On Friday, March 29th, Trump announced that his administration will be cutting off millions of U.S. dollars of aid to the three Central American countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras (not the ‘three Mexican countries‘ as aired in a news graphic on Fox & Friends, FOX News segment). These three Central American countries are known to White House officials as the ‘Northern Triangle’. The ‘Northern Triangle’ had been receiving aid from the United States since 2017. It is said that the three countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras received up to US$1.3 billion in foreign assistance.
In a CNN interview with a State Department spokesman, “at the Secretary’s instruction, we are carrying out the President’s direction and ending FY 2017 and FY 2018 foreign assistance programs for the Northern Triangle,” adding that the administration “will be engaging Congress as part of this process.”
The ‘Northern Triangle’ foreign aid initiative was created by the George W. Bush administration inherited by the Obama administration. The millions of dollars in aid was provided to these Central American countries to foster strength and economic development, hoping to curtail immigration within their borders. However, in 2017/2018, the migrant crisis escalated during the Obama exit/newly president-elect Trump year. As the Northern Triangle initiative continued to current day, Trump made the recent stance to call out the ‘Northern Triangle’ governments of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras ‘because they haven’t done a thing’ – about illegal immigration and trafficking. It is unclear whether the U.S. aid or funds will be diverted into creating policies, other initiatives such as the built out of more border walls.
Given the Trump administration’s history, with Trump at the helm and his own anti-Latino, anti-immigrant bias – the past actions of separating families, building a wall and anti-humanitarian policies – many are not surprised at all. The threats keep coming with the most recent – the complete closure of the Mexican border.
The Democratic party is angered by the Northern Triangle cut off in aid deeming the Trump administration action as impulsive. Representative Joaquín Castro (D-Texas), chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, called the Trump administration move “short-sighted and flawed,” and cautioned that it could inflame what he called a humanitarian crisis at the border. Only time will tell what will happen to the Northern Triangle cut off – many suspect more violence, crime and stronger illegal immigration activities, a resistance of sorts will occur.
The governments of the Northern Triangle – El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras have responded and grappled with the Trump administration decision. According to Politico, “the office of the Honduran secretary for foreign affairs said in a statement Saturday that it will continue to promote regional development and security despite “contradictory policies” from the United States. Nayib Bukele, the president-elect of El Salvador, tweeted that he hopes the U.S. will reinstate or increase the funding when he takes office June 1.”
Mainstream media outlets were quick to announce the Trump decision and a sloppy FOX news segment, Fox & Friends, aired with this blunder:
Thanks a lot, Fox News. Now Trump is going to want three walls for all the Mexicos. pic.twitter.com/Rdjq3QHloj
— Farrah Alexander (@AuthorFarrah) March 31, 2019
“We are surrounded by Mexicos” pointed out another Twitter user. The memes are plenty and funny however, what this FOX News blunder pointed out more critically – that the anti-Latino, anti-immigrant sentiment lives on in the coverage of a community impacted by the Trump administration. It is an extension of Trump’s politics and bias of the Latino community, as critics pointed out.
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