Migration crisis: López Obrador announces a trip to Central America to seek agreements and stop migratory flows

Central American migrants demonstrate this Friday in front of a military post in the town of Tapachula.Juan Manuel Blanco (EFE)

Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced this Friday that he will make an official trip to the northern triangle of Central America in May to seek agreements with the authorities of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Belize and stop the flows migratory. The president of Mexico, who will also include a visit to Cuba in this tour, defended his strategy from Tapachula, in Chiapas, where he was received by a demonstration of migrants stranded at the southern border. The solution to the phenomenon lies, according to him, in the reduction of inequalities in the countries of origin and in greater involvement of the governments of the United States and Canada.

As the president addressed the media at his morning press conference, desperation led to dozens of people sewing their lips together in protest. The lack of an administrative exit and abandonment left crowds in limbo at several northern and southern border crossings. This situation is not new, but day after day exasperation is spreading. The government’s response always states two words: “Sowing life”. This is the name of a social program which, according to what the Head of State said today, already gives “permanent employment to more than 80,000 Chiapas” by planting and repopulating the countryside. The idea is to make it viable, he argued, also in Central America.

The most pressing migration-related challenge, however, is the activity of criminal organizations and trafficking mafias. “Every day we deal with this case. There is human smuggling, there are those who charge for the transport of migrants, there are transporters who are dedicated to this, human smuggling. We must be careful that migrants are not transported in trailer boxes, that misfortunes like those of Tuxtla do not do so. arrive. We had cases of our brothers from Guatemala in Tamaulipas, who were murdered,” López Obrador recalled. In the northern state, 16 Guatemalans chasing their American dream were massacred, shot and burned. And last December, a truck carrying migrants overturned near Tuxtla Gutiérrez, killing dozens. “We are investigating all this type of transport, because it is not only the drivers, but the owners of the trucks,” the president promised.

However, López Obrador assured that on the southern border “there are job opportunities”. “There are employment opportunities at Sembrado Vida, we fund these programs in El Salvador, Honduras, Belize. We are on the verge of reaching an agreement with the government of Guatemala, and we are doing it here in Chiapas,” he said before attributing the shortcomings of the migration flow management plan to the vision of the administration Joe Biden. The president and the US ambassador to Mexico, Ken Salazar, had been summoned to discuss the matter this Friday from the border, but a meeting has not yet been reported.

“Whoever leaves his community brings a plan, which is to go to the United States,” said López Obrador. “And if they leave, it’s already very difficult for us [frenarlos], even if employment opportunities are offered. Mexico has asked the White House and Canada for greater flexibility in granting work visas. The goal is that the control of migratory flows also contributes to reactivating the regional economy in North America after the hard blows of the covid-19 pandemic. “It is not possible that only migrants are detained,” continued the Mexican president. “They need this workforce, but in all of this, the partisan fight and the electoral processes intervene a lot. This year there are elections [al Senado] in the United States and many elections must be drawn from these circumstances. Meanwhile, no one has been able to contain the yearning to join the United States, and protests by migrants stranded at the southern border do not stop.

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