Under Secretary Maria Otero for Democracy and Global Affairs today said the United States is committed to promote civilian security in the Caribbean.
Ms. Otero stated that she has traveled to Guatemala with Secretary Hillary Clinton to show the United States’ commitment to working with the Central Americans on a strategy to promote civilian security.
She underscored the necessity of a comprehensive regional approach to the challenges from one region to another. She reiterated Secretary Clinton’s emphasis on the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative as one part of a broader regional security approach and announced a 70% increase in funding for fiscal year 2011 for this initiative.
“I’d like to take a moment to discuss how we can stop this cycle of civilian “in”security. How do we move from bold ambitions and weak institutions to strong rule of law and stable communities?” -Ms. Otero
She emphasized that the Caribbean countries cannot succeed in addressing citizen security over the long term without addressing the underlying causes of social dislocation and disaffection that lead to violence, drug abuse, and corruption.
Ms. Otero talked about three antidotes to stop the cycle of civilian insecurity in the region.
According to Ms. Otero, one antidote is the need to call for institutional reform- or investing in the building blocks of the security sector to secure rule of law and protect human rights. She added that the second is another kind of investment in the youth. She noted that there’s a need to identify and promote alternate opportunities for the young people so they can make good choices for themselves and for society.
“And third, we must recommit to ourselves human rights for all people – including the traditionally marginalized and abused, such as women, ethnic minorities and LGBT communities.” -Ms. Otero
Ms. Otero noted that there’s a need to invest in the institutional framework that provides accountability for criminals and recourse for victims. She pointed out without this basic structure, the pursuit of societies governed justly through rule of law is like a skeleton without a backbone.