HOUSTON – As the rhetoric from the White House targeting “communist dictators” in Latin America ramps up, the U.S. Department of State recently announced that the United States would be providing almost $576 million in humanitarian aid to Mexico, Central America, and Venezuela. Absent from the conversation were Cuba, Nicaragua, and Haiti.
The U.S.has deported more than 20,000 Haitians since last year’s incident when agents on horseback forced Haitians back across the border into Mexico.
“The United States is providing nearly $200 million in additional humanitarian assistance through international organizations and NGO partners in Mexico and Central America, bringing our total humanitarian assistance for the region since FY 2018 to more than $594 million,” said U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken in the announcement for assistance to Mexico.
“Our assistance will support the humanitarian and protection needs of refugees, asylum seekers, internally displaced persons, stateless persons, and vulnerable migrants in Mexico and Central America, as well as continuing efforts through international organization and NGO partners to assist governments by providing an array of support across the region,” Blinken continued.
In a separate statement, the Secretary of State announced that Venezuela would be receiving $376 million to respond to the needs of Venezuelans. It should be noted that these statements fall in line with previous commitments in that they’re all based on stemming migration from Latin America. Those previous commitments resulted in more inhumane treatment at the borders of those nations receiving funds from the U.S.
“The United States announced today nearly $376 million in new humanitarian assistance to respond to the needs of vulnerable Venezuelans in Venezuela, Venezuelan refugees and migrants, and their generous host communities across the region,” Secretary Blinken said. “This humanitarian assistance includes more than $181 million through the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration and more than $194 million through the U.S. Agency for International Development.”
While the funding for Mexico in Central America is meant to “support the humanitarian and protection needs of refugees, asylum seekers, internally displaced persons, stateless persons, and vulnerable migrants in Mexico and Central America,” funding for Venezuela is intended to provide support to “the most vulnerable among the more than 7 million Venezuelans with critical needs inside Venezuela, the nearly 6.8 million who have sought refuge in 17 countries across the region, and the host communities that have welcomed them.”
“This new funding brings total U.S. foreign assistance for the response to the Venezuela regional crisis to nearly $2.7 billion since 2017, including more than $2.3 billion in humanitarian assistance, of which nearly $314 million was announced in new humanitarian, health, economic, and development assistance for Venezuelan refugees and vulnerable migrants across the hemisphere at the Ninth Summit of Americas on June 10, 2022,” Blinken continued in the announcement for Venezuela.
At issue with U.S. funding for anti-migratory measures is the cruel nature of stopgap measures being implemented by beneficiary nations. Previous funding has led many organizations to call on the U.S. government to monitor and hold accountable countries using taxpayer funds to treat migrants inhumanely.
“Outsourcing US immigration enforcement to Mexico has led to serious abuses and forced hundreds of thousands to wait in appalling conditions to seek protection,” Americas Researcher at Human Rights Watch Tyler Mattice said in a statement in June about the Summit of the Americas. “The Summit of the Americas is an opportunity for regional leaders, including presidents Biden and López Obrador, to commit to a regional migration agreement that moves away from heavy-handed enforcement policies and towards protection and human rights.”
Responding to questions at the White House, President Joe Biden said that asylum-seekers from Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua are coming from “totally different” circumstances than other migrants. He further emphasized that the White House is working with Mexico and other countries to see if they can “stop the flow” of migrants to the U.S.
“Because there are three countries that are – never have – there are fewer – fewer immigrants coming from Central America and from Mexico. This is a totally different circumstance,” President Biden said. “What’s on my watch now is Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua. And the ability to send them back to those states is not rational. You could send them back and have them – we’re working with Mexico and other countries to see if we can stop the flow. But that’s the difference.”
With President Biden stating Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela are on his watch, it seems excluding them from the Summit of the Americas was a missed opportunity to address migration from those nations. That Haiti wasn’t a part of the conversation with reporters nor the president is also telling. Particularly, since Haitians have not been allowed due process and have been immediately deported back to Haiti thanks to policies like Title 42 which remains in effect.
President Biden’s continuation of Former-President Donald Trump’s policies along with the silence from the general public is a sign of the times. It tells of a society more willing to accept the inhumane treatment of human beings because of their skin color and/or where they’re from while using the most oppressive tool in its arsenal: the enforcement of dubious laws.
*NOTE: On Tuesday the State Department confirmed to me that the U.S. is in communication with the Cuban government to assess how the U.S. can help the island nation “consistent with U.S. laws and regulations” in dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Ian and the August 5 explosion at the port of Matanzas.
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