Guatemalan Migration: Violence, Economics or ???
March 30, 2019 3:02 PM   Subscribe

Just visited Guatemala for the first time. I was expecting it to be dangerous, violent and very poor.. In the relatively touristed areas I visited I saw none of this, maybe the opposite, Looking for articles, research, blogs that give political and economic background and antecedent conditions for Guatemalan migration to the US.

It appears that Trump has just ended all foreign aid to Guatemala. Bonus points for anything that includes analysis on how this will affect the current problem.
posted by Xurando to Grab Bag (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
US-Mexico border at 'breaking point' amid immigration surge, official says (Guardian)
They are migrants trying to make their way to the United States from Central America and found themselves being held at the US-Mexico border in a parking lot of a border patrol station at the international crossing point in El Paso, in western Texas. [...] Most are seeking refuge from violence and poverty, particularly in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, and a new start or a connection with relatives in the US.
Border Patrol starts releasing migrants onto streets in Rio Grande Valley as Trump critics cite ‘moral’ crisis (Dallas News)
Central Americans — many in families and traveling in large groups from Honduras and Guatemala — have been traveling north through Mexico to the U.S. border in growing numbers. Some are waiting in Mexico for a chance to cross at border checkpoints to seek asylum legallty, while others have become increasingly desperate, crossing the border in remote areas and even in urban areas such as El Paso, where they then turn themselves in to authorities.
Trump Criticizes Central American Nations a Day After U.S. Signed a Security Agreement With Them (NYT)
President Trump on Thursday criticized Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras for accepting monetary aid from the United States but doing nothing in return, a day after his Homeland Security secretary struck what she described as a historic agreement with three of those same countries to help strengthen security on the United States Southern border.

Mr. Trump also threatened to close the Southern border, a move he has previously considered, which would have a significant economic impact by disrupting the flow of trade and labor. [...]
Foreign aid to Central America is in limbo because officials are afraid of Trump (Vox)
“People don’t know what the president wants,” an anonymous State Department official told Hesson. “No one wants to do something that looks like they’re not following his guidance.”

The result is that the State Department is entering the second half of the fiscal year without even starting the process to spend a large chunk of its $627 million Central American aid budget, a paralysis that threatens the aid in next year’s allocation too.
Border crisis: US failure to respond to migration surge has created chaos (Guardian)
And there is no sign that the mass exodus is likely to end soon. Most of the current wave of migrants come from three small Central American countries – El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras – where migration is driven by a a toxic mix of violence, poverty, food insecurity, climate change, political instability and corruption. Violence perpetrated by drug traffickers, street gangs and state security forces have made this region, known as the Northern Triangle, the most dangerous place in the world outside an official war zone. [...]

And there is little doubt that the Northern Triangle countries are in crisis. Guatemala is the most unequal country in Central America with 59% of the population living in poverty without access to basic rights such as health, education, housing and justice, said Jorge Santos from Udefegua, an organisation which monitors attacks against activists, journalists and community leaders. The country’s politicians meanwhile, have been mired in a string of corruption scandals.
Trump Directs State Dept. to End Aid to 3 Central American Countries (NYT)
Mr. Legomsky said putting up trade roadblocks and slowing down the processing of people would have harmful effects, both on American citizens who could find themselves “marooned” in Mexico and on families, including groups of women and children, who are fleeing violence and poverty.

“There’s a huge humanitarian concern,” Mr. Legomsky said. “So many of the people are these Central American mothers and children fleeing from high levels of violence. They would be effectively stuck in the border areas which are also extremely dangerous.”

On Thursday, the president said that he did not share concern over the plight of people in danger. In front of supporters at a rally in Grand Rapids, Mich., he used harsh language to describe the thousands of people who have tried to flee violence and poverty, calling the problem an “invasion” and referring to asylum seekers as a “big fat con job.”
posted by Little Dawn at 5:05 PM on March 30, 2019 [1 favorite]

U.S. ending aid to El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras over migrants (Reuters)
“We are carrying out the President’s direction and ending FY (fiscal year) 2017 and FY 2018 foreign assistance programs for the Northern Triangle,” a State Department spokesperson said in a statement. The department declined to provide further details.

The State Department said it would “engage Congress in the process,” an apparent acknowledgement that it will need lawmakers’ approval to end the funding. [...]

Democratic Representative Nita Lowey, who chairs the committee, tweeted that the move to cut aid was “immoral and more likely to deteriorate conditions that push people into the kind of poverty and despair that exacerbates migration.”
posted by Little Dawn at 5:56 PM on March 30, 2019 [1 favorite]

You know how the wealth gap is pretty big in the USA? I would wager that it is bigger in Guatemala. The bit you saw was nice, but what about the places that you didn't see?
posted by freethefeet at 8:59 PM on March 30, 2019 [1 favorite]

The Foreign Policy article was pretty clear on problems of income inequality and a need for land reform. The meta question is given the pending cutoff of US aid to Guatemala, what do Guatemalans really need and who will provide it?
posted by Xurando at 5:02 AM on March 31, 2019 [1 favorite]

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