Blinken urges Central America to help migrants, points out democracy issues
By Humeyra Pamuk
SANJOSE -US Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged Central American governments to do more to help contain illegal immigration and raised concerns about the health of local democracy and human rights during of a visit to the region on Tuesday.
Speaking at a joint press conference with Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado, Blinken said the United States wanted to hear from its partners in the region about their shared commitment to dealing with migratory pressures.
“Good governance is crucial to meeting the challenges and seizing the opportunities of this moment, and yet we meet at a time when democracy and human rights are undermined in many parts of the region,” said Blinken. to journalists.
Blinken cited the erosion of judicial independence, the crackdown on independent media and NGOs, and the suppression of anti-corruption efforts to illustrate his point, noting that the United States has also suffered its own setbacks.
US President Joe Biden has come under pressure to curb a sharp increase in undocumented immigration at the US-Mexico border since taking office in January.
Regional cooperation to resolve the issue is now more important than ever, said Blinken, who visited Costa Rica, to meet with leaders from Central America and Mexico.
Many immigrants stopped at the US border come from three violent and impoverished Central American countries, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, to which Washington has pledged aid in return for commitments to improve local governance.
This campaign has been clouded by concerns about corruption, cronyism, signs of authoritarianism and efforts to block the appointment of judges with anti-corruption backgrounds.
The United States has pledged to help the poorest countries fight COVID-19 with vaccines, and Blinken said the government will make plans over the next week for how millions of doses will be distributed.