US pledges more foreign aid to fight drug cartels
GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — The Obama administration is pledging to increase security aid to Central America to nearly $300 million this year. The money is supposed to help countries if the region thwart the expanding activities of powerful drug cartels.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced the new funds at a 12-nation meeting in Guatemala. Some of the money was previously allotted or is being repackaged from other programs. The total figure represents a more than 10 percent jump from last year's aid of $260 million.
Altogether, donors at the conference pledged nearly $1 billion.
Years of U.S.-backed anti-drug crackdowns in Mexico and Colombia have pushed traffickers into Central American countries. The problem has grown almost unchecked in a region beset by corruption, poverty and underfunded police forces.