On a recent trip to Ecuador, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken outlined three areas in which the U.S. will partner with countries in the hemisphere to strengthen democracies’ ability to deliver for their people.
The first challenge is corruption, said Secretary Blinken:
“Corruption is estimated to cost up to 5 percent of global GDP. It stifles growth, it discourages investment, it deepens inequities. But maybe its greatest toll is on citizens’ trust in government.”
“So, the United States is focusing on how we can more effectively fight corruption,” explained Secretary Blinken. “We’re cracking down on illicit financing, seizing and freezing stolen assets, making it harder for those who steal to hide behind anonymity.”
The second challenge is civilian security.
“To improve outcomes, the U.S. is shifting its focus to the root causes of the violence,” said Secretary Blinken:
“We’re doing more to expand economic opportunity, especially for underserved populations who might be drawn into illicit activity because they feel they have no other choice. We’re increasing our investment in substance abuse prevention, treatment, recovery for those struggling with addiction – both to reduce the profound harm that illicit drugs inflict on our communities, and to reduce the demand in the United States fueling so much violence and criminal activity.”
The United States also continues to invest in shoring up the rule of law by training prosecutors and judges who are crucial to investigating and prosecuting corruption cases.
“The third challenge is focusing our democracies on tackling the economic and social challenges that are facing our people,” said Secretary Blinken. This includes bolstering labor standards, expanding access to adequate education and healthcare, and providing more inclusive opportunities.
Since 2020, the United States has invested more than $10 billion in Latin America and the Caribbean through the International Development Finance Corporation. In turn, billions more can be leveraged in private sector investment.
“There’s no threat that. . .more democracy cannot fix,” said Secretary Blinken. “And as long as our societies make it possible for people. . .to improve the system from within, we can be sure that democracy will not only persevere, it will prevail.”