On her first visit to San Vicente, Ambassador Jean Elizabeth Manes participated in the inauguration for the Attorney General’s new offices. The offices were built with the support of the U.S. Government through U.S. Agency for International Development, USAID. The new $80,000 building provides prosecutors with adequate facilities to carry out their work and also gives better care to victims; especially to children, adolescents, women and disabled persons who have been the direct or collateral victims of crime.
During the event, the Director General of the National Civilian Police, Howard Cotto, and Attorney General, Douglas Meléndez, signed an agreement for inter-institutional cooperation in order to investigate and prosecute solid, evidence-based cases in the judicial system. Ambassador Manes stressed that this cooperation is an example of what can be achieved when all key sectors of society come together to work for the benefit of the Salvadoran people.
During her visit to the region, Ambassador Manes viewed first-hand the positive effects of different programs funded through USAID in the areas of violence prevention and economic development.
For example, the Municipal Training Center “FORMARTE” is a joint effort of the municipality, the private sector and the central governments, in which $161,733 has been invested to provide opportunities for young people. USAID/El Salvador has contributed more than $42,000 to this effort. The Center offers young people from San Vicente opportunities for training and certification in the management of Microsoft programs, as well as offering electrical and culinary skills training.
Ambassador Manes also met with the Mayor of San Vicente, Medardo Lara, with whom she spoke about the different projects that are being carried out in San Vicente. Before leaving the city, Ambassador Manes visited Dulces Villalta, a small company that is dedicated to the production of homemade sweets. The owner of the shop is 91 year old Doña Argelia, who is still actively working in her company and represents the entrepreneurial spirit of the region.
The fast-paced two-day trip ended with a visit to la Asociación Cooperativa de Agroindustriales, Aprovisionamiento, Ahorro y Crédito (ACOPANELA). This cooperative has received support from USAID / ElSalvador through its Program for Development of Small and Medium Enterprises. The producers at ACOPANELA have adopted new technologies and, at the same time, use traditional processes for the production of panela and granulated panela. In addition to generating jobs in the area, this cooperative exported $ 208,000 in products to markets in Houston, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles.