EL MONTE, California — Vice President Kamala Harris announced the approval of “$310 million in U.S. aid to Central America after a virtual meeting with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei.” President Joe Biden assigned Harris to lead the Biden Administration’s diplomatic relations with “Mexico and Central America’s Northern Triangle countries — Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras — to stop” the flow of migrants into the U.S. An increased number of migrants from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras are crossing the border. However, the Biden Administration is pledging aid to Central America to help address the current migration situation.
Food Insecurity in Central America
Hurricanes and the economic impact due to the novel coronavirus have left many Central Americans in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras facing hunger, according to the World food Programme. COVID-19 greatly affected vulnerable groups such as informal workers, women and Afro-descendants, and recovery seems to be a lengthy process.
The $310 million in U.S. aid is intended to address the food insecurity that plagues Central America. The U.S. is taking steps toward improving conditions for Central America and providing aid to its most food insecure communities. According to a press statement from the U.S. Secretary of State, the increase in assistance includes relief from four departments:
- The State Department’s Bureau of Population will provide $104 million.
- USAID’s Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance will provide $125 million.
- Another $26 million will come from the Department of Defense.
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture is providing $55 million.
USAID Provides Assistance
USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance will address the needs of people who are forced to migrate from their homes. This includes refugees, school children, asylum seekers and other migrants from Central America and surrounding regions. The bureau will provide housing, reunite migrants with their families and offer access to healthcare.
Furthermore, it will help vulnerable populations prepare for and respond to the coronavirus. Through the efforts of this humanitarian aid bureau, the U.S. will also continue the national action plans of Comprehensive Regional Protection and Solutions Framework countries. These countries include “Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Panama.”
Furthermore, every year, USAID responds “to at least 75 crises in more than 70 countries.” The organization provides people with “food, water, healthcare and other forms of critical aid.” Its main goal is to lead humanitarian efforts to save lives, reduce poverty and help people progress beyond economic assistance.
In addition, USAID helps people who are affected by natural disasters and “empowers communities.” The populations in need receive the tools that are necessary to prepare for disasters in advance. Moreover, after a crisis occurs, the department helps people recover. USAID continues to actively play a role in U.S. foreign policy by working with developing countries all around the world.
With the political and social conditions in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, the U.S. is stepping forward to help. Migrants traveling to the U.S. in search of opportunities are one focus for assistance. As long as COVID-19 impacts global poverty, the Biden administration should maintain its efforts to send aid to Central America.
– Jose Ahumada