The Northern Triangle is the fulcrum point on which U.S. interests in the region and its stability turn. In its March 2015 “U.S. Strategy for Engagement in Central America,” the Obama White House outlined its goal “to work with international organizations and regional governments to put the region on a course to sustained, broad-based economic growth, better government performance, and improved security conditions.”2 To that end, it proposed, among other things, continuing defense cooperation, targeting corruption and organized crime, and enhancing security. Through these avenues, the United States would support Central American development, improving the quality of life for the region’s citizens and the safety and security of our global neighborhood.
All Hands on Deck
Diversify Coast Guard Ops in Central AmericaU.S. Coast GuardCentral America in 2017 is an acute challenge. Cartel violence and institutional failure across Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador—states known collectively as the Northern Triangle—have reached crisis levels. Large numbers of migrants have flooded north, many of them unaccompanied minors, creating a humanitarian crisis along the U.S. southern border. At the same time, circumstances have provided a haven for traffickers, with an estimated 80 percent of the U.S. narcotic supply now passing through Central America.1
By Lieutenant Commander Sean Plankey, U.S. Coast Guard Reserve, Gregory Bernstein, and Reilly Stephens