Trump cuts all direct assistance to Northern Triangle countries Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala
In a stunning about-face, State Department officials said that President Donald Trump is cutting off all direct assistance to the so-called Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.
“At the Secretary’s instruction, we are carrying out the President’s direction and ending FY [fiscal year] 2017 and FY 2018 foreign assistance programs for the Northern Triangle,” a State Department spokesperson told ABC News, referring to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. “We will be engaging Congress as part of this process.”
These three countries are the primary source of migrants to the U.S., but for years the U.S. has worked with them to stabilize their political environments and economies and end violence and corruption so that migrants wouldn’t leave in the first place.
Trump hinted at the cuts earlier on Friday, telling reporters,”I’ve ended payments to Guatemala, to Honduras, and to El Salvador. No money goes there anymore.”
While the president has threatened these cuts before, this time the administration is actually following through.
Trump said the funds totaled $500 million, but it wasn’t clear Friday if that figure was accurate. The State Department announced in December that the U.S. would mobilize $5.8 billion in public and private american investment to these three countries.
“We’re not paying them anymore because they haven’t done a thing for us,” he added.