U.S. seeks applicants to fight drugs

This is another case of your U.S. tax dollars at work.

The U.S. Embassy sought proposals for projects that “create social and economic opportunity to strengthen citizen security; promoting transparency to encourage a culture that resists corruption.”

The work is supposed to be done in Costa Rica.

As with many of the U.S. government grant awards, the applicants were restricted to non-profit organizations and educational institutions.

The projects are part of the Central America Regional Security Initiative, what the U.S. calls its Central American war on drugs.

The successful recipients of a grant will receive from $100,000 to $250,000 out of a total budget of $900,000.

The submission deadline already has passed, but there is no report on the successful applicants. Each project can be as long as two years.

The embassy makes some unusual observations about Costa Rica:

• In starting a business, potential new business owners are less willing to fight a slow bureaucratic process, and are therefore more vulnerable to engaging in corrupt practices to bypass this process.

• As to coastal and border communities, it is critical to provide economic opportunities in these communities as attractive alternatives for at-risk populations that may turn to crime and illicit drugs for their livelihood.

Says the embassy:

“By the end of the project, grantees should demonstrate that their project has contributed to either: (1) safer and more productive communities by providing viable economic alternatives for at-risk targeted populations that are viable alternatives to dangerous activities tied to illicit drugs or (2) greater awareness, usage and transparency of available government services for members of the general public.”

The success of the project will be determined by the number of participating at-risk youth and women who report less pressure to collaborate with or work for narcotraffickers and the number of individuals employed as a result of the project, according to examples provided by the embassy.

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