López Obrador’s $20 billion development plan gives Washington a chance to help rectify the historic damage it’s done to the living conditions of people in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, writes Patrick Lawrence.
A Latin American Marshall Plan, at a Discount
By Patrick Lawrence
Special to Consortium News
With President Donald Trump on Tuesday threatening to shut down the government if he doesn’t get his wall, someone in a position of authority finally has a workable solution to the migrant crisis festering on the Mexican border with the U.S.
The day after Andrés Manuel López Obrador took office as Mexico’s president on Dec. 1, his foreign minister flew to Washington to propose a $20 billion development plan to make Central America a place for people to stay rather than flee. Three-quarters of the money would help create jobs and fight poverty. The rest would pay for border control and law enforcement.
The plan would be funded by Mexico, the U.S. and the three Central American that produce the most refugees and migrants, according to the size of their economies. The U.S. would pay most, which seems just given the decades of support—including millions in military assistance and police training—that Washington offered corrupt, anti-democratic dictators who oversaw the impoverishment of Central America. In addition, the U.S. backed the 2009 coup in Honduras that has directly led to an influx of refugees streaming towards the U.S. border.
At last there is a plan that addresses the causes, and not just the symptoms of Central America’s migrant and refugee crisis: poverty, unemployment, drug trafficking, gang violence, police corruption, the world’s highest murder rates. At last an implicit assertion that the U.S. bears some responsibility—and arguably the largest share—for the unlivable conditions of many Guatemalans, Hondurans and Salvadorans appears to be at hand.
Marcelo Ebrard, Mexico’s new foreign minister, met with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington on Dec. 1 as thousands of migrants from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador…