Mexico’s Solution to the Border Crisis

López Obrador’s $20 billion development plan gives Washington a chance to help rectify the historic damage it’s done to the living conditions of people in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, writes Patrick Lawrence.

A Latin American Marshall Plan, at a Discount 

By Patrick Lawrence
Special to Consortium News

With President Donald Trump on Tuesday threatening to shut down the government if he doesn’t get his wall, it’s good that someone in a position of authority actually has a workable solution to the migrant crisis festering on the Mexican border with the U.S.

The day after Andrés Manuel López Obrador took office as Mexico’s president on Dec. 1, his foreign minister flew to Washington to propose a $20 billion development plan to make Central America a place for people to stay rather than flee. Three-quarters of the money would help create jobs and fight poverty. The rest would pay for border control and law enforcement.

Unaccompanied children at Texas border, 2014. (U.S. Customs and Border Patrol)

The plan would be funded by Mexico, the U.S. and the three Central American that produce the most refugees and migrants, according to the size of their economies. The  U.S. would pay most, which seems just given the decades of support—including millions in military assistance and police training—that Washington offered corrupt, anti-democratic dictators who oversaw the impoverishment of Central America. In addition, the U.S. backed the 2009 coup in Honduras that has directly led to an influx of refugees streaming towards the U.S. border.

At last there is a plan that addresses the causes, and not just the symptoms of Central America’s migrant and refugee crisis: poverty, unemployment, drug trafficking, gang violence, police corruption, the world’s highest murder rates.  At last an implicit assertion that the U.S. bears some responsibility—and arguably the largest share—for the unlivable conditions of many Guatemalans, Hondurans and Salvadorans appears to be at hand. 

Marcelo Ebrard, Mexico’s new foreign minister, met with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington on Dec. 1 as thousands of migrants from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador were marooned in Tijuana and other locations on the Mexican side of the border. Ebrard compared Mexico’s proposal with the Marshall Plan, the 1948–51 program to rebuild Europe. In this case, however, the U.S. would spend far less.  In today’s dollars, adjusted for inflation, the U.S. contributed nearly $100 billion to the Marshall Plan (an investment in both reconstruction and the advancement of U.S. business interests in Europe).

The State Department said little in its official response, merely acknowledging the two nations’ “shared commitment to address our common challenges and opportunities.” Ebrard said only, “I thank him [Pompeo] for his attitude and respect toward the new administration of President López Obrador.”

Translation: Ebrard seems to have gotten nowhere. No surprise since the Trump administration has threatened to cut aid to Central American nations that don’t stop the flow of migrants northward. But that flow won’t stop until the conditions causing it are alleviated.  But Central American nations need help to do that. 

Signal Test

This is a test for Trump, the right-wing populist, who said he could work with López Obrador, the left-wing populist. 

New Mexican President López Obrador. (Wikimedia)

López Obrador’s commitment to alleviating poverty, crime and underdevelopment in Central America was the theme that won him the presidency last year. On his inauguration day he signed a comprehensive Central American development plan with the presidents of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. Their document earned U.N. backing.

The U.S. entertained a similar development program not long ago.

In 2000, Vicente Fox proposed an infrastructure development plan  for Central America soon after he was elected Mexican president. George W. Bush listened: When he was inaugurated a few months later, Bush declared Mexico Washington’s highest foreign policy and national security priority.

Then came  Sept. 11, 2001.  The wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria followed at a cost of $5.6 trillion, according to a recent study by the Watson Institute at Brown University. That is 280 times the amount Marcelo Ebrard put on the table with Pompeo.

Would there be caravans of migrants heading north from Central America today had Washington partnered with Mexico to make relatively modest investments in regional development programs a couple of decades ago?

There is indeed a history to U.S. development aid to Latin America, and like the Marshall Plan, past efforts were centered on promoting U.S. business interests.  President John F. Kennedy launched the Alliance for Progress, which was criticized as being intended mostly to help U.S. business interests, including in this 1968 NBC News report (at 14:37).

Like the Marshall plan and the Alliance for Progress, any U.S. development deal today for Central America to keep Central Americans in Central America will likely have to provide an advantage for U.S. business interests there. With a businessman in the White House, it would be hard not to assume that Trump would use his leverage with Obrabor to push for this in any deal, if he engages Obrador’s proposal at all. 

Global Context

The Mexico proposal has a global context, given that continental Europe and the U.S. share variants of the same problem. Both face unmanageable waves of migrants and refugeesfrom their underdeveloped and war-tornperipheries. Regrettably, both also focus on walls, fences, and other kinds of border security to the neglect of root causes.

Central American migrants in southern Mexico. (Peter Haden) 

U.S.–led interventions in Libya and Syria have driven Europe’s refugee crisis.  Continuing Western exploitation of African resources also contributes to the migrant crisis.

At a four-sided summit in Istanbul last month, the leaders of Germany, France, Turkey and Russia presented blueprints to restore Syria to a livable nation to which refugees and migrants could return. The U.S, the major foreign contributor to the Syrian tragedy, did not attend. 

For those nations that did, the Istanbul gathering can be counted as no more than a first step. But it suggests how developed Western nations should respond to crises in underdeveloped and non–Western nations that they helped create and now amount to a global security problem. Climate change, which Trump denies, and two decades of neoliberal economic policies, are also among the reasons caravans of Central Americans stream northward.

The West’s role in creating many of the planet’s migration and refugee crises—maybe  the majority—needs to be acknowledged and policies should reflect this responsibility. The attendance by France and Germany at the Istanbul gathering gives the U.S. an example to follow towards Mexico and Central America.  

Patrick Lawrence, a correspondent abroad for many years, chiefly for the International Herald Tribune, is a columnist, essayist, author, and lecturer. His most recent book is Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century (Yale). Follow him @thefloutist. His web site is www.patricklawrence.us. Support his work viwww.patreon.com/thefloutist.

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43 comments for “Mexico’s Solution to the Border Crisis

  1. dorn ebanks
    December 19, 2018 at 01:41

    A Powerful Solution to the U.S Border Crisis!

    Former Mayor of Roatan Honduras, Dorn Ebanks also known as the relentless combatant against Energy Poverty in Latin America and Sub Saharian Africa is searching for partners and people from around the globe to join him in efforts to prepare and map the road back home for thousands of Honduran and other Central American immigrants who are attempting to cross the U.S border in pursuit of opportunities not available to them in their own countries.

    How we would do this? Clean, reliable, and inexpensive electrical energy is the key to virtually all societal advances. This electrical energy lifts people by providing comfortable living, power to create products, and run everyday life. It also creates high paying, meaningful jobs that would empower returning immigrants.Instead ofcreating a money giveaway program or a crippling disguised handout system that will only manage to reinforce our generational misery and poverty; I will use these contributions to provide Central Americans with free electrical generating equipment. This is truly distributed power that we can install in each home and place of business. We are not giving a handout, but a hand up. I believe in the old adage “Give a man a fish and you will feed him for one day, teach him to fish and he will feed himself forever”

    What makes this possible? Dorn Ebanks found a generator on the Internet that matched his plans. It is unique and produced by the Franklin-Thomas Company (FTC) in Florida. This generator is the answer to clean, reliable and cheap electricity. It has a high energy efficiency of a whopping 92.3%. The generator has been independently tested in the U.S by Advanced Energy in Raleigh, NC. Here’s their report – http://www.ftcinnovations.com/FTCReport.pdf35373372_1544912730806163_r.jpeg

    Powered by a small, natural gas or propane engine,(bridge fuels that will eventually lead us into the era of clean hydrogen power) the engine powers the generator which in turn creates between 10,000 and 20,000 watts of electricity.

    How can we use this generator to empower people in our country? At first, we will purchase generators from FTC who has generously offered discounted prices to help our efforts. We will buy engines and inverters from other suppliers such as Amazon and eBay.

    Next, when we are ready, FTC has offered to allow its generators to be built under license here in Central America. With the huge number of generators needed in Central America, South America, and the Caribbean; we would be able to employ thousands of Central Americans. These would be high quality, high paying jobs with great benefits. Central Americans would be able to take pride in their countries and live better lives.

    As we fund our program we will work with our new funders and partners to train and employ the returning immigrants and, bringing onboard all those interested in joining our self empowerment programs. We are convinced that having access to cheap and clean electricity, we can start new businesses, manufacture more products, save more on our energy bills,children will no longer need to use kerosene oil lamps to study at night, hospitals in rural areas can be more successful in preventing diseases and saving lives of millions who presently have no access to energy.

    This Generator is revolutionary in its performance and is positioned to put an end to the Border Crisis,only if we act now.

    People would have reasons to want to return to their countries and never want to leave after discovering and experiencing high paying jobs and manifold opportunities for being entrepreneurs and becoming the dignified individuals they dream about. They deserve it. Let us put an end to the Border Crisis .

    Dorn Ebanks will spare no efforts in getting this generator mass produced in the US and Honduras and will be available to the poorest of the nation and enabling them to defeat poverty and misery which started this in the first place.

    It’s time to act,we need your help to raise $ USD 50,000 within the next 30 days and prepare a moment that will shake the Global Community to awaken and reach out and change the lives of millions of immigrants forever. Let’s do it and turn this Border Crisis into a stepping stone by acting on the opportunity we have at hand to help millions of individuals escape the trap of energy poverty. We stress the fact that we will not in any manner continue to foster and nourish a new welfare and handout charity society. Empowerment Now! We will teach and train people to manage their own lives by putting into their hands new technological skillsets and the powerful tool of clean,reliable and affordable electricity .

    A billion thanks for helping rewrite History for millions in our late but great Central America!

    Victor Hugo said: ” Nothing is as powerful as an idea whose time has come. There is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world, and that is an idea whose time has come”.

  2. dean 1000
    December 17, 2018 at 16:03

    President Obrador has a good idea. Instead of new appropriations, congress should convert its military aid to civil programs. No country on the planet is going to invade Central America. Washington’s Military aid is unneeded, and too often used to suppress and throttle democratic aspirations.

    Drones would be more effective and economical than a border wall. A couple of high flying, Jet powered Global Hawks on each border would send GPS location data of the border jumpers to push-prop drones that would take face recognition videos on the 1st pass over the border-jumpers. If they didn’t turn back after the 2nd pass the drone would fire glow-in-the dark paint balls 20 ft behind the illegals to leave a trail for the Border Patrol. The drones could pepper the coyotes, drug mules, and border rushers directly w/paint balls. Of course, Terrorists won’t deterred, or identified by a wall.

    The videos would be posted on a DHS website so everyone could see the faces of the border-jumpers, coyotes etc; and see who did what to whom.
    Republicans and certainly the Democrats will rip me for suggesting something this gross. Border security is also grossly inefficient as low wage employers, drug traffickers and the open borders people want it that way.

    Former Secretary of State George Shultz also has a good idea but congress always turns a deaf ear to measures that would reduce drug use. Drones not in actual service could be used to reduce the costs.

    The judicious use of tear gas, nausea gas & dysentery gas may be necessary in extreme border rushes.
    The responsibility is ultimately on the migrants. Most of them should stay home and politic or fight ( as the situation warrants ) for the kind of government they want.

  3. JR
    December 16, 2018 at 14:13

    The refugee crisis traces its roots to the environmental collapse in those countries. This has been well-documented, and yet you didn’t even mention this. It’s hard to eke out a living when your crops totally fail. The result has been rampant corruption as everyone increases competition for basic survival.

  4. Ponyexpress
    December 15, 2018 at 17:01

    To compare a 20 billion $ extortion/ blackmail program to the Marshall plan is just plain silly.
    In the Marshal plan, the investing country, the USA, took complete control of the governments of Japan and Germany.
    We forced a proven economically successful model to help redevelop those countries. It worked!
    Since about the 1970’s we have been giving money away in the hope that the ensuing magic prosperity would breed success
    Examples of success in the Latin American world are nonexistent, as would the 20 billion spent on central America
    The one way trade policies, currently being challenged by Trump are further examples of pretty predictable human behavior.
    Get all you can for as little effort as possible.
    Any program to be successful must have equal equivalent input from the economically benefitting party. Otherwise, it has and always will fail
    I wish Obrador well, but he and Mexico will go the way of all socialistic and totalitarian flesh.
    Maduro of Venezuela is but the latest example

  5. Chumpsky
    December 14, 2018 at 01:35

    The newly created US International Development Finance Corporation (USIDFC) succeeds USAID for financing development projects in countries like Mexico. One can argue it was established to bring Mexico under further US financial control, but it is too late a strategy as others have: 1) available funds and 2) more reasonable terms that a stratified country like Mexico can handle–all without mortgaging the future or entrenching further social disparity and corruption. In reality, The $ 20 B. proposal is a knee-jerk feeler to the Western banking cartel by disregarding the Asian impetus that is sweeping the developing world on all continents.

    The Asian Development Bank (ADB), Asian Infrastructure Investment Development Bank (AIIB), and Eurasian Development Bank (EDB) all can deliver viable projects beyond the scope of US needs into a wider and hence, more stable global economy, and by nature, are hedging sustainability for the long term. They are independent of Western banking cartel interests and a stalemated and a flippant US government, and hence, can offer a legitimate form of timely resources for change that would raise the living standards of all Mexicans. Paraphrasing an expression we used to say back in the 70’s: AMLO needs to look global in order to act local.

    NAFTA was brought about by the Latin American debt crisis. The recently trashed TPP was brought about by the nearly US $ 21 trillion dollar trade deficit (and growing). AMLO should be working out long-term deals with nations less in debt than with his corrupt and bankrupt neighbors.

    • Skip Scott
      December 14, 2018 at 08:33

      An interesting take on the situation. China is also very involved in Africa. I wonder what the PNACers response would be to China helping out our neighbors to the south?

  6. Workerbee
    December 13, 2018 at 22:37

    So with all of the US sins south of the border, this makes open borders okay?

    Typical fantasy world liberalism. High ideals with no regard for reality.

    • Skip Scott
      December 14, 2018 at 08:27

      Duh. If it were not for the “US sins south of the border” there would be no refugee crisis and no need for a wall. How’s that for “reality”?

  7. Punkyboy
    December 13, 2018 at 10:29

    Does anyone believe that one-tenth of this money would actually “trickle down” to the populations it’s meant for? And how about if we don’t just pretend to fix what we’ve broken south of our border, but in the Middle East as well. Nah. How many Americans have seen photos of the devastation we’ve caused, or supported, there. Areas that look like they were photographed 70 years ago in Europe. Do I wish this plan would and could be effectively carried out – youbetcha – but, unfortunately, I live in the “real” world where things like that simply don’t happen.

    • Sam F
      December 13, 2018 at 20:46

      The usual waste of aid money can be avoided. The US often throws it around to get bribes from contractors, while a government that cared would administer aid with strong supervision. We could re-purpose 80% of our MIC to development assistance, and let them build the infrastructure, schools, and hospitals. Or we could work with Mexico for on-site management, hire the locals, and simply send supervisors to inspect.

    • Martin
      December 15, 2018 at 11:43

      This money might as well be deposited directly into a Swiss bank account- or into the account of a Miami real estate developer- at least saving transaction fees. I agree that very little would trickle down at all to the intended recipients.

  8. GKJames
    December 13, 2018 at 06:41

    This highlights the absurdity that’s long been at the heart of policies on migration. The West has always been keen to extract from benighted countries their natural AND human resources. Exploitation is at the core of the model and the ethos that goes with it. Yet, when confronted by the obvious consequences, there is only condescension: What’s wrong with those s***hole countries? Right as rain as a regional economic development plan is, reconfiguration of the American public’s worldview would be a prerequisite to its acceptance in Washington. The febrile, oxygen-starved environment makes that unlikely as long as the polity remains a hostage of the brain-dead.

  9. Chumpsky
    December 13, 2018 at 00:59

    Cockamamie idea in the quintessential neo-liberal banker tradition. You expect over a century of US intervention in C.A. to be rectified by a “plan”? C’mon AMLO do some real thinking outside the box.

    At least half the $ 20 B. in funds will end up in the hands of a dozen “elite” C.A. families in cahoots with the US and other international elites—while the campesinos will be left out to dry with a few borrowed pesos and genetically modified seeds tossed in their direction.

    • Sam F
      December 13, 2018 at 20:27

      Not so likely with AMLO as with the usual US dictators in C.A.
      Likely Mexico would seek supervisory strings on aid for their own good.

  10. BG
    December 12, 2018 at 21:17

    Reality check. Throwing money at a problem not caused by a lack of money will not solve the problem at all. Not one bit.

    There is exactly one root cause of the astronomical murder rates and ubiquitous corruption in Mexico and Central America: the cost of drugs in the USA.

    Cartel violence and corruption will continue until smuggling isn’t lucrative in comparison to every other profession in an economy.

    The best solution is for the USA to legalize all drugs. But that won’t happen in the next decade, and in any case the people of Mexico and CA have no ability to bring about legalization in the USA.

    The second best solution is for Mexico and CA to switch sides in the drug war. The new mission of police and military south of the border should be to facilitate smuggling drugs into the USA.

    Mexico and CA legalizing drugs within their own borders will accomplish nothing because that doesn’t affect the price of drugs in the USA. However, if smuggling is no longer a crime, more people will do it. If the military and police literally help smugglers evade US border controls so that no shipments are ever lost, a lot more people will do it. Suddenly the cartels won’t be able to charge 10000% more for a substance on one side of an imaginary line than they charge on the other side.

    The cartels will cease to exist within a year, even if the US never legalizes.

    If you want to spend $20 billion effectively, simply distribute it directly to every citizen and let them spend/save as they see fit. That won’t solve the refugee crisis, but neither will giving it bureaucrats to distribute to cronies.

    As a mental exercise, what percent of the $20 billion would end up in cartels’ pockets? At least 25% I bet.

    • Sam F
      December 13, 2018 at 20:40

      The US cannot responsibly legalize injurious drugs.
      If that were done the price would drop and smugglers would emigrate here.
      The economic problems of C.A. are due to farm instability, migration to urban poverty, lack of education for middle-class careers, etc.

      The US threw away its chance to make an American Century after WWI, squandering its surplus on the MIC, when it could have lifted the poorest half of the world from poverty. If we had built the schools and hospitals and roads and utilities of the developing nations, we would have no enemies. Instead we give about one meal a year to them, replace their efficient democratic socialist governments with dictators and exploitative economic relationships, and use their anger and desperation to excuse more foolish MIC spending.

      • vinnieoh
        December 14, 2018 at 10:34

        Doing a term paper long ago on the origins of land ownership I found a very small booklet prepared by an agency of the UN. In it the authors stated that without land reform in CA and SA there would be little or no economic, social, or political progress or justice there. They stated their belief that unless the indigenous peoples had a legal defensible interest in the land (ie legal title to the land) very little other progress could be made.

        This was one of the programs that was important to Chavez in Venezuela, and he and his socialist cadre were trying to implement such a program. Va., like most other CA and SA countries are still under the yoke of centuries of colonialist landgrabs, with much of their territories “held” by absentee European land barons (or their successors and assigns.) Chavez efforts were completely mischaracterized in the US (duh) as illegal and tyrannical. Not so. His government went after those lands that had the murkiest and shakiest claims of “title” and furthermore, compensation to those absentee owners was fairly determined and offered.

        Unfortunately I have read that that when indigenous farmers and settlers there took possession of those newly titled lands that the land barons hired hit squads to murder or otherwise drive the new owners off those lands. None of that of course was reported here, in the land of milk and honey. And of course with the ongoing economic subterfuge against Venezuela, that land reform program probably died on the vine.

        I find it more than passing interesting that a socialist and a socialist government would implement a land reform program promoting private individual land ownership. IMO the authors of that UN booklet weren’t wrong, and neither was Chavez, despite classic socialist dogma. I don’t know enough about Chavez to judge his true political or humanitarian acumen, but I believe the socialist cadre around him was serious and effective, and why, of course, the US is hell-bent on destroying them.

        I was involved in the shalegas boom here in the Marcellus and Utica fields in eastern Ohio, northern WVa, and western Pa doing boundary verification and mapping work. While in Ohio I worked Noble County where, researching over a century of land transfers a definite pattern emerged, where through the various recessions and depressions of the late 19th and early 20th century small and medium sized farms were sold to wealthy absentee owners. The most prodigious owner of land in the region I worked was a holding company formed by DuPont. Talking to many of the residents there – still small to medium sized farmers – I learned that they still live on the lands originally titled to their ancestors, but that they now lease the surface for farming from DuPont. What Jefferson’s vision accomplished, wealthy capitalists managed to undo. Sound familiar? As in the housing bubble/speculative crash of ’08?

        None of this of course addresses the earlier aggression against the indigenous native American inhabitants and the loss of those same lands by them. As an aside, I wonder if the name-dropping here will land me on someone’s watch list.

        • Sam F
          December 16, 2018 at 12:49

          Yes, land reform in the poorest agricultural regions has been a priority, along with replacing the export-only “cash crops” of oligarchy and foreign owners with foods for native consumption, which otherwise become too scarce.

          The driver of US opposition to social democracy in CA and SA appears to be oligarchy fear and hatred of socialism in the US. We can thereby attribute to US oligarchy the numerous US subversions of efficient popular governments, the US attacks on anti-colonial revolutions (Korea, Vietnam et al), the killing of over six million innocents by the US since WWII for no benefit and with no defensible plan, and the decline of US security due to making enemies by making war.

  11. Mild -ly Facetious
    December 12, 2018 at 19:40

    “At last there is a plan that addresses the causes, and not just the symptoms of Central America’s migrant and refugee crisis: poverty, unemployment, drug trafficking, gang violence, police corruption, the world’s highest murder rates. At last an implicit assertion that the U.S. bears some responsibility—and arguably the largest share—for the unlivable conditions of many Guatemalans, Hondurans and Salvadorans appears to be at hand.”

    Thank You Patrick Lawrence, and God bless Lopez Obrador for never losing/ forsaking his socialist vision for uplifting the poorer/ labor class and the vast Indigenous peoples of South and Central America. The manifold hardships these peoples have suffered and endured in the Name of Capitalist Expansion (The continued/continuous model of East India Company theory espoused by Cecil Rhodes and based upon the economic theory of Thomas Malthus). ——— How many centuries, now, have the indigenous peoples of Central America endured the domination/subjugation of Euro-American based MURDER in the name of “capitalist expansion” — or the rule of Economic Prosperity for “The Blue Eyes” with poverty and despair for Native Peoples. ? !

    A fulfilling who’s who on Lopez Obrador —
    https://jacobinmag.com/2018/05/lopez-obrador-mexico-elections-amlo-repression

  12. Andrew D. Thomas
    December 12, 2018 at 19:29

    This is, sadly, not a test of anything. This terrific plan is D.O.A. It makes too much sense. The US elites are not interested in justice, or really stopping drug trafficking or anything other than control via violence and cruelty openly boasted about (the GOP) or via violence and cruelty if all else fails with semi-plausible deniability( the Dems) . Soon enough, the bells will be tolling for all of us. However, the bipartisan consensus will say it’s just Tinkerbell, reminding us to pick up a six pack of Bud. Or, a liter Of Johnny Walker Black. As the case may be.

  13. vinnieoh
    December 12, 2018 at 11:59

    Obrador, by all accounts is an experienced politician. Given the tenor of ALL of Trump’s utterances concerning any locale south of the border, and the record of exploitation through US stewardship of the western hemisphere, I have to wonder if this attempt wasn’t merely a formality regarded as required, even though it had no chance of being accepted. Surely Obrador can see that Trump uses the “border crisis” as a domestic political weapon, disconnected from reality. Might as well talk to a wall, as witnessed by Trump’s performance yesterday.

    Without the US this plan is short a majority of funding (and justice) and it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch for Mexico to reach out to another guarantor, say China. After all China did actively pursue an effort to develop another canal through the isthmus, though I believe that effort stalled or was abandoned. The US is up to its helmet straps in China’s back yard: how bold is Xi? Would that be a diplomatic coup, a slap in the face, or a territorial provocation? Purely speculation of course. China may be nearing over-extending with all of it’s other projects, and they do drive a hard bargain as witnessed in Pakistan. But, just the possibility of China partnering might be enough to jolt Trump, et al into reality. Nah.

    Can someone here point to a reliable accurate source of info regarding the makeup of US business and investment interests in Central America?

    The 5th anniversary of the Alliance For Progress (March, ’62) was the occasion where JFK used the oft-quoted phrase “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable” in his address to them. So, not a call to unite the downtrodden masses, but a warning to the economic elite gathered at the conference. Those words put him at odds with the machinations of his own nation, involved in violent “counter-revolution” operations widely there. School of the Americas, the CIA.

    • Sam F
      December 13, 2018 at 21:01

      Very good points. Both Russia and China could slowly rescue C.A. and S.A.
      US business interests in C.A. are largely agricultural: coffee, bananas, etc.

      • vinnieoh
        December 14, 2018 at 09:31

        That was my guess, and just trying to use the maxim “follow the money” to see, if any sane programs are proposed, just whose ox would be gored.

  14. December 12, 2018 at 11:14

    “The day after Andrés Manuel López Obrador took office as Mexico’s president on Dec. 1, his foreign minister flew to Washington to propose a $20 billion development plan to make Central America a place for people to stay rather than flee.”

    The plan would likely be more effective in curbing the rush to get across the border, maintaining a rational immigration policy, and perhaps more important, make US citizens feel better about themselves.

    It might even make Americans begin to think about reparations for people in the Middle East and North Africa for what we have done to them.

    • Nick Kontos
      December 12, 2018 at 14:13

      Would love to see the US elites pay reparations. It should not be taken from taxpayers.

  15. TomG
    December 12, 2018 at 10:24

    And isn’t it a big surprise–I’ve not seen a peep about this meeting in MSM. It is a vital and serious first step towards addressing the causes. Hopefully, it could be structured to keep the wealth in the country for a change for their own infrastructure development.

    The most virulent of the anti-immigrant base should do a go-fund-me to pay for it, or we could just quite bombing night and day.

  16. Deschutes
    December 12, 2018 at 09:43

    Not sure how bad life is in Latin or S. America, but I think the refugees have the wrong idea of what life is like in USA. It is not so good for most people. Like Obrador says, if USA and Mexico et al did something to stabilize and improve the situation in Central & S. America, there would not be a refugee problem. But NO!–of course that uber asshole Pompeo and Trump would much prefer the ‘total asshole’ option, i.e. build a giant fence and have the military guard it. While I like some of the people in the USA, the government and military are chock full of assholes. Some things never change I guess :-D

    • Lacon
      December 12, 2018 at 20:38

      Not so good is quite a bit better than the Latin American alternative. The only thing they have going for them is that it doesn’t get cold in the tropics.

  17. mike k
    December 12, 2018 at 08:15

    We are all holding our breath (not) to see if Trump and his oligarch controllers will do anything sensible with our southern neighbors. Of course helping those less well off is anathema to the rich, so paying our debts to those we have robbed will not be on the US agenda. MAGA really means MARR – make the American rich richer.

    • Sam F
      December 14, 2018 at 11:41

      Yes, oligarchy is far more interested in suppressing the aspirations of the people, and in gaining bribes and profits with the MIC, than in any humanitarian goals.

      So the economic corruption of democratic institutions leads to a failure of humanitarianism and the triumph of militarism, as the US has proven since the Civil War and especially since WWII.

  18. KiwiAntz
    December 12, 2018 at 00:02

    Unfortunately, the American Empire is a TAKER NOT A GIVER! For every dollar that America has given to Sth America in Trade, America has extracted $3-4! The US has nothing of value to offer anyone or any Nation on Earth! They are a “zero sum game” Nation which expects everyone else to give up something, anything, but they don’t offer to give up stuff in return? As least China & Russia understands that a non-zero sum game is the way too go in which both parties would benefit from any deals! And that is why the American Empire is going the same way as the DODO? Unipolar extinction in a increasingly Multipolar World? The World is increasingly coming to the realisation that America has nothing to offer it’s Citizens but chaos, death & destruction hence the move away from the US Dollar & it’s corrupt Petrodollar System which is the main reason why there is so much US chaos & misery in the World! Time’s up for the US Empire!

  19. Vince Coyle
    December 11, 2018 at 22:25

    Why would the US do something that makes any damned rational sense?

  20. Antonio Costa
    December 11, 2018 at 22:19

    A note of caution. While Obrabor has the right locus of causality, the use of the term Marshall Plan may be inappropriate. The nations which were helped after WWII with the stimulus of the MP had been industrial societies. Pre-industrial nations did not benefit.

    Remember, with the exception of Nicaragua, Central America has little democracy and real structural problems money alone will not fix. In fact, Nicaragua is a better model for those nations with appropriate financial support as recommended by Obrabor.

  21. wendy davis
    December 11, 2018 at 22:18

    gotta say i’m more tuned to wsws’s take on him, not the ‘hope and change’ of him, but that’s just me.

    i’d really hoped that after your winter fundraiser you might do a tribute to ‘William Blum, Renowned U.S. Foreign Policy Critic, Dead at 85’, Dec. 9, 2018

    https://covertactionmagazine.com/index.php/2018/12/09/william-blum-dead-at-85/

    Robert Parry had hosted him so very often, may both of them rest in power.

    https://consortiumnews.com/tag/william-blum/

  22. jose
    December 11, 2018 at 22:18

    I hope very sincerely that the Trump administration works with Lopez Obrador on the 20 billion plan proposal. What better way to fight poverty than to create jobs that could help to mitigate forced migration?

  23. Jeff Harrison
    December 11, 2018 at 21:02

    Iraq was also a major contributor to the flood of refugees in addition to Syria and Libya. But in both the Middle East and in Central and South America, the United States denies all responsibility for its actions and typically blames the victim. We’re really good at “sending messages” but piss poor to shitty at actually doing anything constructive. Which is sad because we can be quite constructive when we stop being a bunch of fascists.

  24. Antonio Costa
    December 11, 2018 at 20:22

    Thank you for this insightful article. Now a subscriber to Mexico News Daily.

  25. Sam F
    December 11, 2018 at 19:32

    Mexico is fortunate to have Obrador, and the US would be sensible to accept his plan. It is a wonderful test of the Trump administration: will it go with its understanding of the needs of the people, or capitulate further to corrupt warmongers. Obrador provides the solution of real problems, which deprives the warmongers of the fake foreign threats they need to get money and power. The US will say No, and more will see that only immoral oligarchs run the US.

    Re-purposing 80% of our bloated military to foreign aid work would achieve real international security and begin reducing the enormous moral debt of the US to the nations it has ravaged for profit and MIC/Israel/WallStreet bribes.

  26. December 11, 2018 at 19:29

    Is there any kind of president swapping program? You know, so we can trade Donald Trump for this AMLO guy? I’ll throw in Dubya and a case of Billy Beer too!

    AMLO actually sounds like a decent human being. When was the last time we had one of those in charge in the US? Jimmy Carter was 1980. That’s 40 years…

    http://opensociet.org/2018/12/07/new-president-of-mexico-says-privatization-is-theft

    • David G
      December 11, 2018 at 22:41

      “Is there any kind of president swapping program?”

      Well, it is almost time for Trump’s junior year abroad. I’ll sew name tags in his underwear if you’ll drive him to the airport.

    • Joe Tedesky
      December 11, 2018 at 23:07

      Yes hats off too López Obrador.

    • O Society
      December 12, 2018 at 11:22

      Drive him to the airport?

      Why I’ll drive my taco truck – La Cucaracha – from DC to Mexico City and deliver El Presidente in person if he’ll just stay down!

    • T
      December 12, 2018 at 20:24

      > Is there any kind of president swapping program? You know, so we can trade
      > Donald Trump for this AMLO guy? I’ll throw in Dubya and a case of Billy Beer too!

      Hey, gringo: throw in the family’s fortune and the Clintons and their fortune too, and and all of Obama’s future “earnings”, and maybe we might start to be interested

      – La Cucaracha

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