Washington, President Donald Trump has said that he will “begin cutting off, or substantially reducing” US foreign aid to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador for not “stopping” the recent caravan of US-bound migrants.
“Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador were not able to do the job of stopping people from leaving their country and coming illegally to the US. We will now begin cutting off, or substantially reducing, the massive foreign aid routinely given to them,” Trump said on Twitter, reports Xinhua news agency.
According to the latest figures from the US State Department, in fiscal 2018 Washington provided $84 million in foreign aid to Guatemala, $58 million to Honduras and $51 million to El Salvador.
Part of those funds was funnelled via the US Agency for International Development. To that must be added funding from the Pentagon to finance the fight against drug trafficking, which in fiscal 2017 amounted to $42 million for all of Central America.
Minutes earlier, the President had also fired off a tweet criticizing Mexican authorities for being “unable to stop” the migrant caravan, adding that he had alerted the US Armed Forces so that they could deal with “a National Emerg(enc)y”.
Trump added in that tweet that “criminals and unknown Middle Easterners are mixed in” with the caravan of migrants.
The President also took advantage of Twitter to attack the Democratic opposition within the framework of the political campaign in the run-up to the November 6 mid-term elections.
“Every time you see a Caravan, or people illegally coming, or attempting to come, into our country illegally, think of and blame the Democrats for not giving us the votes to change our pathetic Immigration Laws! Remember the Midterms! So unfair to those who come in legally,” he tweeted.
The migrant caravan, comprised largely of Hondurans, is heading northwards through Mexico toward the US border and arrived on Sunday in the southern Mexican city of Tapachula.
Mexican authorities are urging them to regularize their legal immigration status to be allowed to pass through their country.
At least 2,000 members of the caravan who have fulfilled Mexico’s requirements for entering that country left the border crossing at Ciudad Hidalgo early on Monday morning to make the 40-km journey by foot to Tapachula, where they were intending to spend the night.
The aim of the caravan members is to get to – and hopefully cross – the southern US border, a trek of at least 2,000 km.
The Mexican Foreign Affairs Secretariat confirmed that some 4,500 caravan migrants have arrived on Mexico’s southern border.