Sires and Ros-Lehtinen Lead Bipartisan Delegation to Honduras and Guatemala
(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Reps. Albio Sires (D-NJ), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, made the following statements ahead of their upcoming trip to Honduras and Guatemala. Ros-Lehtinen and Sires are scheduled to meet with the Guatemalan and Honduran Heads of State, as well as other high-ranking government officials, civil society members, and U.S. embassy personnel to discuss bilateral relations and regional cooperation. The delegation will also assess the state of combatting corruption and counter narcotics efforts in those nations and ways to bolster security coordination.
Statement by Ranking Member Sires:
“As Ranking Member of the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee I have long advocated for U.S. engagement with our neighbors in Latin America. I’m grateful for the opportunity to travel down to the region with my good friend from Florida, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. These countries are the closest to our shores and are largely pro-U.S. and want to strengthen ties with the United States. Unfortunately, some of the countries have been caught in the crosshairs of powerful drug traffickers and gangs that ruthlessly exert control over people through extortion, harassment, violence, and even murder. That is why in 2014 we saw tens of thousands of children from the Northern Triangle running away from their homes and trying to find safety elsewhere. These children want nothing but to live in a home free from fear of being attacked, kidnapped, and assaulted. I firmly believe the best way to help these children is to address their root causes for fleeing and help make the Northern Triangle safer. I am eager to see what efforts are being undertaken to make communities safer, strengthen the rule of law, defend human rights, and create opportunities for the next generation of young people.”
Statement by Chairman Ros-Lehtinen:
“While both Honduras and Guatemala have made much needed improvements in their efforts to combat corruption, prioritize human rights, and respect the rule of law, more work needs to be done. Albio and I have worked together closely in a bipartisan manner on these important issues and we plan on having honest and open discussions on the need for strengthening security cooperation and coordination and transparency in government to further disrupt narco trafficking networks. These are important national security issues for Honduras and Guatemala, for the region, and for the United States, and it is in all of our interests to work together to enhance our efforts to ensure a safe, stable and secure Central America.”