March 30, 2019
American aid to Central America is not charity, but an investment in our national security – full stop! The idea of suspending the relatively small, but essential foreign assistance to the region will only exacerbate the root causes driving people to flee their homes – brutal violence, hunger, and instability.
We know what works. Just look at the success of programs like Plan Colombia, which is why leaders from both parties have called for deepening our investment in the Southern hemisphere for years, requiring active diplomacy and effective aid programs alongside much stronger leadership from these countries on the ground. Yet as of late, funding has only decreased year-by-year.
Ask any former SOUTHCOM commander – this policy will only make things far worse.
Not surprising, opposition from both parties is already emerging from Capitol Hill. Senior members of the House Foreign Affairs and Judiciary Committees – on an official Congressional delegation to El Salvador – stated they’re going to do ‘everything in our power to push back on the President’s misguided approach to Central America.’
Even Vice President Pence recognized the importance of investing in tackling root causes at a 2017 conference with Central American leaders, when he told his counterparts, ‘To further stem the flow of illegal immigration and illegal drugs into the United States, President Trump knows, as do all of you, that we must confront these problems at their source. We must meet them – and we must solve them – in Central and South America.’ We agree.
The U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (www.usglc.org) is a broad-based influential network of 500 businesses and NGOs; national security and foreign policy experts; and business, faith-based, academic, military, and community leaders in all 50 states who support strategic investments to elevate development and diplomacy alongside defense in order to build a better, safer world.