President Trump has threatened to cut off millions of dollars of aid to Honduras unless its government stops the “caravan” of approximately 2,000 from heading towards the Unites States border. Washington gave $181 million to Tegucigalpa last year.
Guatemalan police detained the migrant caravan’s spokesman on Tuesday, a day after the group defied warnings from local authorities and crossed the border from Honduras.
The United States has strongly informed the President of Honduras that if the large Caravan of people heading to the U.S. is not stopped and brought back to Honduras, no more money or aid will be given to Honduras, effective immediately!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 16, 2018
On Friday, the caravan left San Pedro Sula, a large city in the northwest of the country, despite warnings from Vice President Mike Pence that they would be turned back at the US border. The people sang the national anthem of Honduras and chanted Barack Obama’s campaign slogan, “Yes, we can!”
The government said it will act to stop the caravan from crossing into Guatemala. As of Monday, however, around 2,000 were already in the neighboring country, making it a difficult task for Tegucigalpa to deliver on the promise. Guatemalan police initially blocked the migrants, but the group was ultimately able to cross, according to Reuters.
The caravan is the second this year. Earlier in April, when a similar group of hundreds of people sought to migrate to the US, Trump also threatened to cut aid. The vast majority failed to reach the US, but a handful of asylum seekers did manage to enter.
The Guardian reports:
Honduras is the second poorest country in Latin America, after Haiti, and one of the most dangerous in the world. Forced migration has surged since a military-backed coup in 2009 unleashed a wave of organised crime, violence and environmentally destructive mega-projects.
Miriam Miranda, a leader of the Afro-Honduran Garifuna ethnic group, tweeted: “The #migrantcaravan is the result of the destruction of the country’s institutions and the transfer of resources to the political and economic mafia, and the foreign investors who control Honduras.”
Since the coup, Honduras has emerged as a major transit country for cocaine shipments from South American heading for the US market and the US has given Honduras at least $230 million in security aid. Honduras is the country most visited by US special forces in the western hemisphere, with 21 US missions between 2008 and 2014.