Friday, September 27, 2019

Parsing U.S. Policy Toward Central America

Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Michael Kozak gave testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on U.S. policy toward Mexico and Central America, thought he focuses mostly on the latter. It is a perfect summation of how sticks are characterized as carrots, and the U.S. is, as President Trump might say, perfect.

First, the history of Central American migration:
People have been heading north from the region for several decades, including during the civil war periods in El Salvador and Guatemala when violence in the region was rampant and tens of thousands of individuals were murdered.
This is excellent use of passive tense to avoid responsibility. Violence was rampant, of course, because of large-scale U.S. military aid and active support for dictators.

Fast forward to today. The United States simply wants to "messaging aimed at educating" people not to come. Oddly enough, he notes that the U.S. has wanted to "combat" the "antiquated economic models that protect those who have long benefitted from the status quo," which in fact El Salvador and Guatemala are pursuing precisely the economic models prescribed by the United States for decades.

Unfortunately, the "success of many of our foreign assistance programs" were not educating sufficiently because of  "powerful, entrenched forces." Therefore President Trump decided to "reprogram" aid, which was not "punitive" but rather just a "wakeup call" for those governments to prove their "political will." (Note: "political will" is mentioned six separate times).

Further, the U.S. decided to shift the burden of asylum to Mexico and Central America to create a "safe and legal way to pursue their aspirations" and to "discourage those who do not have genuine asylum concerns."

Oddly, he notes that in Guatemala "we have seen broad based protests against corruption and "impunity" but does not mention the administration actively dismantled the only organization capable of effectively combating it.

In sum:
There is nothing stopping the governments of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras from adhering to their commitments under their own Alliance for Prosperity plan, other than a lack of political will. 
This is the core of U.S. policy toward Mexico and Central America. 


  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP