After earlier threatening to end foreign aid to three Central American countries whose citizens make up a large percentage of the caravans overwhelming U.S. border security services, on Friday President Trump directed State Department Secretary Mike Pompeo to cut direct aid to the three countries making up the Northern Triangle: El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. At stake is about $500 million in aid.
Said the State Department: “At the Secretary’s instructions we are carrying out the President’s direction and ending FY 2017 and FY 2018 foreign assistance programs for the Northern Triangle.” It noted that it would coordinate these actions with Congress.
The announcement followed a tweet from the president that morning: “It would be very easy to fix our weak and very stupid Democrat inspired immigration laws. In less than one hour, and then a vote, the problem would be solved. But the Dems don’t care about the crime, they don’t want any victory for Trump and the Republicans even if good for USA!”
The decision to pull the plug was made easier by news from Mexican Interior Secretary Olga Sánchez Cordero on Wednesday that “a new caravan is forming in Honduras, that they’re calling ‘the mother of all caravans,’ and they are thinking it could have more than 20,000 people.”
Late last year the president tweeted his frustration over the failure of those three countries to rein in those caravans: “Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador are doing nothing for the United States but taking our money … we will be cutting off all aid to these 3 countries — [they have been] taking advantage of U.S. for years!”
Foreign aid has been under heavy criticism for years, for many reasons, not the least of which is its unconstitutionality. Nowhere in the U.S. Constitution is the central government given the “enumerated” power to tax U.S. citizens and give their money away to other countries and their governments. Over time, U.S. foreign aid has grown to more than $50 billion annually.
There are certainly justifications for such aid: helping struggling families deal with famine, unreliable infrastructure, lack of education, training, lack of adequate water supplies and dependable electricity, to name a few. Such aid, however, establishes a “quid pro quo” understanding behind and beneath such high-sounding purposes: at some point the piper will be expected to be paid. Nothing is free (except the grace of God), and every dollar of such “aid” has a string attached to it.
Foreign aid also helps create a sense of inferiority on the part of the recipient, along with, over time, a sense of dependency upon the continuing largesse of the giver.
There’s anger over the implication that the loyalty of a country and its citizens can be purchased with the almighty dollar, and further, it smacks of imperialism, a tag that has successfully been applied to the United States over its previous interventions and political meddling in Central and South America.
There’s another aspect to the continuing flow of aid that few consider: many aid agencies have successfully created means to cash in on that flow, as revealed in the 2016 documentary Poverty, Inc. The 90-minute film, which won numerous awards worldwide, reveals the creation and operation of the multibillion-dollar poverty industrial complex that has been built up around those billions of dollars being transferred from U.S. taxpayers to corrupt governments in foreign countries every year. It’s not charity; it’s a business, and a highly profitable one at that.
In addition to lining the pockets of foreign dictators, a significant amount of those foreign aid dollars goes to NGOs (non-governmental organizations), some of which are helping support the “migrant caravans.” If those funds could be cut off, or greatly reduced, then perhaps those caravans might not pose such a threat to the country’s southern borders.
The irony is obvious: American taxpayers are funding threats to their own national sovereignty. Cutting foreign aid funds would translate into cutting the funding of those NGOs helping the caravans.
Photo: AP Images