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Kaine & Rubio Introduce Bill to Strengthen Security, Combat Corruption and Drug Trafficking in the Caribbean

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crime, Civilian Security, Democracy, Human Rights, and Global Women’s Issues, and Subcommittee Ranking Member Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced the Caribbean Basin Security Authorization Act, legislation reaffirming support for the Caribbean region by improving security cooperation, combating drug trafficking, strengthening the rule of law, and increasing disaster resilience in the region. In April 2022, the legislation was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, led by U.S. Representative Adriano Espaillat (D-NY) and Mark Green (R-TN).

“Promoting stability and cooperation in the Caribbean strengthens our own national security, increases the resilience of our Caribbean partners, and counters the Chinese Communist Party’s growing influence in the Western Hemisphere,” said Kaine. “Making these resources available to help counter drug trafficking, corruption, and the destabilizing impacts of climate change is a commonsense step, and I urge my colleagues to join us in working to make the Western Hemisphere safer and more prosperous for all.”

“This crucial bipartisan and bicameral legislation would enhance an interagency initiative to provide training and equipment to law enforcement agencies in countries in the Caribbean,” said Rubio. “At a time in which our region faces enormous challenges and hardships, it’s important the United States Government assist our democratic allies to counter drug trafficking, prevent gang-related violence, and conduct criminal investigations.”

“The Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI) is critical to our efforts to improve security cooperation with Caribbean nations and combat illicit drug trafficking, support justice sector reforms to strengthen the rule of law, and address instability caused by natural disasters throughout the region,” said Espaillat. “Strengthening the security of the Caribbean in a multidimensional manner will help fortify stability and development with some of the United States’ closest allies. As we continue our work together, we are taking vital steps to increase citizen safety, build resilience to natural disasters caused by climate change, and improve strategies to reduce illegal narcotics trafficking in the region. I look forward to my continued partnership with my colleagues in the Senate, as I will soon introduce the House companion to this legislation. Our unified engagement to bolster support for the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative will help improve the United States’ effectiveness in addressing the ongoing concerns in the region and provide real, long-term solutions.”

The legislation would boost support for the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI): a foreign assistance program that began in 2009 and includes Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad, and Tobago. Specifically, it would:

  1. Authorize $374 million between Fiscal Years 2023-2027 for the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)’s CBSI to promote citizen safety, security, and rule of law; prioritize efforts to combat corruption; counter China’s and Russia’s malign influence in the region; and promote strategic engagement, including consultation with civil society and the private sector;
  2. Require the Secretary of State, in consultation with USAID, the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation, and the Inter-American Foundation, to promote efforts to improve disaster response and resilience;
  3. Require the Secretary of State, in consultation with USAID, to submit an implementation plan for CBSI within 180 days of enactment;
  4. Encourage increased law enforcement collaboration between CBSI beneficiaries and Haiti; and
  5. Promote greater U.S. interagency cooperation in implementing CBSI.

In October 2022, Kaine led a Congressional Delegation visit to the Dominican Republic, where he met with Dominican leaders to discuss migration, regional security, and anti-corruption efforts in the country.

Full text of the legislation is available here.