President Donald Trump is lashing out at the Central American migrant caravan of some 7,000 people making their way through Mexico and toward the US border. On Monday, he claimed without evidence that terrorists and members of the MS-13 gang had infiltrated the group.
Trump has doubled down on his threat to cut aid to Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, and called out Democrats over US border policy, in an ongoing attempt to turn the caravan into a main issue in upcoming midterm elections.
Democracy Now! spoke with two Central American-born activists, Patricia Montes of Centro Presente and Oscar Chacón of Alianza Americas.
As Chacón pointed out:
US foreign aid is not what most Americans like to think it is. Very often, US foreign aid is sort of like a boomerang. You put money nominally abroad, but what they have to do with the money is essentially purchase either merchandise or services from the US. And in the case of Central America, in specific, the last four or five years, which indeed show an increase in the nominal amount of US foreign aid, has been primarily earmarked for essentially security and defense purposes. The average Honduran, the average Guatemalan do not necessarily see, in a tangible manner, what those US aid means.
What is true is that the people in government, and in this case in Honduras with Juan Orlando Hernández, he has been able to build far more than anybody else before him his armed forces, his police, which are used as political tools to essentially shut up people who are criticizing him.
So, clearly, what we are seeing here is the end result of a series of missteps that have been taken by the US government, not only the support to an illegitimate election last November, but also, the coup d’état that was justified and supported by the U.S. government back in 2009. So, in many ways, what we are seeing is the logical consequence of all these missteps that US foreign policy in the region have actually been taking for many, many, many years.