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Trump Cuts All Direct Assistance to Northern Triangle Countries Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=47244"><span class="small">Conor Finnegan, ABC News</span></a>   
Saturday, 30 March 2019 13:24

Finnegan writes: "In a stunning about-face, State Department officials said that President Donald Trump is cutting off all direct assistance to the so-called Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala."

A caravan of migrants moving north after crossing the border from Honduras into Guatemala. (photo: John Moore/Getty Images)
A caravan of migrants moving north after crossing the border from Honduras into Guatemala. (photo: John Moore/Getty Images)

ALSO SEE: Trump Cut to Central American Aid Will Only
Boost Immigration, Democrats Say

Trump Cuts All Direct Assistance to Northern Triangle Countries Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala

By Conor Finnegan, ABC News

30 March 19


n a stunning about-face, State Department officials said that President Donald Trump is cutting off all direct assistance to the so-called Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.

“At the Secretary’s instruction, we are carrying out the President’s direction and ending FY [fiscal year] 2017 and FY 2018 foreign assistance programs for the Northern Triangle,” a State Department spokesperson told ABC News, referring to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. “We will be engaging Congress as part of this process.”

These three countries are the primary source of migrants to the U.S., but for years the U.S. has worked with them to stabilize their political environments and economies and end violence and corruption so that migrants wouldn’t leave in the first place.

Trump hinted at the cuts earlier on Friday, telling reporters,”I’ve ended payments to Guatemala, to Honduras, and to El Salvador. No money goes there anymore.”

While the president has threatened these cuts before, this time the administration is actually following through.

Trump said the funds totaled $500 million, but it wasn’t clear Friday if that figure was accurate. The State Department announced in December that the U.S. would mobilize $5.8 billion in public and private american investment to these three countries.

“We’re not paying them anymore because they haven’t done a thing for us,” he added.

His senior-most advisers, however, have carried a very different tune, talking very often about the importance of this assistance to stem the flow of illegal immigration.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was in Mexico and Honduras this week meeting with their leadership to sign new partnership agreements. Pompeo testified before the House of Representatives on Wednesday about the administration's efforts, saying the president had instructed him and Nielsen to use U.S. funding to "develop a set of programs that reward effective outcomes, that reward good leadership, that get us to a place where we actually achieve the outcomes."

In a speech in Brazil last June, Vice President Mike Pence touted the “significant resources” the administration was putting toward this effort, though much of those resources were allocated under former President Barack Obama’s administration.

“The United States of America has never been more committed to strengthening our partnership with the nations in the Northern Triangle to help ... tackle the problems facing our shared neighborhood,” Pence said in October when hosting leaders from the Northern Triangle and Mexico at the State Department with Pompeo.

Trump's previous threats to pull the plug, however, had often left U.S. officials scratching their heads and straining to explain why these funds described as key to stemming migration would be cut off -- as punishment for not stemming migration.

When Pompeo was challenged on the president’s previous threatening tweets on Wednesday, he told Congress, "I’m not going to comment on my evaluation. You asked me about the U.S. policy, and I’ve done my level-best to articulate it."

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+6 # DongiC 2019-03-30 17:47
Trump loves to bully and make threats. When is our President going to grow up? He continues to aggravate about every situation he is involved with. He continues to make a mess of just about everything. No wonder so many of his appointments depart. Their number is becoming legion.
+3 # Citizen Mike 2019-03-30 23:24
The further he departs from reason and common sense, the more clearly it is shown that he is in over his head and does not know what to do. Soon the conservative Republicans will abandon him because he is not turning out to be a good and effective tool for them, he is blundering and thrashing about wildly.He will not be nominated for a second term.
+4 # vt143 2019-03-31 06:13
Want to put out the fire? Why not pour some gasoline on it? This is the exact opposite action he should be taking. This will cause even more people to need to emigrate! The reason so many want to leave those very countries is because of the poor conditions--oft en aided by our support of right wing regimes. We live in an Orwell world.
+3 # Kootenay Coyote 2019-03-31 08:50
Barking mad policy shift: The US created this problem for over a century & now shamelessly abandons its victims again. & most of the world looks on in disgust.
+1 # elizabethblock 2019-03-31 09:01
If the aid Trump is cutting of is military aid - and it probably is - it will probably be a good thing.

BTW: I just spent ten days in Honduras on a birding trip. Fabulous. Lovely country, lovely birds, lovely people.
+1 # hectormaria 2019-03-31 09:33
If the old-style American propped dictators were in power in Central America (like Gen. Montt), Trump would be quadrupling aid to those countries: he loves the dictatorial style of leadership and aspires to be like them.
0 # DongiC 2019-04-01 01:34
Montt was a murderous bast*rd. Over 200,000 Mayan Indians lost their lives in the Guatemalan civil war! Trump would have had a bromance with this guy!
0 # Anne Frank 2019-04-02 14:49
It's easy to believe the Trump regime will cut off humanitarian aid, but I don't believe for a second that it will reduce funding to the military dictatorship that the Obomber regime installed in Honduras or the police state that the Eisenhower regime installed in Guatemala.
0 # WorkingClass 2019-04-03 10:09
I predict that China will step in and fill the void - great move dumb ass. Once China replaces our aid they will be a a better position to market access at the expense of US producers, especially in agriculture. Trump is merely speeding up the downward slide of the US Empire that was going to happen anyway. His ego driven policy is just moving along our decline a little faster than it would have occurred otherwise.