GUATEMALA CITY – Spain will contribute a total of $58.6 million for Guatemalan reconstruction over the next two years, Madrid’s secretary of state for international cooperation said on Tuesday.
“We are supporting this project because we consider it important and because the plan is worth it,” Soraya Rodriguez said in her speech at the final phase of the International Conference for the Reconstruction and Transformation of Guatemala.
“We strongly support this plan, but we ask Guatemala to make a national effort, with budgets and contributions provided by the Guatemalans themselves,” the Spanish official said.
Guatemala has been struck this year by a series of natural disasters, including a volcano eruption, tropical storm and weeks of torrential rains that caused serious damage to the economy and infrastructure while taking the lives of 274 people.
Spain has “a sincere and extensive commitment” to cooperate with Guatemala, so it has not hesitated to support this plan “that has coming generations in mind, not the coming elections,” Rodriguez said.
“I congratulate the Guatemalan government for designing this reconstruction plan that goes beyond fixing the damage caused by natural phenomena” to fight poverty as well, she said.
Spain will support public policies and plans of the Guatemalan government whose goal is to end poverty and inequality, she said.
In Guatemala, Rodriguez said, “poverty is rural with an Indian face and female gender, and nothing can justify that reality.”
Of the $58.6 million offered by Spain for the reconstruction of this Central American country, $3.7 million will go to housing construction, while some $2.2 million will be channeled through Unicef to finance programs to fight juvenile malnutrition.
Spain’s AECID foreign aid agency will contribute $7.2 million for the recovery of educational infrastructure, while $15 million more, which was originally approved in 2009 for infrastructure projects for the water supply, will be “reprogrammed” for relief projects.
Another $30 million – 10 percent of Spain’s total budget for Latin America within the Water Fund – will be directed to preventing the effects of climate change. EFE