WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas
17 May 2017 | Press Release

WOLA, Partners Launch Central America Monitor to Track U.S. and International Aid and Measure Impact on the Ground

Project Will Focus on Key Indicators of Corruption, Rule of Law, and Citizen Security

Washington, DC—Today, WOLA (the Washington Office on Latin America) is announcing the launch of a new project—the Central America Monitor—aimed at tracking international aid to the region and measuring progress on the ground. As part of this project, WOLA will work in close collaboration with a group of respected Central American organizations to monitor U.S. assistance programs to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador and assess whether progress is being achieved across a range of key indicators.

Also today, the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on a resolution describing combating corruption in these three countries as a “policy priority” for the U.S. Congress. Earlier, on May 4, the full U.S. Congress approved $655 million in U.S. assistance to Central America, primarily to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, to help address the endemic violence, poor governance and lack of economic opportunities driving migration from the region. This assistance comes on top of last year’s appropriation of $750 million for the region.

“Children and families are fleeing from Central America to the United States in large part because their lives are endangered by violence and poverty. The United States and the international community can help, but achieving results depends in part on ensuring that the aid is being invested wisely,” said Adriana Beltrán, WOLA Senior Associate for Citizen Security.

The Central America Monitor is a tool developed jointly by WOLA and three Central American partners: The Myrna Mack Foundation in Guatemala; the University Institute of Public Opinion (Instituto Universitario de Opinión Pública, IUDOP) in El Salvador; and the University Institute on Democracy, Peace, and Security (Instituto Universitario en Democracia, Paz y Seguridad, IUDPAS) in Honduras.

WATCH: In Their Own Words: Central Americans Face Violence, Corruption and Impunity

To ensure that aid to Central America is effective, WOLA and our partners have developed a series of 148 quantitative and qualitative indicators to assess progress. The Central America Monitor will produce periodic updates on these indicators, and how they are linked to local efforts to reduce violence and insecurity, strengthen the rule of law, improve transparency and accountability, protect human rights, and combat corruption.

“Weak and corrupt local institutions are a big part of the problem because they have failed to protect citizens from violence. The U.S. Congress understands this, and is looking for ways to support the efforts of the offices of the Attorney General, the CICIG, and the MACCIH. Moving forward, the governments of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador will need to hold up their end of the bargain and show real commitment to improving transparency, justice and citizen security and tackling corruption,” said Beltrán.

WOLA and our partners invite policymakers, the media, and practitioners working in the field to explore the Monitor here, and to check it periodically for the latest updates on progress and shortfalls of the policies being implemented in the region.

For online media outlets or broadcasters, WOLA has produced a short video of Beltrán explaining the project and more about the conditions in Central America. Click here to download the original files.