U.S. Foreign Assistance to Latin America and the Caribbean: FY2021 Appropriations

U.S. Foreign Assistance to Latin America and
October 2, 2020
the Caribbean: FY2021 Appropriations
Peter J. Meyer
The United States provides foreign assistance to Latin American and Caribbean
Specialist in Latin
countries to support development and other U.S. objectives. U.S. policymakers have
American Affairs
emphasized different strategic interests in the region at different times, from combating

Soviet influence during the Cold War to promoting democracy and open markets since
Rachel L. Martin
the 1990s. The Trump Administration has sought to reduce foreign aid significantly and
Research Assistant
refocus U.S. assistance efforts in the region to address U.S. domestic concerns, such as

irregular migration and transnational crime. To date, however, Congress has opted not to
adopt many of the Administration’s proposals.


FY2021 Budget Request
For FY2021, the Trump Administration requested $1.4 bil ion for Latin America and the Caribbean through
foreign assistance accounts managed by the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development
(USAID). That amount would be $314 mil ion, or 18%, less than the estimated $1.7 bil ion of U.S. assistance
al ocated to the region in FY2020. The proposal would cut funding for every type of assistance and for most Latin
American and Caribbean countries. For a fourth consecutive year, the Trump Administration also proposed
eliminating the Inter-American Foundation—a smal , independent U.S. foreign assistance agency that promotes
grassroots development in the region—and consolidating its programs into USAID.
Legislative Developments
On October 1, 2020, President Trump signed into law a short-term continuing resolution (P.L. 116-159), which
funds foreign aid programs at the FY2020 level until December 11, 2020. As Congress considers appropriations
for the remainder of FY2021, it may draw from the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related
Programs Appropriations Act, 2021 (Division A of H.R. 7608), which the House passed on July 24, 2020. That
bil would provide regular FY2021 appropriations for foreign aid programs global y and emergency assistance to
respond to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The Senate Appropriations Committee has yet
to mark up a foreign assistance appropriations measure for FY2021.
H.R. 7608 and the accompanying report (H.Rept. 116-444) do not specify appropriations levels for every Latin
American and Caribbean country. Nevertheless, the amounts designated for several U.S. initiatives differ
significantly from the Administration’s request. The bil would provide
 $519.9 mil ion to address the underlying factors driving irregular migration from Central America
($143 mil ion more than the Administration requested but $13.3 mil ion less than was al ocated to
the region in FY2020);
 $457.3 mil ion to support the peace process and security and development efforts in Colombia
($44.4 mil ion more than the Administration requested and $5.6 mil ion more than was al ocated
to the country in FY2020);
 $159.9 mil ion to support security and rule-of-law efforts in Mexico ($96.2 mil ion more than the
Administration requested and $2 mil ion more than was al ocated to the country in FY2020); and
 $30 mil ion to support a democratic transition and reestablish health systems in Venezuela ($175
mil ion less than the Administration requested and $5 mil ion less than was al ocated to the
country in FY2020).
As Congress continues the appropriations process, it may consider how to respond to the region’s emergence as
an epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic and whether to direct additional funding to support the region beyond
the $141 mil ion al ocated to Latin American and Caribbean countries as of August 2020. Congress also may
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U.S. Foreign Assistance to Latin America and the Caribbean: FY2021 Appropriations

consider whether to exert greater congressional control over U.S. assistance to Central America in response to the
Trump Administration’s decisions to suspend and reprogram aid appropriated in prior years. In addition to those
funding decisions, Congress may assess how the new U.S. International Development Finance Corporation might
complement foreign assistance efforts in promoting development and other U.S. foreign policy objectives in Latin
America and the Caribbean.

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Contents
Introduction ................................................................................................................... 1
Trends in U.S. Assistance to Latin America and the Caribbean ............................................... 3
Trump Administration’s FY2021 Foreign Assistance Budget Request ..................................... 4
Foreign Assistance Categories and Accounts .................................................................. 5
Major Country and Regional Programs ......................................................................... 7
Inter-American Foundation ....................................................................................... 10
Legislative Developments .............................................................................................. 10
Policy Issues for Congress .............................................................................................. 12
COVID-19 Response ............................................................................................... 12
Central America Funding Directives ........................................................................... 15
Role of the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation.................................... 17

Figures
Figure 1. Map of Latin America and the Caribbean............................................................... 2
Figure 2. U.S. Assistance to Latin America and the Caribbean: FY1946-FY2018 ...................... 3

Tables
Table 1. U.S. Foreign Assistance to Latin America and the Caribbean by Account:
FY2016-FY2021 Request .............................................................................................. 6
Table 2. U.S. Foreign Assistance to Latin America and the Caribbean by Country or
Regional Program: FY2016-FY2021 Request ................................................................... 8
Table 3. Inter-American Foundation (IAF) Appropriations: FY2016-FY2021 Request ............. 10
Table 4. U.S. Foreign Assistance to Latin America and the Caribbean to Respond to the
COVID-19 Pandemic.................................................................................................. 13
Table 5. U.S. Foreign Assistance to Latin America and the Caribbean: FY2019 ...................... 20
Table 6. U.S. Foreign Assistance to Latin America and the Caribbean: FY2020 Estimate ......... 22
Table 7. U.S. Foreign Assistance to Latin America and the Caribbean: FY2021 Request .......... 24

Appendixes
Appendix A. U.S. Foreign Assistance to Latin America and the Caribbean by Account
and Country or Regional Program: FY2019 .................................................................... 20
Appendix B. U.S. Foreign Assistance to Latin America and the Caribbean by Account
and Country or Regional Program: FY2020 Estimate ....................................................... 22
Appendix C. U.S. Foreign Assistance to Latin America and the Caribbean by Account
and Country or Regional Program: FY2021 Request ........................................................ 24

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Contacts
Author Information ....................................................................................................... 26

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Introduction
Foreign assistance is one of the tools the United States employs to advance U.S. interests in Latin
America and the Caribbean. The focus and funding levels of aid programs change along with
broader U.S. policy goals.1 Current aid programs reflect the diverse needs of the countries in the
region, as wel as the broad range of these countries’ ties to the United States (see Figure 1 for a
map of Latin America and the Caribbean). Some countries receive U.S. assistance across many
sectors as they struggle with political, socioeconomic, and security chal enges. Others have made
major strides in consolidating democratic governance and improving living conditions; these
countries no longer receive traditional U.S. development assistance but typical y receive some
U.S. support to address shared security chal enges, such as transnational crime.
Congress authorizes and appropriates funds for foreign assistance to the region and conducts
oversight of aid programs and the executive branch agencies that administer them. The Trump
Administration has proposed significant reductions to the foreign assistance budget to decrease
government expenditures and shift resources to other Administration priorities. The
Administration also has sought to modify some U.S. foreign assistance objectives, including
those in Latin America and the Caribbean. To date, Congress has not adopted many of the
Administration’s proposed changes.
This report provides an overview of U.S. assistance to Latin America and the Caribbean. It
examines historical and recent trends in aid to the region; the Trump Administration’s FY2021
budget request for aid administered by the State Department, the U.S. Agency for International
Development (USAID), and the Inter-American Foundation (IAF); and FY2021 foreign aid
appropriations legislation. It also analyzes several issues Congress may consider during the
appropriations process, including how to respond to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
pandemic, whether to exert greater congressional control over U.S. assistance to Central America,
and how the new U.S. International Development Finance Corporation might complement U.S.
assistance efforts in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Report Notes
To more accurately compare the Administration’s FY2021 foreign assistance request with previous years’
appropriations, most aid figures in this report refer only to bilateral assistance that is managed by the State
Department or the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and is requested for individual countries
or regional programs. Approximately two-thirds of the aid obligated by al U.S. agencies in Latin America and the
Caribbean in FY2018 was provided through the foreign assistance accounts examined in this report.
Several other sources of U.S. assistance to the region exist. Some countries in Latin America and the Caribbean
receive U.S. assistance to address humanitarian needs through USAID- and State Department-managed foreign
assistance accounts, such as Food for Peace Act Title II, International Disaster Assistance, and Migration and
Refugee Assistance. Likewise, some countries receive assistance from other U.S. agencies, such as the
Department of Defense, Mil ennium Chal enge Corporation, and Peace Corps. Moreover, multilateral
organizations that the United States supports financial y, such as the Organization of American States, the Inter-
American Development Bank, and the Pan American Health Organization, provide additional aid to the region.
Except where indicated, those accounts, agencies, and organizations are excluded from this analysis, because they
do not request assistance for individual countries and because country-level funding figures are not publicly
available until after the fiscal year has passed.
Source: USAID, Overseas Loans and Grants: Obligations and Loan Authorizations, July 1, 1945-September 30,
2018
, 2018, p. 88, at https://pdf.usaid.gov/pdf_docs/PBAAJ820.pdf.

1 For more information on U.S. policy in the region, see CRS Report R46258, Latin America and the Caribbean: U.S.
Policy and Issues in the 116th Congress
, coordinated by Mark P. Sullivan.
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U.S. Foreign Assistance to Latin America and the Caribbean: FY2021 Appropriations

Figure 1. Map of Latin America and the Caribbean

Source: Map Resources, edited by the Congressional Research Service (CRS).
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U.S. Foreign Assistance to Latin America and the Caribbean: FY2021 Appropriations

Trends in U.S. Assistance to Latin America and
the Caribbean
The United States has long been a major contributor of foreign assistance to countries in Latin
America and the Caribbean. Between 1946 and 2018, the United States provided nearly $91
bil ion ($188 bil ion in constant 2018 dollars) of assistance to the region.2 U.S. assistance to the
region spiked in the early 1960s, following the introduction of President John F. Kennedy’s
Al iance for Progress, an anti-poverty initiative that sought to counter Soviet and Cuban influence
in the aftermath of Fidel Castro’s 1959 seizure of power in Cuba. After a period of decline, U.S.
assistance to the region increased again following the 1979 assumption of power by the leftist
Sandinistas in Nicaragua. Throughout the 1980s, the United States provided considerable support
to Central American governments battling leftist insurgencies to prevent potential Soviet al ies
from establishing political or military footholds in the region. U.S. aid flows declined in the mid-
1990s, following the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the end of the Central American civil
conflicts (see Figure 2).
Figure 2. U.S. Assistance to Latin America and the Caribbean: FY1946-FY2018

Source: CRS presentation of data from U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Foreign Aid
Explorer: The Official Record of U.S. Foreign Aid,
at https://explorer.usaid.gov/data.html.
Notes: Includes aid obligations from al U.S. government agencies. Data for FY2019 and FY2020 are not yet
available.
U.S. foreign assistance to Latin America and the Caribbean began to increase again in the late
1990s and remained on a general y upward trajectory through 2010. The higher levels of

2 T hese figures include aid obligations from all U.S. government agencies to the 33 independent Latin American and
Caribbean countries (identified in Figure 1). U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Foreign Aid
Explorer: The Official Record of U.S. Foreign Aid ,
accessed August 2020, at https://explorer.usaid.gov/data.html.
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assistance were partial y the result of increased spending on humanitarian and development
assistance. In the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch in 1998, the United States provided extensive
humanitarian and reconstruction assistance to several countries in Central America. The
establishment of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief in 2003 and the Mil ennium
Chal enge Corporation in 2004 also provided many countries in the region with new sources of
U.S. assistance.3 In addition, the United States provided significant assistance to Haiti in the
aftermath of a massive earthquake in 2010.
Increased funding for counter-narcotics and security programs also contributed to the rise in U.S.
assistance. Beginning with President Bil Clinton and the 106th Congress in FY2000, successive
Administrations and Congresses provided significant amounts of foreign aid to Colombia and its
Andean neighbors to combat drug trafficking and end Colombia’s long-running internal armed
conflict. Spending received another boost in FY2008, when President George W. Bush joined
with his Mexican counterpart to announce the Mérida Initiative, a package of U.S. counter-drug
and anti-crime assistance for Mexico and Central America. In FY2010, Congress and the Obama
Administration split the Central American portion of the Mérida Initiative into a separate Central
America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) and created a similar program for the countries of
the Caribbean known as the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI).
U.S. assistance to Latin America and the Caribbean began to decline again in FY2011. Although
the decline was partial y due to reductions in the overal U.S. foreign assistance budget in the
aftermath of a U.S. recession, it also reflected changes in the region. Due to stronger economic
growth and more effective social policies, the percentage of people living in poverty in Latin
America fel from 45% in 2002 to an estimated 30% in 2019.4 Some countries, such as Argentina,
Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Uruguay, were able to provide assistance to others in the
region. Other countries, such as Bolivia and Ecuador, expel ed U.S. personnel and opposed U.S.
assistance projects, leading to the closure of USAID field missions.5 Collectively, these changes
resulted in the U.S. government concentrating foreign assistance resources for Latin America and
the Caribbean in fewer countries and sectors.
Trump Administration’s FY2021 Foreign
Assistance Budget Request6
The Trump Administration requested $1.4 bil ion for Latin America and the Caribbean through
foreign assistance accounts managed by the State Department and USAID in FY2021. That
amount would be $314 mil ion, or 18%, less than the estimated $1.7 bil ion of assistance
al ocated for the region in FY2020 (see Table 1). The Administration also proposed eliminating
the IAF—a smal , independent U.S. foreign assistance agency that promotes grassroots
development in Latin America and the Caribbean—and consolidating its programs into USAID.

3 For more information on the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and the Millennium Challenge Corporation,
see CRS In Focus IF10797, PEPFAR Stewardship and Oversight Act: Expiring Authorities, by T iaji Salaam-Blyther;
and CRS Report RL32427, Millennium Challenge Corporation: Overview and Issues, by Nick M. Brown.
4 U.N. Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, Social Challenge in Times of COVID-19, May 12,
2020, p. 2.
5 USAID is reestablishing a field mission in Ecuador, but the process has been delayed by the Coronavirus Disease
2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
6 Unless otherwise noted, data and information in this section are drawn from U.S. Department of State, Congressional
Budget Justification for Foreign Operations, Appendix 2, Fiscal Year 2021
, February 20, 2020, at
https://www.state.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/FY21-CBJ-Appendix-2-FINAL-2.pdf.
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U.S. Foreign Assistance to Latin America and the Caribbean: FY2021 Appropriations

The Administration’s proposed reductions for foreign assistance to the region are slightly lower
than the nearly 26% cut proposed for foreign operations global y.7
Foreign Assistance Categories and Accounts8
The Administration’s proposed FY2021 foreign aid budget for Latin America and the Caribbean
requests $760.9 mil ion (54% of the total) through a new Economic Support and Development
Fund (ESDF). As proposed, the ESDF foreign assistance account would consolidate aid that
currently is provided through the Development Assistance (DA) and Economic Support Fund
(ESF) accounts to support democracy, the rule of law, economic reform, education, agriculture,
and natural resource management.9 Whereas administrations often have used the DA account for
long-term projects to foster broad-based economic progress and social stability in developing
countries, the ESDF account, like the ESF account, would focus more on countries and programs
deemed critical to short-term U.S. security and strategic objectives. The FY2021 request includes
$74.5 mil ion (9%) less funding for the ESDF account than was al ocated to the region through
the DA and ESF accounts combined in FY2020.
Another $132.8 mil ion (9%) of the Administration’s FY2021 request for the region would be
provided through two Global Health Programs (GHP) accounts. This amount includes $96.8
mil ion requested through the State Department GHP account for HIV/AIDS programs and $36
mil ion requested through the USAID GHP account to combat malaria and support maternal and
child health, nutrition, and family planning programs. Under the FY2021 request for the region,
funding for the State Department GHP account would decline by $60.9 mil ion (39%) and
funding for the USAID GHP account would decline by $17.3 mil ion (32%) compared with the
FY2020 estimate.
The remaining $508.5 mil ion (36%) of the Administration’s FY2021 request for Latin America
and the Caribbean would support security assistance programs, including the following
 $452.9 mil ion requested through the International Narcotics Control and Law
Enforcement (INCLE) account for counter-narcotics, civilian law enforcement
efforts, and projects intended to strengthen judicial institutions. INCLE funding
for the region would decline by $102.3 mil ion (18%) compared with the FY2020
estimate.
 $24 mil ion requested through the Nonproliferation, Anti-terrorism, Demining,
and Related Programs (NADR) account to help countries in the region carry out
humanitarian demining programs, strengthen conventional weapons stockpile
management, develop strategic trade controls and border security measures, and
enhance their counterterrorism capacities. NADR funding would decline by $3.3
mil ion (12%) compared with the FY2020 estimate.

7 For more information on the global foreign aid budget, see CRS Report R46367, Department of State, Foreign
Operations, and Related Program s: FY2021 Budget and Appropriations
, by Cory R. Gill, Marian L. Lawson, and
Emily M. Morgenstern.
8 For more information on the various foreign assistance accounts and the programs they fund, see CRS Report
R40482, Departm ent of State, Foreign Operations Appropriations: A Guide to Com ponent Accounts, by Nick M.
Brown and Cory R. Gill.
9 T he Economic Support and Development Fund (ESDF) account also would consolidate aid currently provided
through the Democracy Fund and Assistance for Europe, Eurasia, and Central Asia accounts, which are not major
sources of funding for the region. T he Administration requested funding through the proposed ESDF account in
FY2018, FY2019, and FY2020, but Congress did not support the consolidation of existing foreign assistance accounts.
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 $11.6 mil ion requested through the International Military Education and
Training (IMET) account to train Latin American and Caribbean military
personnel. IMET funding would decrease by $2.8 mil ion (19%) compared with
the FY2020 estimate.
 $20 mil ion requested through the Foreign Military Financing (FMF) account to
provide U.S. military equipment and services to Colombia. FMF funding for the
region would decline by $52.7 mil ion (72%) compared with the FY2020
estimate.
Table 1. U.S. Foreign Assistance to Latin America and the Caribbean by Account:
FY2016-FY2021 Request
(mil ions of current U.S. dol ars)
Account
FY2016
FY2017
FY2018
FY2019
FY2020
FY2021
% Change
(est.)
(req.)
FY20E-
FY21R
DA
484.4
484.4
386.2
385.3
457.8
0.0
—a
ESF
402.9
352.0b
419.1b
402.3b
377.6b
0.0
—a
ESDF





760.9
-9%a
GHP
66.4
64.4
63.4
53.3
53.3
36.0
-32%
(USAID)
GHP
123.0
117.7
136.7
170.5
157.7
96.8
-39%
(State)
INCLE
524.4
533.2
542.2
564.3
555.2
452.9
-18%
NADR
8.6
25.4
23.5
25.8
27.3
24.0
-12%
IMET
13.0
13.4
11.2
9.9
14.4
11.6
-19%
FMF
69.4
82.7
86.0
82.8
72.7
20.0
-72%
Total
1,691.9
1,673.2b
1,668.4bc
1,694.1b
1,716.0bd
1,402.3
-18%
Sources: U.S. Department of State, Congressional Budget Justifications for Foreign Operations, FY2018-FY2021, at
https://www.state.gov/plans-performance-budget/international-affairs-budgets/; and U.S. Department of State,
FY2020 estimate data, June 15, 2020.
Notes: DA = Development Assistance; ESDF = Economic Support and Development Fund; ESF = Economic
Support Fund; FMF = Foreign Military Financing; GHP = Global Health Programs; IMET = International Military
Education and Training; INCLE = International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement; NADR =
Nonproliferation, Anti-terrorism, Demining, and Related Programs; State = Department of State; USAID = U.S.
Agency for International Development.
a. The FY2021 request would consolidate several foreign assistance accounts, including DA and ESF, into a
new ESDF account. The table compares the FY2021 ESDF request with the combined FY2020 DA and ESF
estimates.
b. Congress appropriated an additional $9 mil ion of ESF for the region each year from FY2017 to FY2019, and
an additional $5 mil ion of ESF for the region in FY2020. Those funds are not included in this table, because
they were appropriated as multilateral assistance through the Organization of American States.
c. FY2018 totals represent al ocations as of the end of that fiscal year. The Trump Administration
subsequently reprogrammed approximately $405 mil ion of FY2018 aid Congress had appropriated for El
Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, real ocating some of those funds outside the Latin American and
Caribbean region.
d. FY2020 totals do not include any of the funding made available for Latin America and the Caribbean through
supplemental emergency appropriations to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Major Country and Regional Programs
The Trump Administration’s FY2021 budget request would reduce U.S. assistance for most
countries and regional programs in Latin America and the Caribbean (see Table 2).
The FY2021 request includes $376.9 mil ion to address the underlying conditions driving
irregular migration from Central America to the United States by promoting good governance,
economic prosperity, and improved security in the region. That would be a $156.3 mil ion (29%)
cut compared with the FY2020 estimate. The request does not include any foreign aid specifical y
for El Salvador, Guatemala, or Honduras (the “Northern Triangle” of Central America). However,
the Administration asserts that those countries could receive a portion of the assistance requested
for CARSI and the USAID Latin America and Caribbean Regional Program if their governments
continue to take action to stem migration to the United States.10
Colombia would remain the single largest recipient of U.S. assistance in Latin America and the
Caribbean under the Administration’s FY2021 request; however, aid would fal to $412.9
mil ion—a $38.8 mil ion (9%) reduction compared with the FY2020 estimate. Colombia has
received significant U.S. assistance to support counter-narcotics and counterterrorism efforts
since FY2000, and the FY2021 request would provide continued support for Colombia’s drug
eradication and interdiction efforts. The request also would support the ongoing implementation
of the Colombian government’s peace accord with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia
(FARC), including with aid intended to foster reconciliation within Colombian society, expand
state presence to regions historical y under FARC control, and support rural economic
development in marginalized communities.11
Venezuela is one of the few countries in the region for which the Administration has requested
increased assistance. Although the country continues to contend with interrelated political,
economic, and humanitarian crises, the Administration’s request assumes there wil be progress
toward the reestablishment of democracy by FY2021. The request would provide $205 mil ion to
support the transitional government, improve food security, strengthen the health system, stabilize
the energy sector, and foster economic growth. Total aid to Venezuela would increase by $170
mil ion (486%) compared with the FY2020 estimate.12
Haiti, which has received high levels of aid for many years due to its significant development
chal enges, would be the third-largest recipient of U.S. assistance in the region in FY2021 under
the Administration’s request. U.S. assistance increased significantly after a massive earthquake
struck Haiti in 2010 but has gradual y declined from those elevated levels. The Administration’s
FY2021 request would provide $128.2 mil ion to Haiti to help address health chal enges
(particularly HIV/AIDS), support credible elections, strengthen government and police capacity,
improve food security, and increase economic opportunity. This would be a $44.4 mil ion (26%)
cut compared with the FY2020 estimate.13

10 For more information on U.S. policy toward Central America, see CRS In Focus IF10371, U.S. Strategy for
Engagem ent in Central Am erica: An Overview
, by Peter J. Meyer.
11 For more information on U.S. policy toward Colombia, see CRS Report R43813, Colombia: Background and U.S.
Relations
, by June S. Beittel.
12 For more information on U.S. policy toward Venezuela, see CRS Report R44841, Venezuela: Background and U.S.
Relations
, coordinated by Clare Ribando Seelke.
13 For more information on U.S. policy toward Haiti, see CRS Report R45034, Haiti’s Political and Economic
Conditions
, by Maureen T aft -Morales.
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Mexico would receive $63.8 mil ion of assistance under the FY2021 request, which would be a
$94.2 mil ion (60%) cut compared with the FY2020 estimate. Mexico traditional y was not a
major U.S. aid recipient due to its middle-income status, but it began receiving larger amounts of
counter-narcotics and anti-crime assistance through the Mérida Initiative in FY2008. The
Administration’s FY2021 request for Mexico would fund efforts to strengthen the rule of law;
secure borders and ports; and combat transnational organized crime, including opium poppy
cultivation and heroin and fentanyl production.14
The FY2021 request includes $32 mil ion for the CBSI, which would be a $28 mil ion (47%) cut
compared with the FY2020 estimate. The CBSI funds maritime and aerial security cooperation,
law enforcement capacity building, border and port security, justice sector reform, and crime
prevention programs in the Caribbean.15
Table 2. U.S. Foreign Assistance to Latin America and the Caribbean by Country or
Regional Program: FY2016-FY2021 Request
(thousands of current U.S. dol ars)

FY2016
FY2017
FY2018
FY2019
FY2020
FY2021
% Change
(est.)
(req.)
FY20E-
FY21R
Argentina
579
624
2,918
3,089
3,100
600
-81%
Bahamas
207
173
138
196
200
200

Belize
1,243
1,241
1,143
235
1,250
200
-84%
Bolivia
0
0
0
0
0
0

Brazil
12,858
11,690
11,423
11,619
15,800
625
-96%
Chile
670
689
357
487
600
400
-33%
Colombia
293,081
384,248
384,312
421,180
451,703
412,900
-9%
Costa Rica
1,819
5,718
5,725
8,180
8,225
400
-95%
Cuba
20,000
20,000
20,000
20,000
20,000
10,000
-50%
Dominican
21,615
13,736
20,174
36,777
28,661
15,500
-46%
Republic
Ecuador
2,000
1,789
1,789
12,000
19,450
17,200
-12%
El Salvador
67,900
72,759
57,656a
0b
72,700
0
-100%
Guatemala
127,515
125,493
108,453a
0b
79,450
0
-100%
Guyana
243
277
239
176
200
200

Haiti
185,076
164,552
181,319
193,752
172,520
128,155
-26%
Honduras
98,250
95,260
79,678a
0b
65,800
0
-100%
Jamaica
5,065
10,597
1,335
1,598
1,600
600
-63%
Mexico
160,156
138,566
151,263
162,410
157,910
63,750
-60%
Nicaragua
10,000
9,679
10,000
11,610
10,000
10,000


14 For more information on U.S. policy toward Mexico, see CRS Report R42917, Mexico: Background and U.S.
Relations
, by Clare Ribando Seelke.
15 For more information on the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative, see CRS In Focus IF10789, Caribbean Basin
Security Initiative
, by Mark P. Sullivan.
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FY2016
FY2017
FY2018
FY2019
FY2020
FY2021
% Change
(est.)
(req.)
FY20E-
FY21R
Panama
3,346
3,271
3,086
1,162
3,225
1,100
-66%
Paraguay
8,620
6,150
4,297
4,397
4,400
4,400

Peru
74,898
64,473
74,814
75,396
77,200
68,600
-11%
Suriname
215
269
167
195
200
200

Trinidad and
325
343
341
326
350
300
-14%
Tobago
Uruguay
499
498
401
385
400
300
-25%
Venezuela
6,500
7,000
15,000
22,500
35,000
205,000
+486%
Barbados and
26,425
26,629
24,027
3,456
13,950
3,550
-75%
Eastern
Caribbean
USAID
4,000
3,000
4,000
4,000
10,000
0
-100%
Caribbean
Development
USAID
39,761
38,316
19,931a
181,390b
5,000
0
-100%
Central
America
Regional
USAID South
12,000
14,000
18,065
18,000
15,000
15,500
+3%
America
Regional
USAID Latin
28,360
26,700
51,600
68,300
39,978
199,650
+399%
America and
Caribbean
Regional
State
478,668
425,471
414,795
431,313
402,135
242,926
-40%
Western
Hemisphere
Regional
[CARSI]
[348,500]
[329,225]
[319,225]a
[290,000]
[270,000]
[185,000]
[-31%]
[CBSI]
[57,721]
[57,700]
[57,700]
[58,000]
[60,000]
[32,000]
[-47%]
Total
1,691,894
1,673,211
1,668,446a
1,694,129
1,716,007c
1,402,256
-18%
Sources: U.S. Department of State, Congressional Budget Justifications for Foreign Operations, FY2018-FY2021, at
https://www.state.gov/plans-performance-budget/international-affairs-budgets/; and U.S. Department of State,
FY2020 estimate data, June 15, 2020.
Notes: CARSI = Central America Regional Security Initiative; CBSI = Caribbean Basin Security Initiative. CARSI
and CBSI are funded through the State Western Hemisphere Regional program. USAID and State Department
regional programs fund region-wide initiatives as wel as activities that cross borders or take place in
nonpresence countries.
a. FY2018 totals represent al ocations as of the end of that fiscal year. The Trump Administration
subsequently reprogrammed approximately $405 mil ion of FY2018 aid Congress had appropriated for El
Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.
b. Due to the Trump Administration’s suspension of aid to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, $181.4
mil ion of FY2019 assistance had yet to be al ocated when the Administration released its FY2021 request.
c. FY2020 totals do not include any of the funding made available for Latin America and the Caribbean through
supplemental emergency appropriations to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Inter-American Foundation
In addition to the proposed reductions to State Department and USAID-managed assistance for
the region, for the fourth consecutive year, the Trump Administration’s FY2021 budget request
proposed eliminating the IAF and consolidating its programs into USAID.16 The IAF is an
independent U.S. foreign assistance agency established through the Foreign Assistance Act of
1969 (22 U.S.C. §290f). Congress created the agency after conducting a comprehensive review of
previous assistance efforts and determining that programs at the government-to-government level
had not promoted significant social and civic change in the region despite fostering economic
growth.17 The IAF provides grants and other targeted assistance directly to the organized poor to
foster economic and social development and to encourage civic engagement in their communities.
The IAF is active in 24 countries in the region—including 8 countries where USAID no longer
has field missions—and has focused particularly on migrant-sending communities in Central
America since 2014.
The Trump Administration asserts that merging the IAF’s smal grants programs into USAID
would “better integrate [those smal grants] with USAID’s existing global development programs,
more cohesively serve U.S. foreign policy objectives, and increase organizational efficiencies
through reducing duplication and overhead.”18 The FY2021 request includes $3.9 mil ion to
conduct an orderly closeout of the IAF (see Table 3). Opponents of the merger note that Congress
specifical y created the IAF as an alternative to other U.S. agencies. They argue that USAID
would not be able to maintain the IAF’s distinct model and flexibility, which have al owed the
IAF to invest in innovative projects and work with groups that otherwise would be unable or
unwil ing to partner with the U.S. government.
Table 3. Inter-American Foundation (IAF) Appropriations: FY2016-FY2021 Request
(mil ions of current U.S. dol ars)
FY2016
FY2017
FY2018
FY2019
FY2020
FY2021
% Change
(est.)
(req.)
FY20-FY21
22.5
22.5
30.0
22.5
37.5
3.9
-90%
Source: U.S. Department of State, Congressional Budget Justifications for Foreign Operations, FY2018-FY2021, at
https://www.state.gov/plans-performance-budget/international-affairs-budgets/.
Legislative Developments
On October 1, 2020, President Trump signed into law a short-term continuing resolution (P.L.
116-159), which funds foreign aid programs at the FY2020 level until December 11, 2020. As
Congress considers appropriations for the remainder of FY2021, it may draw from the
Department of State, Foreign Operations, Agriculture, Rural Development, Interior, Environment,
Military Construction, and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act, 2021 (H.R. 7608), which the
House passed on July 24, 2020. Division A of the bil —the Department of State, Foreign
Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2021—would provide $48.6 bil ion for

16 T he T rump Administration is not the first to propose elimination of the Inter-American Foundation. In 1999,
Congress passed legislation (P.L. 106-113, later amended by P.L. 106-429) that authorized the President during
FY2000-FY2001 to abolish the Inter-American Foundation. However, the President did not exercise th at authority.
17 H.Rept. 91-611, p. 57.
18 U.S. Department of State, Congressional Budget Justification, Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related
Program s, Fiscal Year 2021
, February 10, 2020, p. 85.
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foreign operations global y. That sum would be nearly 62% more than the Administration
requested and nearly 20% more than the FY2020 enacted level.
The bil includes $9.1 bil ion of emergency foreign aid to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Those funds would build on nearly $1.8 bil ion of FY2020 supplemental foreign aid Congress
appropriated through the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations
Act, 2020 (P.L. 116-123), and the CARES Act (P.L. 116-136) in March 2020. (For more on
COVID-19 aid to the region, see “COVID-19 Response,” below.19)
The Senate Appropriations Committee has yet to report a foreign assistance appropriations
measure for FY2021.
H.R. 7608 and the accompanying report (H.Rept. 116-444) do not specify appropriations levels
for every Latin American and Caribbean country. Nevertheless, the amounts designated for
several key U.S. initiatives differ significantly from the Administration’s request.
Caribbean Basin Security Initiative. The bil would provide “not less than” $74.8 mil ion for
the CBSI. The report states that “not less than” $10 mil ion of those funds are to strengthen
Caribbean countries’ resilience to emergencies and disasters. The appropriation for the CBSI
would be $42.8 mil ion more than the Administration requested and $14.8 mil ion more than was
provided for the initiative in FY2020.
Central America. The bil would provide “not less than” $519.9 mil ion for Central America,
including “not less than” $420.8 mil ion for the Northern Triangle. U.S. agencies are to prioritize
“programs and activities that address the key factors that contribute to the migration of
unaccompanied, undocumented minors to the United States.” The appropriation for Central
America would exceed the Administration’s request by $143 mil ion but would be $13.3 mil ion
less than was al ocated to Central American countries in FY2020.
Colombia. The bil would provide “not less than” $457.3 mil ion for Colombia. According to the
report, that assistance is intended to support the Colombian government’s efforts to
 implement the peace accord;
 assist communities with significant migrant, refugee, and internal y displaced
populations;
 combat drug trafficking and illegal armed groups;
 assist farmers in eradicating and replacing coca;
 promote economic and social development;
 strengthen governance and the rule of law;
 enhance the security and stability of Colombia and the broader region; and
 protect human rights defenders and communities at risk.
The appropriation for Colombia would be $44.4 mil ion more than the Administration requested
and $5.6 mil ion more than was provided to Colombia in FY2020.
Mexico. According to the report, the bil would provide $159.9 mil ion for Mexico. U.S. agencies
are to prioritize efforts to improve the capacities of Mexican security and justice sector
institutions to combat transnational criminal organizations and “keep communities safe on both

19 For more on COVID-19 and U.S. foreign assistance, see CRS In Focus IF11496, COVID-19 and Foreign Assistance:
Issues for Congress
, by Nick M. Brown, Marian L. Lawson, and Emily M. Morgenstern .
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U.S. Foreign Assistance to Latin America and the Caribbean: FY2021 Appropriations

sides of the border.” The appropriation for Mexico would be $96.2 mil ion more than the
Administration requested and $2 mil ion more than was provided to Mexico in FY2020.
Venezuela. The bil would provide “not less than” $30 mil ion for democracy programs in
Venezuela. The report also urges the Secretary of State and the USAID Administrator to al ocate
additional funds to support a peaceful democratic transition in Venezuela “as conditions permit.”
The appropriation for Venezuela would be $175 mil ion less than the Administration requested
and $5 mil ion less than was provided to Venezuela in FY2020.
Inter-American Foundation. The bil would provide $41.5 mil ion for the IAF, rejecting the
Administration’s proposed closeout and increasing the agency’s budget by $4 mil ion compared
with FY2020. The report stipulates that $10 mil ion is to be made available for programs in El
Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras and that the agency’s increased appropriation should support
a pilot exchange program between indigenous IAF grantees and Native American tribes. The bil
also would provide an additional $10 mil ion of emergency funding for the IAF “to prevent,
prepare for, and respond to” the COVID-19 pandemic.
Policy Issues for Congress
Congress may examine a number of policy issues as it continues to consider appropriations for
foreign operations in Latin America and the Caribbean. These issues include how to respond to
the COVID-19 pandemic, whether to exert greater congressional control over U.S. assistance to
Central America, and how the new U.S. International Development Finance Corporation might
complement U.S. assistance efforts in Latin America and the Caribbean.
COVID-19 Response20
Conditions in Latin America and the Caribbean have changed significantly since the
Administration released its FY2021 budget request in February 2020. The region emerged as an
epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in late May, and it now accounts for 28% of total cases and
34% of deaths recorded worldwide. As of October 1, 2020, the region had recorded more than 9.3
mil ion cases and more than 343,000 deaths.21
Most analysts expect the pandemic’s economic impact to be severe. The U.N. Economic
Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), for example, projects a regional
average decline of more than 9% in gross domestic product in 2020, leaving an additional 45
mil ion people in poverty and an additional 28 mil ion in extreme poverty. As a result, the
regional poverty rate would climb from 30% to 37% and the extreme poverty rate would climb
from 11% to nearly 16%.22 ECLAC expects the living standards of middle-income households to
deteriorate sharply and income inequality to increase throughout the region.
A number of Latin American and Caribbean countries have enacted substantial economic support
measures intended to mitigate the pandemic’s impact and reactivate their economies. Others,
however, lack the resources to protect vulnerable households. In Guatemala, Honduras, Haiti, and
El Salvador, for example, a growing number of families are struggling to make ends meet as the

20 For more information, see CRS In Focus IF11581, Latin America and the Caribbean: Impact of COVID-19, by Mark
P. Sullivan et al.
21 Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Coronavirus Resource Center, “Mortality Analyses,” at
https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/data/mortality. COVID-19-related data may be expected to evolve rapidly.
22 United Nations, Policy Brief: The Impact of COVID-19 on Latin America and the Caribbean, July 2020.
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pandemic and government containment measures have reduced earnings and contributed to rising
food prices. The USAID-funded Famine Early Warning Systems Network projects al four
countries wil struggle with acute food insecurity crises and wil need increased external
emergency food assistance into 2021.23 Given those humanitarian needs and the potential threats
to U.S. interests posed by a prolonged pandemic and economic downturn in the region, some
analysts argue that the United States should scale up assistance for Latin American and Caribbean
countries.24
In March 2020, Congress enacted two FY2020 supplemental appropriations measures (P.L. 116-
123 and P.L. 116-136) that provided nearly $1.8 bil ion in U.S. foreign assistance to prevent,
prepare for, and respond to COVID-19 global y. USAID and the State Department have begun
addressing needs in the Latin American and Caribbean region using those supplemental funds and
prior appropriations. As of August 21, 2020, the Administration said it was providing more than
$141 mil ion in new and previously announced assistance to help countries in the region respond
to the pandemic. That total includes $69.5 mil ion of International Disaster Assistance, $33.8
mil ion of Migration and Refugee Assistance, $27.6 mil ion of health assistance, and $10.5
mil ion of ESF (see Table 4). Among other activities, U.S. assistance is funding efforts to
improve water, sanitation, and hygiene; reduce food insecurity; communicate risks through
community engagement; strengthen laboratories, clinical management, and disease surveil ance;
support migrants, asylum-seekers, refugees, and host communities; and address the second-order
economic and social impacts of the pandemic.
Table 4. U.S. Foreign Assistance to Latin America and the Caribbean to Respond to
the COVID-19 Pandemic
(as of August 21, 2020, in thousands of current U.S. dol ars)

International
Migration and
Health
Economic
Total
Disaster
Refugee
Assistance
Support
Assistance
Assistance
Assistance
Funds
Argentina

300


300
Bahamas


750

750
Belize


300

300
Bolivia

130
750

880
Brazil
6,000
4,800
2,000
950
13,750
Chile

20


20
Colombia
15,500
8,100


23,600
Costa Rica

880
800

1,680
Cuba




0
Dominican
Republic

275
1,400
2,000
3,675

23 Famine Early Warning Systems Network, “Central America and Caribbean Food Security Outlook: June 2020 to
January 2021”; and “Food Assistance Outlook Brief: Projected Food Assistance Needs for January 2021,” July 2020.
24 See, for examples, T revor Sutton, Dan Restrepo, and Joel Martinez, Getting Ahead of the Curve: Why the United
States Needs to Plan for the Coronavirus in the Am ericas
, Center for American Progress, May 5, 2020; “ Congress
Should Approve Aid for COVID-19’s New Epicenter: Latin America and the Caribbean,” joint statement from 34 civil
society groups, Washington Office on Latin America, June 8, 2020; and Walter Kerr, “Latin America Can’t Survive the
Coronavirus Crisis Alone,” Foreign Policy, August 3, 2020.
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International
Migration and
Health
Economic
Total
Disaster
Refugee
Assistance
Support
Assistance
Assistance
Assistance
Funds
Ecuador
11,000
5,000
2,000

18,000
El Salvador
2,000

2,600
2,000
6,600
Guatemala
6,000

2,400
1,500
9,900
Guyana

350


350
Haiti
10,000

3,200

13,200
Honduras
3,000
700
2,400

6,100
Jamaica


1,000
1,000
2,000
Mexico

2,100


2,100
Nicaragua


750

750
Panama

1,100
750

1,850
Paraguay

95
1,300

1,395
Peru
7,000
3,800
2,500
3,000
16,300
Trinidad and
Tobago

250


250
Uruguay

100
500

600
Venezuela
9,000
4,700


13,700
Central
America

1,100


1,100
(regional)a
Caribbean


2,200

2,200
(regional)b
Total
69,500
33,800
27,600
10,450
141,350
Sources: U.S. Department of State, “Update: The United States Continues to Lead the Global Response to
COVID-19,” fact sheet, August 21, 2020, at https://www.state.gov/update-the-united-states-continues-to-lead-
the-global-response-to-covid-19-6/; and CRS communication with USAID, August 2020.
Notes: Health assistance is provided through USAID’s Global Health Emergency Reserve Fund for Contagious
Infectious-Disease Outbreaks and the Global Health Programs account.
a. Central America regional assistance is funding projects in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.
b. Caribbean regional assistance is funding projects in Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada,
Guyana, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad a nd
Tobago.
Although the Latin American and Caribbean region is registering the highest number of new
COVID-19 cases and is expected to experience the deepest economic downturn in the world,25 it
has received less than 9% of the $1.6 bil ion of pandemic-related assistance that USAID and the
State Department have announced thus far.26 USAID and the State Department work with the

25 World Health Organization, “Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Weekly Epidemiological Update,” August 30, 2020;
and International Monetary Fund, World Econom ic Outlook Update: A Crisis Like No Other, An Uncertain Recovery,
June 2020.
26 U.S. Department of State, “Update: T he United States Continues to Lead the Global Response to COVID-19,” fact
sheet, August 21, 2020.
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U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other interagency partners to determine
assistance al ocations. According to USAID, the prioritization process is based on a series of
factors that include caseload and extent of community transmission, connectivity to a COVID-19
hotspot, unstable political situations or displaced populations, health system weaknesses, and the
potential impact of U.S. assistance.27
Congress may consider whether to provide additional pandemic response assistance for Latin
American and Caribbean countries in FY2021 appropriations measures. As noted, the House-
passed FY2021 foreign aid appropriations measure (Division A of H.R. 7608) would provide $9.1
bil ion of emergency foreign aid to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and related economic and
stabilization requirements around the world. The bil does not designate any pandemic response
funding specifical y for Latin America and the Caribbean, with the exception of $10 mil ion for
the IAF.
Congress also may assess the appropriate level of funding for the Pan American Health
Organization (PAHO), which is the specialized international health agency of the Americas and
the World Health Organization’s regional office.28 PAHO is providing direct emergency response
assistance to health ministries throughout the region to strengthen surveil ance, testing, and
laboratory capacity; bolster health care services; and support infection prevention control, clinical
management, and risk communications.29 The Trump Administration requested $16.3 mil ion for
PAHO in FY2021, which would leave 75% of the U.S. government’s assessed contribution
(membership dues) for FY2021 unpaid. The Administration also withheld the U.S. government’s
FY2020 assessed contribution until July 2020, due to concerns about the organization’s
participation in a 2013-2018 program that paid Cuba to send doctors to underserved areas of
Brazil.30 The Administration’s decision to withhold the $65.8 mil ion assessment reportedly left
PAHO on “the brink of insolvency” at the same time the organization was trying to contain the
COVID-19 pandemic.31 It appears as though H.R. 7608 would fully fund the U.S. government’s
$65.2 mil ion assessed contribution to PAHO for FY2021 but would not specify any additional
voluntary contributions for the organization; USAID provided $18.6 mil ion of voluntary
contributions to PAHO in FY2019.32
Central America Funding Directives33
Since FY2016, Congress has appropriated more than $3.1 bil ion to improve security,
governance, and socioeconomic conditions in Central America as part of a whole-of-government
initiative to address the drivers of irregular migration. However, in March 2019—less than two
years into the initiative’s on-the-ground implementation—the Trump Administration suspended

27 USAID, “COVID-19 – Global Response,” fact sheet #1, April 21, 2020.
28 Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), founded in 1902 as part of the inter-American system, predates the
World Health Organization.
29 For more information, see PAHO’s COVID-19 situation reports at https://www.paho.org/en/tag/covid-19-situation-
reports.
30 Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, “Pan American Health Organization T ransparency,” U.S. Department of
State, July 15, 2020; and CRS communication with the U.S. Department of State, July 21, 2020.
31 PAHO, “Current Financial Situation and Adjustments to the Pan American Health Organization Strategic Priorities,”
CESS1/2, May 21, 2020.
32 U.S. Department of State, Report to Congress on U.S. Contributions to International Organizations, Fiscal Year
2019, Section 4(b) of the United States Participation Act, 22 USC 287b(b)
, August 14, 2020.
33 For more information on U.S. policy in Central America, see CRS Report R44812, U.S. Strategy for Engagement in
Central Am erica: Policy Issues for Congress
, by Peter J. Meyer.
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most foreign aid to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. The Administration proceeded to
reprogram approximately $405 mil ion of aid appropriated for the Northern Triangle countries in
FY2018, real ocating the funds to other foreign policy priorities within, and outside of, the Latin
American and Caribbean region. The Administration also withheld most of the assistance
Congress appropriated for Central America in FY2019 while it negotiated a series of agreements
intended to stem the flow of migrants and asylum-seekers from the Northern Triangle to the
United States.
The aid suspension resulted in USAID and the State Department closing down projects and
cancel ing planned activities. In Honduras, for example, the total number of beneficiaries of
USAID activities fel from 1.5 mil ion in March 2019 to 700,000 in March 2020.34 Some
Members of Congress criticized the aid suspension as counterproductive, arguing that
withholding assistance “erodes the capacity of USAID to improve conditions on the ground—the
very conditions driving people to leave for safer lives in the United States.”35 The Administration
began releasing some targeted aid to the Northern Triangle in late 2019, and it had programmed
al of the previously suspended assistance for the region as of mid-June 2020. The Administration
asserts that continued assistance to the Northern Triangle depends on the Salvadoran,
Guatemalan, and Honduran governments continuing to “take actions to stem il egal immigration
to the United States.”36
Congress has provided the Administration with significant authority to modify assistance
al ocations for Central America in recent appropriations measures. The Consolidated
Appropriations Act, 2018 (P.L. 115-141), provided “up to” $615 mil ion of assistance for the
region.37 However, the act also required the Administration to withhold some assistance for El
Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras and authorized the Administration to suspend and reprogram
that assistance if the Northern Triangle governments failed to meet certain conditions related to
border security, corruption, and human rights, among other issues.38 Although the act directed the
Administration to abide by the funding al ocations included in the accompanying explanatory
statement, it also authorized the Administration to deviate from those al ocations by more than
4% “to respond to significant, exigent, or unforeseen events or to address other exceptional
circumstances directly related to the national interest.”39 The Administration ultimately used that
deviation authority to reprogram the vast majority of assistance Congress appropriated for Central
America in FY2018. Among the “significant, exigent, or unforeseen events” cited by the
Administration were “the failure of the Northern Triangle countries to address il egal
immigration,” “the rapidly evolving crisis in Venezuela and the need to support the
democratical y elected National Assembly,” and “an opportunity to support Caribbean leaders in
the wake of the devastating 2017 hurricane season.”40

34 USAID/Honduras briefing documents, provided to CRS, August 22, 2019 .
35 Letter from Eliot L. Engel, Chairman, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Albio Sires, Chairman, House
Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, Civilian Security, and T rade, to Honorable Michael Pompeo, Secretary of
State, December 4, 2019.
36 U.S. Department of State, Congressional Budget Justification, Foreign Operations, Appendix 2, Fiscal Year 2021 , p.
220.
37 P.L. 115-141, §7045(a)(1).
38 P.L. 115-141, §7045(a)(3) and 7045(a)(4).
39 P.L. 115-141, §7019.
40 USAID, CN #195, August 16, 2019; CN #157, July 11, 2019; and CN #166, July 19, 2019.
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Congress included similar suspension, reprogramming, and deviation authorities in the
Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019 (P.L. 116-6), but added some limitations to the
Administration’s flexibility in FY2020. The Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020 (P.L.
116-94), states that “not less than” $519.9 mil ion “should be made available” for Central
America and stipulates specific funding levels for each country in the accompanying explanatory
statement.41 The act also significantly restricts the Administration’s authority to deviate below
those funding levels by more than 10%.42 At the same time, the act once again requires the
Administration to withhold some aid for the Northern Triangle and authorizes the Administration
to reprogram that aid if the Northern Triangle governments fail to meet certain conditions.43
As the FY2021 appropriations process continues, Congress may consider whether to exert greater
control over U.S. assistance to Central America. H.R. 7608 would direct that “not less than”
$519.9 mil ion “shal be made available” for assistance to Central America, including “not less
than” $420.8 mil ion for El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.44 The bil would once again
restrict the Administration’s authority to deviate below the country al ocations specified in
H.Rept. 116-444, limiting such changes to 5%.45 The bil also would tighten the FY2020 funding
directive for Central America enacted in P.L. 116-94, changing $519.9 mil ion “should be made
available” to $519.9 mil ion “shal be made available” for assistance to the region.46
Nevertheless, H.R. 7608 stil would provide some flexibility to the Administration to withhold
and reprogram assistance appropriated for the Northern Triangle. Like each appropriations
measure enacted since FY2016, the bil would require the Administration to withhold some aid
that would support the central governments of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras until the
Secretary of State certifies that those governments have met a series of conditions. If the
Secretary is unable to certify the governments’ compliance with the legislative conditions, the bil
directs the Administration to reprogram that assistance to other countries in Latin America and the
Caribbean.47
Role of the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation48
In addition to appropriating foreign aid for Latin American and Caribbean countries, Congress
may assess how other development tools, such as the new U.S. International Development
Finance Corporation (DFC), may supplement U.S. assistance efforts in the region. Congress
authorized the establishment of the DFC in the Better Utilization of Investments Leading to
Development Act of 2018 (P.L. 115-254, Division F). According to the act, the DFC aims to
“facilitate the participation of private sector capital and skil s in the economic development of
less developed countries … and countries in transition from nonmarket to market economies in
order to complement the development assistance objectives, and advance the foreign policy
interests, of the United States.”49

41 P.L. 116-94, §§7019(a) and 7045(a)(1)(A).
42 P.L. 116-94, §7019(b).
43 P.L. 116-94, §7045(a)(2)(A).
44 H.R. 7608, §7045(a)(1)(A).
45 H.R. 7608, §7019.
46 H.R. 7608, §7045(a)(1)(B).
47 H.R. 7608, §7045(a)(2).
48 For more information on the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), see CRS In Focus
IF11436, U.S. International Developm ent Finance Corporation (DFC), by Shayerah Ilias Akhtar and Nick M. Brown .
49 P.L. 115-254, §1412 (b).
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U.S. Foreign Assistance to Latin America and the Caribbean: FY2021 Appropriations

Official y launched in December 2019, the DFC is authorized to provide direct loans and loan
guarantees, equity financing, political risk insurance, feasibility studies, and technical assistance.
Those products, backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government, aim to provide private
sector entities with the liquidity and assurances needed to invest in projects that otherwise would
be unable to attract sufficient capital due to the risks associated with investing in less developed
countries. The DFC is expected to be self-sustaining, generating sufficient funds from service
fees, interest earnings, and investment returns to cover its annual operating and program
expenses.
The DFC’s ability to operate in Latin America and the Caribbean is somewhat constrained by a
statutory requirement to prioritize support for low- and lower-middle-income economies, as
defined by the World Bank. As of 2020, five Latin American and Caribbean countries fel into
those categories: Haiti, Bolivia, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua. The World Bank classifies
20 countries in the region as upper-middle-income economies, which are restricted from receiving
DFC support unless the President certifies that such support “furthers the national economic or
foreign policy interests of the United States” and “is designed to produce significant
developmental outcomes or provide developmental benefits to the poorest” sectors of their
populations.50 Eight other countries in the region are ineligible for DFC support because the
World Bank classifies them as high-income economies.51
Despite those limitations, the DFC Board of Directors has approved nearly $2.1 bil ion of
commitments for projects in Latin American and Caribbean countries in 2020.52 These
commitments include a $25 mil ion investment to boost cobalt and nickel production in Brazil’s
northeastern state of Piauí, $100 mil ion in political risk insurance to support marine conservation
in St. Lucia, a loan of up to $150 mil ion to expand lending to women-owned and -led businesses
in Ecuador, and a loan of up to $241 mil ion to support the development and construction of four
solar power plants in Mexico. The DFC also inherited approximately $9.5 bil ion of active
projects from its predecessor—the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.53
Congress may assess whether the DFC is devoting sufficient resources to Latin America and the
Caribbean and whether it is striking the right balance between fostering development and
supporting U.S. strategic interests. Some Members of Congress would like the DFC to expand its
operations in the region to counter China, which has provided more than $137 bil ion in state-
backed finance to Latin American and Caribbean countries since 2005.54 For example, the
Advancing Competitiveness, Transparency, and Security in the Americas Act (S. 4528),
introduced in August 2020, would designate al Caribbean countries—with the exception of
Cuba—as priorities for DFC support. The bil also would dedicate “not less than” 35% of the
DFC’s development financing and equity investments to Latin American and Caribbean countries
for a 10-year period. Some development advocates have voiced concerns that shifting the DFC’s

50 P.L. 115-254, 1412(c).
51 T he high-income economies are Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Chile, Panama, St. Kitts and Nevis,
T rinidad and T obago, and Uruguay. World Bank, “ World Bank Country and Lending Groups,”
https://datahelpdesk.worldbank.org/knowledgebase/articles/906519-world-bank-country-and-lending-groups.
52 DFC, “DFC Approves Nearly $900 Million for Global Development Projects,” press release, March 12, 2020; DFC,
“DFC Approves $1 Billion of Investments in Global Development,” press release, June 4, 2020; and DFC, “DFC
Approves $3.6 Billion of New Investments in Global Development in Largest Quarte r Ever,” press release, September
9, 2020.
53 DFC, “Active Projects Database,” accessed October 2020, at https://www.dfc.gov/our-impact/all-active-projects.
54 Kevin P. Gallagher and Margaret Myers, “China-Latin America Finance Database,” Inter-American Dialogue, 2020,
at https://www.thedialogue.org/map_list/.
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U.S. Foreign Assistance to Latin America and the Caribbean: FY2021 Appropriations

funding toward upper-middle- and high-income countries to advance U.S. national security
interests would erode the DFC’s development mandate and could jeopardize its effectiveness and
domestic support.55 Others maintain that the World Bank’s classifications, based on per capita
income, may not accurately reflect the development needs of smal and highly unequal societies,
such as many of those in Latin America and the Caribbean.56

55 T he 116th Congress previously eased the DFC’s development requirements for energy infrastructure projects in
Europe and Eurasia with the European Energy Security and Diversification Act of 2019, enacted as part of the Further
Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020 (P.L. 116-94, Division P, T itle XX). T odd Moss and Erin Collinson, “ Russia,
DFC, and the T errible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Idea Buried in the Spending Law,” Center for Global
Development, January 15, 2020; and Adva Saldringer, “What the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation
Needs to Do in Year 1,” Devex, January 14, 2020.
56 Andrea Clabough and David L. Goldwyn, “Secure the Caribbean —with a Modest Addition to the BUILD Act,” The
Hill
, January 9, 2019.
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Appendix A. U.S. Foreign Assistance to Latin
America and the Caribbean by Account and Country
or Regional Program: FY2019

Table 5. U.S. Foreign Assistance to Latin America and the Caribbean: FY2019
(mil ions of current U.S. dol ars)
DA
ESFa
GHP-
GHP-
INCLE
NADR
IMET
FMF
Total

USAID
State
Argentina




2.5

0.6

3.1
Bahamas






0.2

0.2
Belize






0.2

0.2
Bolivia








0.0
Brazil
11.0





0.6

11.6
Chile






0.5

0.5
Colombia

187.3
3.0

170.0
21.0
1.3
38.5
421.2
Costa Rica






0.7
7.5
8.2
Cuba

20.0






20.0
Dominican
7.8
2.0

26.5


0.5

36.8
Republic
Ecuador
5.0



7.0



12.0
El Salvadorb








0.0
Guatemalab








0.0
Guyana






0.2

0.2
Haiti
51.0

24.5
103.0
15.0

0.2

193.8
Hondurasb








0.0
Jamaica
1.0





0.6

1.6
Mexico

45.0


110.0
1.2
1.3
5.0
162.4
Nicaragua
11.6







11.6
Panama





0.5
0.7

1.2
Paraguay
4.0





0.4

4.4
Peru
40.0
1.0


32.0

0.6
1.8
75.4
Suriname






0.2

0.2
Trinidad &






0.3

0.3
Tobago
Uruguay






0.4

0.4
Venezuela

17.5
5.0





22.5
Barbados &
3.0





0.5

3.5
Eastern
Caribbean
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DA
ESFa
GHP-
GHP-
INCLE
NADR
IMET
FMF
Total

USAID
State
USAID
4.0







4.0
Caribbean
Developmentc
USAID Central
168.4

13.0





181.4
America
Regionalbc
USAID South
18.0







18.0
America
Regionalc
USAID Latin
60.5

7.8





68.3
America and
Caribbean
Regionalc
State Western

129.5

41.0
227.8
3.2

30.0
431.3
Hemisphere
Regionalc
[CARSI]d
[—]
[100.0]
[—]
[—]
[190.0]
[—]
[—]
[—]
[290.0]
[CBSI]d
[—]
[25.3]
[—]
[—]
[25.3]
[—]
[—]
[7.5]
[58.0]
Total
385.3
402.3a
53.3
170.5
564.3
25.8
9.9
82.8
1,694.1
Sources: U.S. Department of State, Congressional Budget Justification, Department of State, Foreign Operations, and
Related Programs, Supplementary Tables, Fiscal Year 2021,
April 2020, p. 19; and Congressional Research Service
(CRS) communication with the State Department and USAID, June 2020.
Notes: DA = Development Assistance; ESF = Economic Support Fund; GHP = Global Health Programs; INCLE
= International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement; NADR = Nonproliferation , Anti-terrorism, Demining,
and Related Programs; IMET = International Military Education and Training; FMF = Foreign Military Financing;
USAID = U.S. Agency for International Development; CARSI = Central America Regional Security Initiative; and
CBSI = Caribbean Basin Security Initiative.
a. This amount does not include an additional $9 mil ion of ESF for the region that Congress appropriated in
FY2019 as multilateral assistance through the Organization of American States.
b. Due to the Trump Administration’s suspension of aid to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, $181.4
mil ion of FY2019 assistance had yet to be al ocated when the Administration released its FY2021 request.
c. USAID and State Department regional programs fund region-wide initiatives as wel as activities that cross
borders or take place in nonpresence countries.
d. CARSI and CBSI are funded through the State Western Hemisphere Regional program.
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Appendix B. U.S. Foreign Assistance to Latin
America and the Caribbean by Account and Country
or Regional Program: FY2020 Estimate

Table 6. U.S. Foreign Assistance to Latin America and the Caribbean: FY2020
Estimate
(mil ions of current U.S. dol ars)
GHP-
GHP-

DA
ESFa
USAID
State
INCLE
NADR
IMET
FMF
Totala
Argentina




2.5

0.6

3.1
Bahamas






0.2

0.2
Belize






0.3
1.0
1.3
Bolivia








0.0
Brazil
15.0





0.8

15.8
Chile






0.6

0.6
Colombia
61.0
146.3
3.0

180.0
21.0
1.9
38.5
451.7
Costa Rica






0.7
7.5
8.2
Cuba

20.0






20.0
Dominican
7.0


21.2


0.5

28.7
Republic
Ecuador
12.2



7.0

0.3

19.5
El Salvador
70.0





0.8
1.9
72.7
Guatemala
65.7

13.0



0.8

79.5
Guyana






0.2

0.2
Haiti
51.0

24.5
78.8
18.0

0.3

172.5
Honduras
65.0





0.8

65.8
Jamaica
1.0





0.6

1.6
Mexico

50.0


100.0
1.2
1.8
5.0
157.9
Nicaragua
10.0







10.0
Panama





0.5
0.7
2.0
3.2
Paraguay
4.0





0.4

4.4
Peru
34.8



40.0

0.6
1.8
77.2
Suriname






0.2

0.2
Trinidad &






0.4

0.4
Tobago
Uruguay






0.4

0.4
Venezuela

30.0
5.0





35.0
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GHP-
GHP-

DA
ESFa
USAID
State
INCLE
NADR
IMET
FMF
Totala
Barbados &
2.0


11.3


0.7

14.0
Eastern
Caribbean
USAID
7.0
3.0






10.0
Caribbean
Developmentb
USAID Central
5.0







5.0
America
Regionalb
USAID South
15.0







15.0
America
Regionalb
USAID Latin
32.2

7.8





40.0
America and
Caribbean
Regionalb
State Western

128.3

46.5
207.7
4.6

15.0
402.1
Hemisphere
Regionalb
[CARSI]c
[—]
[100.0]
[—]
[—]
[170.0]
[—]
[—]
[—]
[270.0]
[CBSI]c
[—]
[27.3]
[—]
[—]
[25.2]
[—]
[—]
[7.5]
[60.0]
Total
457.8
377.6a
53.3
157.7
555.2
27.3
14.4
72.7
1,716.0
Sources: U.S. Department of State, FY2020 estimate data, June 15, 2020; and CRS communication with the
State Department and USAID, June 2020.
Notes: These totals do not include any of the assistance made available for Latin America and the Caribbean
through supplemental emergency appropriations to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. DA = Development
Assistance; ESF = Economic Support Fund; GHP = Global Health Programs; INCLE = International Narcotics
Control and Law Enforcement; NADR = Nonproliferation, Anti-terrorism, Demining, and Related Programs;
IMET = International Military Education and Training; FMF = Foreign Military Financing; USAID = U.S. Agency for
International Development; CARSI = Central America Regional Security Initiative; and CBSI = Caribbean Basin
Security Initiative.
a. This amount does not include an additional $5 mil ion of ESF for the region that Congress appropriated in
FY2020 as multilateral assistance through the Organization of American States.
b. USAID and State Department regional programs fund region-wide initiatives as wel as activities that cross
borders or take place in nonpresence countries.
c. CARSI and CBSI are funded through the State Western Hemisphere Regional program.
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Appendix C. U.S. Foreign Assistance to Latin
America and the Caribbean by Account and Country
or Regional Program: FY2021 Request

Table 7. U.S. Foreign Assistance to Latin America and the Caribbean:
FY2021 Request
(mil ions of current U.S. dol ars)
ESDFa
GHP-
GHP-
INCLE
NADR
IMET
FMF
Total

USAID
State
Argentina





0.6

0.6
Bahamas





0.2

0.2
Belize





0.2

0.2
Bolivia







0.0
Brazil





0.6

0.6
Chile





0.4

0.4
Colombia
140.0


237.5
14.0
1.4
20.0
412.9
Costa Rica





0.4

0.4
Cuba
10.0






10.0
Dominican
5.0

10.0


0.5

15.5
Republic
Ecuador
10.0


7.0

0.2

17.2
El Salvador







0.0
Guatemala







0.0
Guyana





0.2

0.2
Haiti
25.5
22.0
75.0
5.4

0.3

128.2
Honduras







0.0
Jamaica





0.6

0.6
Mexico
20.3


41.0
1.0
1.5

63.8
Nicaragua
10.0






10.0
Panama




0.4
0.7

1.1
Paraguay
4.0




0.4

4.4
Peru
27.0


40.0
1.0
0.6

68.6
Suriname





0.2

0.2
Trinidad &





0.3

0.3
Tobago
Uruguay





0.3

0.3
Venezuela
200.0
5.0





205.0
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ESDFa
GHP-
GHP-
INCLE
NADR
IMET
FMF
Total

USAID
State
Barbados &
3.0




0.6

3.6
Eastern
Caribbean
USAID








Caribbean
Developmentb
USAID Central








America
Regionalb
USAID South
15.5






15.5
America
Regionalb
USAID Latin
190.7
9.0





199.7
America and
Caribbean
Regionalb
State Western
100.0

11.8
122.0
7.6
1.5

242.9
Hemisphere
Regional
[CARSI]c
[75.0]
[—]
[—]
[110.0]
[—]
[—]
[—]
[185.0]
[CBSI]c
[20.0]
[—]
[—]
[12.0]
[—]
[—]
[—]
[32.0]
Total
760.9
36.0
96.8
452.9
24.0
11.6
20.0
1,402.3
Sources: U.S. Department of State, Congressional Budget Justification, Department of State, Foreign Operations, and
Related Programs, Supplementary Tables, Fiscal Year 2021,
April 2020, p. 19; and U.S. Department of State, Budget
Rol out Presentation, February 2020.
Notes: ESDF = Economic Support and Development Fund; GHP = Global Health Programs; INCLE =
International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement; NADR = Nonproliferation , Anti-terrorism, Demining,
and Related Programs; IMET = International Military Education and Training; FMF = Foreign Military Financing;
USAID = U.S. Agency for International Development; CARSI = Central America Regional Security Initiative; and
CBSI = Caribbean Basin Security Initiative.
a. The FY2021 request would consolidate several foreign assistance accounts, including DA and ESF, into a
new ESDF account. The table compares the FY2021 ESDF request with the combined FY2020 DA and ESF
estimates.
b. USAID and State Department regional programs fund region-wide initiatives as wel as activities that cross
borders or take place in nonpresence countries.
c. CARSI and CBSI are funded through the State Western Hemisphere Regional program.



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U.S. Foreign Assistance to Latin America and the Caribbean: FY2021 Appropriations


Author Information

Peter J. Meyer
Rachel L. Martin
Specialist in Latin American Affairs
Research Assistant




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Congressional Research Service
R46514 · VERSION 3 · UPDATED
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