Serial No. 110-78: Violence in Central America: Briefing and Hearing before the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives, One Hundred Tenth Congress, First Session, June 26, 2007
United States. Government Printing Office
From the opening statement of Jose Guillermo Castillo Villacorta: "Central American nations have suffered from increased violence in recent years, prompting a growing concern about the region's security. The problem is particularly acute in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, and it is of great interest also to Mexico and the United States. Indeed, it was a central issue discussed by both President Oscar Berger of Guatemala and President Felipe Caldero´n of Mexico in their separate bilateral meetings with President Bush during his recent visit to Latin America. Both leaders called for a comprehensive regional approach to the threats posed by trafficking in drugs, people and weapons, as well as youth gangs in the region and the links between these two phenomena. The power of these groups not only undermines the governability in our countries, but also jeopardizes the security of our citizens. It is also highly detrimental to the region's economic development. My purpose today is to highlight our view of the serious vulnerabilities and threats in the region share with this subcommittee some of the actions being taken in response to these problems and discuss in some extent the agreement signed between the United Nations and the Government of Guatemala for the creation of an independent commission to combat impunity in Guatemala. On the vulnerabilities that have created a growing violence in the region, there are four main reasons. One is related to the geographic location; the second one with the increased number of gangs. The third one has been the easy access to weapons that originally flowed in during the internal armed struggles in countries like mine; and, fourth, is the high proportion of youth in our countries." Statements, letters, and materials submitted for the record include the following: Jose Guillermo Castillo Villacorta, Roberto Flores Bermudez, Lainie Reisman, Geoff Thale, and Roy Godson.

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