in the LAC region but also presents an opportunity to transform health care and education systems and build infrastructure in order to dissolve barriers to growth and development.

– Jennifer Hendricks
Photo: Flickr

Internet Accessibility in the Dominican Republic
Intelsat, an international satellite communications organization, is partnering “with coreNOC, Audio Union International and KM Systems and an undisclosed capital fund” to deliver affordable high-speed internet to rural areas of the Dominican Republic. In collaboration with the Dominican Republic government, the endeavor will help provide “a nationwide wireless internet and infrastructure system for the Ministry of Education.” Expanding internet accessibility in the Dominican Republic will benefit schoolchildren in the more rural and impoverished regions of the Dominican Republic by allowing them access to quality learning materials and lessons. The endeavor will also create more jobs in the telecommunications sector in the Dominican Republic, aiding in economic growth.

Internet Access in the Dominican Republic

Approximately 15% of the Dominican Republic’s population, or approximately 1.6 million people, live in rural areas. In these areas, internet accessibility has lagged. In 2016, internet accessibility in the Dominican Republic reached slightly more than 50% of the country’s population.

Adding and maintaining internet access is expensive and Dominican rural residents are often more impoverished than the rest of the island. The poverty in the rural sections of the Dominican Republic stems from the destruction of recurring natural disasters as well as an unproductive agricultural sector.

Benefiting School Children

In the Dominican Republic, in 2018, only 69% of children in rural areas had access to the internet. As a nation with “one of the world’s worst education systems,” in 2014, the Dominican Republic committed to reforming its education system by updating the curriculum and building better classrooms. Adding internet accessibility to classrooms has “the potential to improve the quality of education.” According to dotmagazine, the internet “opens doorways to a wealth of information, knowledge and educational resources, increasing opportunities for learning in and beyond the classroom.” In addition, “interactive teaching methods, supported by the internet, enable teachers to give more attention to individual students’ needs and support shared learning.”

As Dominican students progress from one education level to another, studies note a high dropout rate. Many students drop out of school to provide an income for their families. Others want to avoid adding further financial stress on their household with the costs of school. However, a lack of education significantly impacts an individual’s earning potential. A survey that the Central Bank of the Dominican Republic conducted in 2015 shows that students with a high school degree “earn more than 30% higher” incomes than individuals who only completed primary school. In general, a better quality education decreases overall poverty rates and the internet has the potential to increase the quality of education in the Dominican Republic.

Benefiting the Dominican Republic Workforce

Increased internet accessibility in the Dominican Republic will bring more jobs to the rural areas of the Dominican Republic. Most telecommunications jobs exist in larger cities, such as Santo Domingo. In July 2021, the Inter-American Development Bank proposed a project to improve internet connectivity in the Dominican Republic. This project alone could generate more than 33,000 local jobs. Furthermore, the World Bank estimates that with each telecommunication job generated, two to four more jobs emerge across other business sectors too.

Looking Ahead

The Dominican Republic’s poverty rate reached about 23% in 2020. Research suggests that improving internet access also increases the chances of lower poverty and unemployment rates. Intelsat’s proposed plan to improve internet accessibility in the Dominican Republic means that the nation can expect similar positive outcomes.

– Clara Mulvihill
Photo: Flickr

Impact of COVID-19 on Poverty in Jamaica
The impact of COVID-19 on poverty in Jamaica has been immense since the pandemic began in 2020. Jamaica has always been a popular vacation destination for people to enjoy the sun, beaches and culture. In fact, according to the World Bank, the country’s yearly tourism numbers reached 4.2 million in 2019, twice the numbers from two decades before. However, since COVID-19 struck the world, the country’s tourism industry fell downward as fewer persons could travel to Jamaica.

Businesses, such as eateries and resorts, have experienced a significant decline in business. As a result, 50,000 Jamaicans working in tourism lost their jobs, illustrating the substantial impact of COVID-19 on poverty in Jamaica. Thus, many persons that finally overcame poverty will most likely face this reality again. Before COVID-19, the World Bank’s graph depicted Jamaica’s poverty rate at around 19% in 2018 and 2019; however, it increased to about 23% in 2020.

COVID-19 Effects on Working Women

According to the World Bank, like other nations, the impact of COVID-19 on poverty in Jamaica has had a tremendous effect on working women. About 78% of healthcare and humanitarian employees and 55% of staff in industries highly susceptible to COVID-19, such as commerce, resorts, restaurants and schooling, are women.

The Inter-American Development Bank stated that women have always had lower-income and less stable employment than men in Jamaica. Now, females are suffering more than males once again, because of higher unemployment rates and business closures. Also, the need for free healthcare has risen due to school closures and households staying indoors. In addition, with less money, more single mothers are unable to purchase sufficient meals compared to males.

How COVID-19 has Impacted Jamaica’s Economy

The Inter-American Development Bank stated that before the pandemic, it expected GDP for FY2020/21 to increase by 1.1% due to more tourist visits and sales of products like bauxite. However, the impact of COVID-19 on poverty has changed this scenario.

Also, the International Monetary Fund projected Jamaica’s economy to decline by more than 5% in 2020. It also forecasts government income to continue to fall twice as much as medical, societal and commercial costs increase. According to the World Bank, GDP declined from around 310,000 in 2019 to 280,000 in 2020, showing an actual reduction of 9.67%.

Recovery Strategies

The Jamaican public system has implemented various strategies to combat the impact of COVID-19 on poverty. The World Bank states that the country has reduced taxes to around 0.6% of GDP and has limited expenditures to 0.5%. Also, the government has diminished General Consumption Taxes for smaller-scaled businesses along with mandatory costs for farming products. Jamaica also relinquished some expenses for tactical gear and cleaning supplies.

CARE Programme

Jamaica has implemented its CARE Programme, which provides monetary compensation for the country’s neediest citizens. The Jamaican government implemented this program on March 24, 2020. So far, approximately 500,000 Jamaican citizens have benefited from this initiative, especially individuals who became jobless due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Jamaica Information Service reported that these qualified persons received $9,000 bi-weekly every month.

According to the IMF, this strategy also includes:

  • Considerate contributions to persons without work or with casual employment before COVID-19.
  • Provisional allowances to persons who were working but lost their jobs due to COVID-19.
  • Funding to freelance workers whose income reduced due to the pandemic, as well as small-scale companies.

The program also assists senior citizens and persons who are ill or incapacitated.

Financial Budget Changes

Jamaica is also adjusting its financial plan to fit with reduced income, more medical expenses, changes to initial spending plans and the use of monetary supplies. For instance, the government has suspended import tariffs for essential healthcare materials. In addition, the Central Bank of Jamaica has reduced its required reserves for funds while keeping the rate at 0.5%. Doing so has helped to increase the amount of money in the economy. Also, the country has asked the IMF for $520 million to help them recover from the pandemic.

Strategy Results

These various government initiatives have significantly helped to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on poverty in Jamaica. The CARE Programme donated $25 billion Jamaican dollars to assist the economy, which is the most significant accomplishment the country has achieved thus far in fighting the economic effects of COVID-19.

Nigel Clarke, Jamaica’s Minister of Finance and the Public Service, said that due to these strategies, the country has a lesser deficit than it did a decade ago with the global financial crisis. “In addition, we had accumulated cash resources of over [3%] of GDP through public body reform, inclusive of divestment of state enterprises, and fiscal over-performance,” he stated. Also, by controlling prices, the country now has more than $1 billion in reserve funds that it did not borrow. As a result, Jamaica is now in a better place with more possibilities for recovery.

Loop, a Jamaican News Website, reported that the Minister also said that some persons have returned to work due to various government initiatives. As a result, the rate of unemployed persons dropped from around 12% in July 2020 to 10.7% in October 2020. However, it will take two to four years to get back to the pre-pandemic rate of 7.2%.

According to the Statistical Institute of Jamaica, as of January 2021, the percentage of persons unemployed was 8.9%, which is an improvement from the previous year. However, the Jamaican government must continue developing innovative strategies to economically recover and reduce the impact of COVID-19 on poverty in Jamaica.

– Jannique McDonald
Photo: Flickr

Helping the Homeless
When topics of direct involvement to relieve global poverty come up in casual conversation, young people sometimes find new and innovative ways they can volunteer. Since young adults and teenagers often do not have a lot of disposable income to donate to causes that speak to them, they may choose to involve themselves with an NGO they can give their time and energy to. This is where Un Techo Para mi Pais, or TECHO, comes in as it has an impeccable volunteering model. Techo is a South American nonprofit that emerged in 1997 in Santiago, Chile. Since 2001, the organization began its expansion throughout Latin America, and by 2010, TECHO was one of the most prominent entities providing natural disaster relief to nine South American nations and helping the homeless.


TECHO’s main aim is to decrease homelessness rates on the South American continent, while improving the quality of life of those in comunas and favelas, building sanitary and safe communities and employing the work and energy of volunteers. As of 2021, Techo operates in 19 Latin American countries, with over a million volunteers across the continent helping the homeless and impoverished communities.

TECHO’s initiative consists of not only providing marginalized and impoverished communities with the dignity they deserve but also linking the volunteers with the communities they are aiding. The organization discusses each community’s specific needs as it helps design a unique action plan for each neighborhood and settlement. Joint action occurs as volunteers and settlement dwellers construct paved roads, community centers and emergency homes. The latter is their most popular project: modular prefabricated spaces that are easy and fast to build and provide shelter and insulation from the elements to families in need.

How Young People Can Participate

One does not need formal training in construction or city planning, as teenagers as young as 14 can participate by following a simple guide and plan of action. Young volunteers can do a wide range of jobs, such as asking for pecuniary donations as individuals or with their schools, collecting construction materials and assisting at construction sites to lend a hand. It is through this hands-on model that TECHO has become a very popular “club” to be part of within Latin American cities, as young people dedicate a lot of their time to campaigns fighting extreme poverty while learning about systemic and structural problems their particular societies face at a community level.

Anyone Can Help

Professionals are also necessary at TECHO for the most ambitious plans, and the organization accepts almost all areas of expertise including volunteer firefighters, cooks, construction workers and nurses. Even those with no experience in humanitarian aid or those without a formal profession can help, as according to the organization, “The first step is to get to know the organization’s model very well, and the tools necessary to carry out your role. Then, TECHO seeks to offer various activities that will help you to deepen your knowledge on topics such as poverty and human rights. No previous experience is required to lend a hand.”

The Inter-American Development Bank recently gave TECHO the rank of fourth most visionary organization of Latin America. Moreover, the organization is currently working on more than 500 settlements across Latin America hoping to expand its reach into the most precarious areas of the region, helping the homeless and providing many more families with dignified services and homes.

– Araí Yegros
Photo: Flickr

Child Poverty in Belize
Belize, a Central American country with a poverty rate of about 41.3%, struggles with the effects that poverty has on children. Of the Belizeans in poverty, approximately 49% of them are children. Income inequality and rapid population growth contribute to the high poverty rate. Child labor rates, poor health care and child prostitution are the primary factors playing into the rate of child poverty in Belize. Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), UNICEF and the government are compounding efforts to reduce child poverty in Belize.

Nongovernmental Organization Efforts

Humanium is an NGO that enables donors to sponsor children in Belize and many other countries. Humanium emerged in Geneva in 2008 to improve the well-being of children worldwide. The child’s family can afford numerous basics, including better health care and education. Since 40% of families are in poverty, some children must work to aid in providing for the family. About 6% of children between the ages of 5 and 17 work to provide for the family. Also, 36% of Belize’s population is 0-14 years of age; the high child poverty rate is a fair representation of the country’s overall poverty rate.

Minister of Foreign Affairs

A UN report, Wilfred Elrington, stated that child poverty in Belize was nearly 40%. Elrington further commented on how “[poverty] affects [the] capacity to learn. It affects [children’s] capacity to maintain good health.” While there are many NGOs in Belize that assist Belizean adults and children in poverty, Elrington and other officials stated that people should do more to solve the high poverty rate in the country.

UNICEF in Belize

UNICEF representative Susan Kasedde mentioned that education initiatives are a possible solution to poverty and violence. Both education improvements and higher enrollment could reduce poverty in Belize while simultaneously solving violence that affects local and major tourist industries. Based on the homicide rate in 2018, Belize remains one of the most violent countries in the world. UNICEF’s Children’s Agenda 2017-2030 aims to support children on the path to living a safe, healthy and successful life in Belize. The program also focuses on disadvantaged groups that are people often forget, such as those in remote regions with high poverty.

Investments in Education

As of 2017, the Government of Belize spent about 7% of its GDP on education, which places Belize in the top 10 in the world for education expenditure. This indicates that the country is utilizing education as a path to reducing adult and child poverty in Belize. Universal education for all children has the potential to help reduce poverty in children and future generations as a study showed in the Asian Economic and Financial Review. The case study in Nigeria found that higher education led to a decline in youth poverty in Nigeria. Poverty in Nigeria was significantly higher at 70%; the research shows the possible benefit of investment in education to reduce poverty. 

In January 2020, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) provided a $10 million loan to reduce child poverty in Belize. It will go towards the creation of a STEAM Lab School in Belize City. One of the goals of this school is to improve the quality of primary and secondary classrooms. Another goal is to improve gender equity from a young age, specifically in science, technology, engineering, arts and maths courses. With child poverty in Belize at an estimated 40%, investments in education could be a long-term solution to improve the country’s high child poverty.

– Lucas Schmidt
Photo: Flickr

Where is the Northern Triangle?
With a long history of political and economic instability, the Northern Triangle has provided little reason for citizens to stay. Where is the Northern Triangle? This emigration haven lies in Central America and comprises of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.

Causes of Emigration

In short, the main emigration drivers in the NTCA involve political corruption (due to past wars and ongoing greed), economic instability (due to droughts and poor trade practices), gang violence (related to lack of educational and rehabilitation programs) and family matters (attributed to desired remittance and reunification with distant family).

The NTCA’s past, current and potential (up-for-office) political officials consistently squander the countries’ limited funds for personal advancement at the cost of its people. These authoritarian countries recently switched to democratic rule, but its leaders lack the experience and morale necessary to implement a well-running democracy. Low tax rates and lack of direction prevent subsidization of social, civil, health-related and educational programs and protection agencies vital to the NTCA’s transition to a safe, thriving region.

Since 2014, the U.S.A.’s Millenium Challenge Corporation (MCC) has collaborated with the NTCA to fund over $315 million of specialized programs improving tax administration, youth workforce and public-private markets across Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. Efforts from the MCC help the 25 percent of youth who do not work or attend school in these countries. As of 2017, nearly 60 percent of youth who do work do so informally or unregulated by the government.

Crime Management, Informal Work and Gangs

Beyond educational and vocational pitfalls, these countries possess poor crime management. NTCA homicide rates have decreased since 2014, but they remain higher than the global average. The Atlantic Council reports 75 percent of NTCA citizens as doubting their judicial systems’ ability to protect them. This primarily stems from the nearly active gang violence and 95 percent of homicides that go unsolved in these countries. According to the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, six children flee to the U.S. per every 10 homicides in the Northern Triangle. This leads to the separation of families and greater difficulty in establishing long-lasting labor practices in these countries.

Informal work is another causal factor of emigration as people search for better financial opportunities. The U.S. is such a major destination for these emigrants, it is no wonder many U.S. Americans might ask “Where is the Northern Triangle?” In fact, in the first five months of FY2019, authorities apprehended about 26,937 Unaccompanied Alien Children (UACs) and 136,150 families at the U.S.-Mexican border, with nearly 47 percent of UACs and 49 percent of families, 25 percent of UACs and 38 percent of families and 11.5 percent of UACs and 9 percent of families coming from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, respectively. These emigrants inadvertently create financial burdens, safety threats and attention deficits in the U.S.

UACs pose a huge threat to U.S. borders because of their use by gang members. U.S. immigration legislation, like Obama’s catch-and-release policy and the Dept. of Health and Human Services’ Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 (TVPRA), allow gangs to get around policies involving UACs. Gangs make about $1,500 per smuggled child in border regions that they control and oftentimes convert UACs into gang members once they settle in U.S. territory. In return, alien-driven crime and the U.S. opioid epidemic continue to implode. Furthermore, transnational government corruption with cartel commerce continues.

According to U.S. Representative Norma J. Torres (D-CA), the State Department gave Congress an incomplete watch-list of criminal Northern Triangle government officials as the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 required. Thus, skepticism surrounds U.S. and NTCA political ties in criminal activity. Overall, government corruption and U.S. immigration policy loopholes remain pressing obstacles to boosting the workforce and prosperity of the Northern Triangle.

US Humanitarian Efforts

Fortunately, many U.S. humanitarian efforts positively impact life in the Northern Triangle. Notably, in the Plan Columbia (PC) of 1999, the U.S. gave Columbia $10 billion for economic and anti-narcoterrorist efforts. In return, Columbia acts as a key trader with the U.S. and a facilitator of progression tactics in NTCA. Similarly, the U.S. derived the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) of 2006 that supports Northern Triangle involvement in commerce and exposure to retail chains.

The U.S. also works with the Inter-American Development Bank to fund a billion-dollar improvement strategy written by the NTCA presidents. Within this strategy, called the Plan of the Alliance for Prosperity in the Northern Triangle, the three presidents provide strategic pillars and action plans to put outside funds to effective use. Additionally, the U.S. works with Mexican and Northern Triangle governments through the U.S.-Northern Triangle Enhanced Engagement Act to improve security at the NTCA-Mexico border.

Outside of government action, several international organizations aid in Central American projects that chip away at NTCA poverty and political issues. Action Aid largely focuses on anti-poverty efforts in the NTCA. Care International, CHF International and Center for International Private Enterprise assist the NTCA with crime reduction and community support, youth education and empowerment and educated civilian political involvement, respectively.

Assistance from humanitarian groups and relationships with American countries help NTCA leaders impose more effective government policies and citizen-focused programs. With expertise and financial aid from more developed countries, the new democratic leaders can grow with the young workforce to build a long-lasting, more-trusting culture in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.

In return, a reduction in emigration, the ongoing gang turmoil and behind-the-scenes narco relations can help lead to a more sustainable Northern Triangle. Increased focus on the source of NTCA emigration and continued assistance might alleviate the inquisitive question, “Where is the Northern Triangle?”

– Caroline Bell
Photo: Flickr