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Sunday, Sep 22, 2019

Donald Trump orders cut in aid to Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador

According to the state department $2.6 billion in foreign assistance was provided by the US to the three countries over 2015-2018 fiscals

world Updated: Mar 31, 2019 23:12 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times, Washington
Border patrol officials have said the number of apprehensions of those trying to cross into the US illegally would be more than 100,000 in March, the highest monthly total in more than a decade, and most of them were between legal ports of entry.
Border patrol officials have said the number of apprehensions of those trying to cross into the US illegally would be more than 100,000 in March, the highest monthly total in more than a decade, and most of them were between legal ports of entry.(REUTERS)
         

President Donald Trump, after threatening to shut down the border with Mexico, has ordered the state department to cut millions of dollars in aid to El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, the central American countries that he has accused of failing to cut the flow of migrants into the US.

“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 late Friday, referring to the three central American countries by the name they are called as a region.

At stake is nearly $500 million from the 2018 and some more from previous fiscals; in all $700 million, according to one estimate.

According to the state department $2.6 billion in foreign assistance was provided by the US to the three countries over the course of 2015-2018.

“I’ve ended payments to Guatemala, to Honduras, and to El Salvador,” Trump told reporters Friday. “No money goes there anymore.”

On Thursday, the American president had announced he planned to shut the border with Mexico the coming week accusing the southern neighbour of not doing enough to prevent migrants — “caravans”, as he calls them — from reaching the border with the United States.

The Trump administration is calling the situation at the southern border a crisis, and border enforcement is at the point of collapse.

Border patrol officials have said the number of apprehensions of those trying to cross into the US illegally would be more than 100,000 in March, the highest monthly total in more than a decade, and most of them were between legal ports of entry.

But critics have said people are fleeing Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala because conditions there are really bad, and cutting aid could worsen the situation and lead to a further surge in the numbers headed for the US.

Mexico, in fact, was hoping to put together an aid package with the United States before Trump announced these severe measures.

There are skeptics who have said that the president is talking about a crisis when there isn’t one, because it appeals to his base.

First Published: Mar 31, 2019 21:17 IST