Just as pouring billions into Afghan reconstruction didn’t make the war in Afghanistan good, increased aid to governments with no political will to stop corruption and violence does not make militarized approaches to child migration or drug trafficking worthy of support. Honduran law enforcement agencies are “criminal organizations inside and out,” said Honduras’ deputy drug czar, later killed.
The package aims to stop children and families from fleeing violence to the United States, by promoting private enterprise, militarizing the U.S.’s and Mexico’s southern borders, training drug warriors, and supporting certain faith-based youth programs. Vice-President Biden made clear that the package is modeled on Plan Colombia – associated with massive forced displacement and killings – and U.S. community policing, which promoted ‘broken windows’ policing and prison expansion. The judicial reform promoted for Central America has had abysmal effects on prosecuting extrajudicial executions in Colombia and northern Mexico.
The Pentagon’s Southcom and State Department’s narcotics bureau have made Honduras and Guatemala the focus of military and police programs for years. Nicaragua, “neglected” by such efforts, has remarkably less organized crime, violence, and children fleeing to the United States. Money won’t create political will for the changes needed in Central America. But it could support compassionate treatment of families fleeing violence to our homeland.
John Lindsay-Poland is a researcher and analyst with the Fellowship of Reconciliation Peace Presence.