Plan El Salvador Seguro Contest Launch

Plan El Salvador Seguro Contest Launch
Ambassador Jean Manes
Tuesday, May 29, 2018, 10:00 A.M., Hotel Real Continental

Remarks by Ambassador Jean E. Manes at the Plan El Salvador Seguro Contest launch

May 29, 2018

* This is a courtesy translation. Only the original Spanish language text should be considered authoritative.

It is a great joy to be part of this event this morning, because Plan El Salvador Seguro is the first comprehensive and far-reaching effort that prioritizes the prevention of crime. It is also the result of a multisectoral consultation process incorporated in the National Council for Citizen Security and Coexistence.

While no plan is perfect, the results of this initiative are undeniable. Crime rates in the communities under the plan have decreased in some municipalities by up to 26 percent. This is not a magic formula, these results did not happen by accident. They happened because of the activities that are carried out every day by the municipal prevention councils, the police, the church and community groups, the private companies that invest in these municipalities, by people who volunteer to help the children, teachers , parents and young people who want to help do their job.

We must never forget that a country is more than just the government, more than just the people. A country is all its citizens, all its sectors: public, private, religious communities, non-profit organizations, organized civil society. All these groups are what make up a nation and, therefore, it befalls on all these groups to carry the nation forward.

This 26 percent reduction is the result of all these groups working together, sharing a goal and everyone should be proud of what they have achieved so far. This is a difficult task, but you can be sure that it is worth every penny, every minute, every drop of sweat.

There are so many examples of the incredible work that you are doing, which on this occasion I will not mention. I do not want to show any favoritism in the contest that we are launching today. And although in the end the winners will be chosen, I want all of you to remember that this work you do goes beyond a prize, because your work saves lives. Your work gives the children of your communities the opportunity to aspire to a different life.

Playing in a park should not be a privilege for children. It is their right to feel safe in their own communities. It is the right of all citizens to feel safe when they walk on the street, when they take the bus to school, work or university.

Security is not a private good, it is a public right.

We know that to achieve this goal just controlling crime is not enough. Concrete alternatives must be offered to young people and respond to the needs of communities, such as greater access to education, vocational training workshops, jobs, cultural and sports activities, and safer public spaces. I motivate you not only to continue with your work but also to expand it, to share it, to share a message of hope: a future of peace is possible, and we are achieving it, every day a little more.

I want to thank the Security Council, all the sectors involved, the local governments and the central government for this excellent initiative that will recognize all the outstanding work that is being done for the security and prosperity of El Salvador. I know that it will motivate us all to work even more because we can make a difference.