19 | JUL | 2019
Mexico presents a development plan for Central America that could reduce migration
Mexico vowed to aid the Central American countries – Photo: Mario Tama/AFP

Mexico presents a development plan for Central America that could reduce migration

20/05/2019
16:07
Reuters
Mexico City
Diego Oré
-A +A
López Obrador said he will seek a pact with the U.S., Canada and other nations in support of a development plan for Central America

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Today, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said he had ordered his Foreign Minister to seek a pact with the United States, Canada and other nations in support of a development plan for Central America to control immigration.

López Obrador said U.S. President Donald Trump had made a commitment for U.S. investment in Central America and Mexico and had shown interest in his push for economic development over security aid, but that the next step was to sign an agreement.

“We no longer want cooperation for security forces. We don’t want the Mérida plan, we don’t want helicopters mounted with machine guns. We want cooperation for development,” said López Obrador, reiterating his view that only economic development will tackle the root causes of immigration.

López Obrador has said he wants the United States to ditch the Mérida Initiative that deploys millions of dollars for security programs in Mexico in favor of more development assistance.

However, earlier this year, Trump ordered an end to U.S. aid to Central America over rising numbers of immigrants. He threatened to impose tariffs if Mexico does not stop the flow of mostly Central Americans reaching the U.S. southern border, the biggest wave in a decade.

In December, Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said that Washington was committing USD $5.8 billion for development programs in Central America and increasing public and private investment in Mexico through the Overseas Private Investment Corporation by USD $4.8 billion.

In a partial rollback of the aid cut last week, U.S. Attorney General William Barr said Washington would continue funding police forces in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

This morning, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (CEPAL) presented the Integral Development Plan: El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, México, to promote growth and social development in the region.

During López Obrador's press conference, Alicia Bárcena, de head of the CEPAL, explained that the main reasons why people migrate from Central America to the United States are the lack of jobs and economic opportunities, low wages, violence, and to reunite with their families.

Structural causes included excluding growth, which creates poverty and inequality; climate change and natural disasters, chronic violence, and low wages compared to the United States.

The proposal presented by the CEPAL consists of four axes: economic development through investment and taxes; commercial, energetic, and logistic integration; social welfare: education, health, and jobs; environmental sustainability and risk management; and integral management of the migration cycle with human security: rights and security focused on the people.
 

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