By SILVIO CANTO, JR.
On Saturday, Jan. 23, U.S. President Joe Biden and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador spoke by phone.
According to news reports, the Mexican president said that the United Stats has pledged $4 billion to Central America. in development investment programs.
I guess that Biden is hoping that money going south will keep caravans from going north, or something like that.
The idea sounds good, but it won’t really work.
The biggest problem with Mexico and Central America is that the leaders have grown accustomed to remesas, or remittances, to help prop up their economies.
Remittances from the United States flow south every week, from one guy in Texas sending Mom a $100 a month to even bigger numbers that support entire families.
These remittances constitute a social safety net for many of these countries, as reported in this Wall Street Journal report:
“Mexicans working in the United States sent record amounts of money to relatives back home last year, illustrating the resilience of the U.S. economy despite the shutdowns imposed to fight the pandemic. The surge in remittances, which surprised analysts and migrants alike, provided a lifeline for many poorer Mexicans in the midst of the country’s biggest economic slump in decades. Remittances rose 11 percent to $36.9 billion in the first 11 months of the year, more than the record $36.4 billion sent in all of 2019, according to figures released … by Mexico’s central bank.”
The Wall Street Journal report went on to note that the average remittance sent home each month was 4.3 higher, at $340, according the the Bank of Mexico (Banxico).
In the case of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras — the Central American countries that make up the Northern Triangle — remittances slumped in April, but later rebounded, and were up 3.4 percent from January through October.
So the money goes south, and keeps going south.
In theory, dealing with the root cause of poverty is a noble idea.
But in this case, the migrants are not coming here because they are poor.
They are coming here because they can make more money and send dollars to Mom.
Can it be stopped? Not really.
Unfortunately, Mexico and Central America’s politicians are used to having their folks outside taking care of the people inside, a smooth way to avoid in investing in developing their own economies.
SILVIO CANTO, JR. is a Cuban-born U.S. citizen who teaches English at a north Texas college. He is the author of the book “Cubanos in Wisconsin” and has a daily online radio program and blog dealing with U.S. and Latin American politics, as well as sports and historic events, and is a regular contributor to American Thinker.
…Jan. 26, 2021