March 9, 2015
Central Americans and the U.S. and their Plan for Prosperity
U.S. Department of State
• Joint Statement by the
Presidents of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, and the Vice President of the United States of America, regarding: The
Plan for the Alliance for Prosperity of the Northern Triangle
Presidents of El Salvador, Salvador Sánchez Cerén; Guatemala, Otto Pérez Molina; Honduras, Juan Orlando
Hernández; and, the Vice President of the United States, Joseph Biden, met in Guatemala City on March 2-3, 2015, with
the President of the Inter-American Development Bank, Luis Alberto Moreno, to discuss the important commitments which will
accelerate the implementation of the Plan for the Alliance for Prosperity in the Northern Triangle of Central America. The
senior representatives also agreed to conduct joint high-level dialogues on security issues with relevant authorities, to
discuss social issues with civil society, and to review trade and investment issues through meetings between the U.S. private
sector and the private sectors of the Northern Triangle of Central America. All these meetings will be held in the first half
of this year.
The leaders stressed that their governments agreed to continue
the development of the Plan for the Alliance for Prosperity of the North Triangle in an expedited and comprehensive manner,
through coordinated efforts among the three countries of the Northern Triangle and with the technical support of the Inter-American
Development Bank. They will continue this work throughout 2015. The draft implementation plan and roadmap for each of the
above-mentioned topics will be presented in Washington on March 16. For its part, the Government of the United States reiterated
its commitment to support these efforts.
The leaders agreed that the joint
regional plan and its continued implementation represent significant milestones for the collaboration among the governments
of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.
The leaders reviewed recent progress
in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, including the following examples:
El Salvador has passed an Investment Stability Law, giving investors assurances that tax and customs regulations will not
change over the course of an investment. It has also begun the process of restoring one-stop business registration for foreign
• The Government of El Salvador has created the National Council for Public Security and Coexistence
to promote consensus on a public security strategy and a forum for dialogue between the government and multiple social actors;
it has also established an Anti-Extortion Task Force.
• El Salvador has passed the Development and Social Protection
Law, which establishes a legal framework to support development, citizen protections, and social inclusion. Likewise, El Salvador
conducted ambitious reforms in the area of health, laying the groundwork for a new, integrated health system. El Salvador
also has implemented important educational programs, such as “Full-Time School,” which allows for a holistic approach
to expanding the educational system’s intervention model.
• Guatemala has inducted new police
officers through regional academies throughout the country that will be assigned to police stations for those geographic areas,
continuing the policy of regionalization with a goal of deploying 35,000 agents nationwide. This has already reduced murder
rates from 46 to 31 persons per every 100,000 inhabitants.
• Under its plan to implement the
National Policy on Integrated Rural Development, the Government of Guatemala has reached agreement with 33 communities on
reparations for communities where human rights were violated by the construction of the Chixoy dam, through Government Agreement
378-2014 of the Cabinet Council.
• Guatemala has achieved a diversified energy grid incorporating
new technologies such as natural gas, wind, and solar power, allowing for 60% of its energy generation to be based on renewable
sources of energy, which contributes to reducing greenhouse gas effects and fulfills the objectives of Guatemala’s Climate
Change Law of 2013.
• The Government of the Republic of Honduras, in its renewed commitment
to transparency in public administration, has become the first country to sign a Cooperation Agreement with Transparency International
for the Promotion of Transparency, Combating Corruption, and Strengthening International Transparency Systems, which includes
plans to make human resources and government procurement information publicly available.
Honduras developed mechanisms aimed at restoring peaceful coexistence, highlighting the following efforts and results: i)
air, sea, and ground shields to prevent the entry of drugs into the country; ii) counternarcotics actions to combat the drugs
that enter the country; iii) development of effective judicial authorities; iv) strengthening of democratic institutions;
v) anti-corruption measures; vi) emphasis on the protection of human rights; vii) actions against poverty; and, viii) a security
tax. These actions resulted in a significant decrease in homicide rates from 86.5 in 2012 to 66.4 in 2014 for every 100,000
inhabitants. Based on the same commitment, Honduras has extradited 7 Honduran and 8 foreign high-profile drug traffickers
involved in Latin American drug networks.
• In the area of fiscal management, Honduras reduced
its fiscal deficit by more than 3 percentage points of GDP, closing at 4.5 in 2014. Honduras increased tax revenue by 21%
in 2014, and took specific actions to control public spending to include specific measures strengthening transparency in its
These examples of progress are the results of the commitments
that the governments of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras are making to Central America’s success. In this context,
and well aware of the continued challenges, the leaders expressed their commitments on the following points:
The presidents of the Northern Triangle of Central America and the Vice President of the United States of America expressed
a shared commitment to promote the strategic areas of the Alliance for Prosperity, such as: energizing the productive sectors
of the economy; creating economic opportunities; developing human capital, citizen security, and social inclusion; improving
public safety and enhancing access to the legal system; and strengthening institutions to increase trust in the state.
that end, we, the governments of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, recognizing the importance of promoting the productive
sector of the economy in our countries, will:
1.1 Advance economic integration
based on the legal frameworks of the Central American integration process, CAFTA-DR, and other existing trade agreements.
Welcome the signing by Honduras and Guatemala of the General Framework for the Establishment of the Customs Union, which includes,
inter alia, the elimination of border crossings between both countries and the establishment of a unified customs area. The
details of this agreement will be defined and supported through negotiations to occur before December 2015.
Take steps to promote an integrated, efficient energy market among the countries of the Regional Electricity Market (MER),
and the markets of neighboring countries. Review existing regulations and gradually standardize them so that commercial transactions
between countries may be conducted in an equitable, competitive, transparent manner, to ensure legal certainty and allow for
the promotion and development of markets with reduced costs. This will be addressed in subsequent forums in 2015, to be completed
before the end of 2016.
1.4 During 2015, continue to promote the
conditions for increased investment in the diversification of the energy grid, specifically to support measures resulting
in the operation of the natural gas pipeline between Mexico and Central America, for which an agreement between the member
countries of the Alliance will be required. By March 13, Guatemala and Honduras will sign an additional protocol to the Mexico-Guatemala
agreement, which will permit this interconnection work to go forward.
Promote a public-private dialogue regarding the implementation and monitoring of the Alliance for Prosperity in the Northern
Triangle governments by mid-2015, through existing public-private partnerships.
Continue efforts to establish and run one-stop business registration windows for foreign investors before the end of 2015.
The Government of the United States will support the governments of the Northern Triangle to promote their productive sections
with a view toward greater inclusion, by:
2.1 Facilitating trade with the
support of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) authorities, who can share proven risk management strategies and provide other
types of training to make the transfer of goods across borders more secure and efficient.
Helping to implement actions to improve trade between the countries of the Northern Triangle, within the Central American
2.3 Providing support for the integration of energy markets
in Central America, Panama and Mexico, including by supporting the review of existing regulation to promote long-term contracts.
Providing technical assistance to develop laws that will incentivize the adoption of technologies and best practices for energy-efficiency.
Supporting rural development of the countries of the Northern Triangle.
Providing potential investors and project developers the financial and risk mitigation tools to make investments in the Northern
Triangle more attractive, with the support of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.
We, the countries of the Northern Triangle, will strengthen our strategies for social and economic development to achieve
3.1 In line with national plans, identify the geographic areas
of greatest need to focus development and investment by April 2015.
Establish a plan to strengthen and streamline investment in education, especially at the pre-school, secondary, and vocational
levels by 2016.
3.3 Create the conditions to facilitate access to credit for
micro, small, and medium enterprises through financial education programs, improvements to legal frameworks, and development
of specific financial products beginning in 2015.
3.4 Expand existing programs
to improve health services, nutrition, and child development.
equal opportunities policies, especially for the economic empowerment of women, ethnic groups, and at-risk youth by 2016.
During the same year, each country will double the number of women and youth served and provided training by specialized community
4. The United States government will support the Northern Triangle
governments in meeting commitments for the development of economic and social opportunities for its citizens, giving special
attention to the following:
4.1 Advancing economic prosperity with
programs and training that accelerate business development in urban and rural areas.
Helping to create a better climate for micro, small, and medium businesses to create conditions to expand their access to
credit and strengthen proven results throughout specialized business centers in the hemisphere, thus strengthening value chains.
Continuing efforts to boost family farming and food security through various programs, such as "Feed the Future.”
Implementing plans to improve access to education and educational quality for underserved populations, including indigenous
and afro-descendant children in rural schools, as well as the expansion of educational and vocational training opportunities
for at-risk youth.
4.5 Supporting populations along Central American border areas
in order to bolster a surge in new economic activity in these communities.
Backing the efforts of the Northern Triangle countries to redouble their assistance to women and youth in specialized community
5. We recognize the need to improve public security and access to
justice; therefore, the leaders of the Northern Triangle agree to:
Expand security policies and programs, especially those that dismantle gangs and prevent gang violence, as well as by combating
common crime, extortion, money laundering, human trafficking, illegal trafficking, and drug trafficking. We will strengthen
justice institutions, among others, using international best practices, depending on the specific context of the priority
5.2 Promote approaches to strengthening the justice sector, emphasizing
efficiency, transparency, and accountability, as well as decreasing case backlogs and promoting alternative dispute and domestic
violence resolution techniques.
5.3 Improve prison systems, including infrastructure
based on prisoner risk profiles, the capacity of prison staffs, and rehabilitation programs, including those focused on juvenile
offenders and their prison conditions.
5.4 Deepen police reforms, including
reforms focused on money laundering and human trafficking throughout 2015. During the first half of 2015, Honduras will announce
a proposal for the comprehensive reform of its educational system and its police training initiative, as well as its plan
to train and contract 6,000 new police officers over the next three years. Guatemala announced that it is in the process of
reforming its immigration law in order to criminalize the trafficking of Guatemalans, especially children and adolescents.
Approve and strengthen laws against money laundering. El Salvador has established an Anti-Extortion Task Force, and will begin
in mid-2015 a legal reform to criminalize bulk cash smuggling.
will promote reforms in its civil and commercial procedure codes to establish and streamline oral hearings and make more efficient
its judicial proceedings during 2015. In addition it will create new specialized criminal investigative anti-money laundering
units, asset forfeiture units, and cyber-crime units, in the first half of 2015.
The Government of the United States, along with the governments of the Northern Triangle, will back efforts to improve public
safety and access to justice by supporting:
6.1 Police reforms, to including
police training in the areas of internal affairs, vetting, and oversight and transparency mechanisms, as well as through the
provision of equipment and information systems.
6.2 The work of governments to
strengthen local mechanisms for the prevention of crime and violence.
The work of religious and civil organizations within the framework of government strategies to provide at-risk youth with
life skills, job training, and recreational activities, and supporting civic groups to recover public spaces controlled by
gangs and improve basic infrastructure.
6.4 The expansion and strengthening
of centers against domestic violence and violence against women.
The strengthening of juvenile justice and alternatives to incarceration and detention.
The efforts of States to improve criminal investigations, especially through improved forensic laboratories.
The work of the security agencies to effectively dismantle transnational organized crime networks that carry drugs and money
in coastal waters and across land borders.
7. With the goal of promoting
strengthened institutions, Northern Triangle countries will continue to promote transparency and engender confidence in our
citizens. In this regard we will:
7.1. Promote independent monitoring mechanisms,
using best practices to ensure governmental transparency throughout 2015.
Increase and strengthen tax revenues through greater efficiency and effectiveness in tax collection, strengthening tax authorities,
simplifying tax codes, and professionalizing tax collection authorities.
Join forces to improve the professionalization of the civil service, starting in 2015.
The Government of the United States will support governments of the Northern Triangle in strengthening its institutions, by:
Working with Central American governments to provide expert advisors, such as those from the Department of the Treasury, and
including assistance to governments to leverage additional resources through more efficient tax administration and public-private
Finally, with regards to implementing this plan, we agreed
to take into account existing best practices in the region, such as the model implemented by the Millennium Challenge Corporation,
to maximize the impact of our initiatives and actions that seek to be effective and transparent, and which recognize the leading
role of the state and its public institutions.
Agreed to in Guatemala City
on March 3, 2015.
Media Note, Mar. 3,
2015, Office of the Spokesperson, U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C.