There’ll Be Blowback

But it’ll be badly misplaced.  President Donald Trump is moving to stop further direct aid to the Caravan Triangle of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras over those nations’ failure to control those caravans by putting to actual use that aid—which was intended to support improved economies, the living conditions within those economies, and training to deal with gangs and the drug trade.

[T]he State Department…notified Congress that it would look to suspend 2017 and 2018 payments to the trio of nations, which have been home to some of the migrant caravans that have marched through Mexico to the US. border.

This comes as Honduras has formed and put on the road a caravan of 20,000 people.  In response to this, Trump said

We were giving them $500 million. We were giving them tremendous aid.  We were paying them tremendous amounts of money, and we’re not paying them anymore because they haven’t done a thing for us.

Indeed, the blowback has already begun.  Senator Robert Menendez (D, NJ), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is claiming

Instead of doing our part to help stabilize the situation in the Northern Triangle and stem the flow of children and refugees to our borders, President Trump reportedly wants to make matters worse by blocking resources for programs that get to the root causes of this humanitarian crisis.

Senator Marco Rubio (R, FL), a member of the same committee, presaged the blowback with his October tweet:

I understand instinct to cut US aid to punish countries for failing to stop illegal migration. But our aid to #Honduras & #Guatemala isn’t cash.  It’s primarily equipment & training to stop drugs headed to US & to deal with the gangs causing people to leave those countries.

The sad fact is, though, that neither Menendez nor Rubio understand the underlying facts, that the aid, cash and equipment and training, are not going to the folks who need it—those people being gathered up into caravans.  It’s going through those governments to the oligarchs and thieves.  The people—and the putative trainers and trainees—are not seeing a cent or a centavo of the aid, nor are they getting a single bit of the equipment or training.

Beyond that, Mexico has already offered “migrants” and “asylum seekers” jobs and job opportunities and asylum.  That these folks ignore or reject Mexico’s offer gives the lie to the claim that they’re coming here to escape terrible conditions at home or to seek the protection of another government.

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