Latin America and the Caribbean

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Improving Security and Economic and Political Inclusion

Many Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) nations have experienced monumental growth and change in the past several decades, and USAID has partnered with these countries to make important progress. Despite the global financial crisis, the region averaged a three percent annual increase in economic growth between 2000 and 2012. Health indicators have greatly improved in the region: for example, maternal mortality has fallen from 140 to 81 deaths per 100,000 live births since 1990. Political advances have been notable, as well: free elections, vibrant civil society, and responsive governments are mostly the norm.

While these are impressive gains, the region still faces significant challenges. Latin America and the Caribbean continue to have some of the highest rates of income inequality in the world and economies have slowed. Severe, chronic drought threatens lives and livelihoods. Regional progress in health masks inequalities between and within countries. Worsening citizen security, fueled by a violent transnational drug trade, is hindering growth and undermining democratic institutions in parts of the region. Climate change poses risks, especially in Central America and the Caribbean. And some countries are restricting political rights. 

Economic and political stability in the Western Hemisphere are vital for the United States. Drug trafficking and violence that afflict our southern neighbors can penetrate our borders and impact U.S. communities. Latin America and the Caribbean are also important and growing markets for American companies--a quarter of U.S. exports go to the region.

We Are Working to Make a Difference

In LAC, USAID helps to make the United States and the Western Hemisphere more peaceful, secure, and prosperous by strengthening the capacity of governments and private entities to combat crime, improve governance, address climate change, and create an economic environment in which the private sector can flourish and create jobs.

Throughout the region, USAID has 13 field offices, 4 regional programs, and Washington-based programs focusing on Cuba, Ecuador, and Venezuela.  

Our programs in LAC help to generate economic prosperity, reduce crime and violence, support civil society, defend universal rights, and protect the environment. 

Focused Programs to Meet Diverse Needs

USAID works closely with host governments (national and municipal), other U.S. Government agencies, civil society, the private sector, development banks, and international organizations to help achieve enduring results. 

We are dedicated to crafting and executing programs that strengthen the LAC region as a whole while meeting the diverse long- and short-term needs of individual partners in the region. 

Across the region, we are:

  • Encouraging job creation, strengthening small- and medium-sized businesses, and promoting agricultural advances;
  • Creating safe urban spaces, supporting community policing, educating vulnerable youth, and strengthening justice systems
  • Supporting the efforts of civil society groups and political leaders to protect and defend universal rights such as freedom of expression; and
  • Helping countries to protect natural resources and adapt to changing climate patterns.

USAID’s targeted initiatives have brought results, including: 

  • Improvements in security, governance, and prosperity in Central America, particularly the Northern Triangle countries of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador
  • Programming that helps the people and government of Colombia to promote economic prosperity, improve the living conditions of victims of violence and vulnerable groups, and promote respect for human rights; and 
  • Advances in long-term reconstruction and development, economic growth and job creation, health care and education services, and municipal governance in Haiti in the wake of the devastating 2010 earthquake. Efforts to help the country recover from 2016’s Hurricane Matthew continue.

Across the LAC region, USAID programs are improving lives.

Related Links

Caribbean Energy Initiative

Venezuela Regional Crisis Response

What Works in Reducing Community Violence: A Meta-Review and Field Study for the Northern Triangle [PDF, 513K]

Clean Energy Finance Facility for the Caribbean and Central America (CEFF-CCA)

Impact Evaluation of USAID's Crime and Violence Prevention Programs in Central America 

Detailed Guidelines for Improved Tax Administration in Latin America and the Caribbean