In his latest budget President Obama is asking Congress for $1 billion to help those countries improve security, education and the economic health of the region. It may sound like a measly sum given the $4 trillion budget, but it's almost three times the amount the U.S. generally provides to Central America.

Cynthia Arnson is the director of the Latin American Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. She says that the United State's long and complicated history in the region means an impact free of dependency will require attention on all fronts.

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