Monday, August 5, 2019

It’s Time To Pressure Corrupt Central American Elites To End The Border Crisis

Central America is rife with corruption at the highest levels of government. The Trump administration should take notice and apply pressure accordingly.
The most important thing about the “safe third country” agreement the Trump administration signed with Guatemala last week isn’t the pact itself, but how it got signed in the first place.
Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales initially didn’t want to sign the pact, which will force migrants passing through Guatemala en route to the United States to seek asylum first in Guatemala. But he agreed to it after the Trump administration threatened to impose tariffs, a travel ban, and taxes on remittances sent from the United States.
If that seems heavy-handed on Trump’s part, it is. But it shows that the Trump administration has real leverage over Central American elites who run what are essentially failed states, and that putting pressure on them can get them to do things they don’t want to do.
The pact, for what it’s worth, stipulates that Hondurans and Salvadorans, as well as migrants from other countries, have to apply for asylum in Guatemala, and be denied, before being eligible to apply for asylum in the United States. Such agreements are not uncommon—the United States has one with Canada, for example. But Guatemala, like Honduras and El Salvador, is plagued by high levels of violence and corruption, and isn’t really a safe third country for migrants. It’s also unclear whether the agreement is even valid under Guatemalan law.
But if we’re serious about solving the border crisis, safe third country pacts aren’t nearly as important as forcing Central American elites to tackle corruption, organized crime, and drug cartels. Corruption affects almost every area of society in the Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, and helps fuel the violence and poverty that migrants say is driving them to seek protection in the United States. It’s long past time to stop pretending that the leaders of these countries aren’t at least partly culpable for this state of affairs, or that nothing can be done to put pressure on them.
Honduras, For Example, Is More Or Less a Failed State --->
Read the rest from John Daniel Davidson HERE.

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