MIAMI, Feb. 8. – Latin America and the Caribbean received U.S. assistance for more than one billion dollars annually for programs in various sectors and Haiti is a priority in the region following the devastation caused by the earthquake of January 12, 2010 , said a U.S. official.
The administrator for Latin America and the Caribbean of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Mark Feierstein said in Miami that after the Caribbean country, Colombia, Mexico, Central America and Peru are on the list of priorities of the agency.
The agency provides assistance in education, agriculture, security, judicial, health and the strengthening of democratic institutions, among other areas.
“The priority is Haiti in terms of budget, the biggest budget we have. We have implemented a major program and Congress approved additional funds,” said Feierstein.
The U.S. government has sent to the Caribbean nation nearly $2 billion 200 million is USAID about a $1.3 billion dollars since 2010 to present, according to figures from the government agency.
Haiti was hit by a powerful earthquake of 7 degrees on the Richter scale that killed 300 000 people, many injured and 1.2 million homeless.
Property damage was estimated at 7.9 Billion$ and reconstruction costs about 11.5 Billion $, according to data from the Haitian government.
“We are very” happy “with the progress being made in Haiti, said Feierstein to mention that the number of people living in tents down from 1.5 million to 500 thousand, but considered that this figure is still” too high. “
“In the area of agricultural production, where USAID has been working with farmers, we could double or even triple the production in the last two years,” the official said.
Showed much enthusiasm for an industrial park to open in northern Haiti soon and is expected to be the largest private employer in the Caribbean country with the generation of about 65 000 jobs.
This is a joint project of the United States, the Haitian Government and the InterAmerican Development Bank (IDB), said.
With regard to Colombia and Mexico said that USAID provides assistance in security issues.
In Mexico, he said, the battle being waged against drug trafficking, while highlighting the efforts of Colombia to strengthen their security gains.
“These issues now have become priorities for USAID. And the reason for this is twofold: one, because the impact may be great potential for the United States when there is instability by criminal violence. But also because to consolidate gains in the development is essential to address the issue of security, “he said.
USAID spends about $ 180 million in Colombia and from 50 to 60 million dollars in Peru, Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala.
A very important sector for the agency is related to democracy and therefore implements programs to strengthen institutions in almost all countries of the region.
In the case of Venezuela are allocated five million dollars in technical assistance to “promote and protect democracy and human rights.”
Feierstein also stressed that Latin America, compared to other developing regions, “has evolved much more economically and politically is more advanced,” and the matter said: “As a result, programs that one usually associate more with USAID are much less common in Latin America.”
In fact, the agency plans to close its office in Panama this year “in recognition of the progress we (the country) has had on economic and political terms in the last 20 years.”
“We’re 20 years devoting $ 400 million to Panama and now will drop to zero,” he added.