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How you gonna keep em down on the farm? or… Show me the money

7 May 2022

Sembrando Vida (Sowing Life) and Jóvenes Construyendo El Futuro (Youth Building the Future) have proven to be two of the most successful, but under-reported, public assistance programs in Mexico… perhaps in the Americas. The first, Sembrando Vida, provides not just seed and fertilizer but direct payments (a minimal salary) for small farmers, and for land reclamation projects; while the latter, Jóvenes Construyendo — something like the US New Deal program, the WPA — hires young adults for public service jobs, providing stipends as well for apprenticeships, work-study programs, and internships. Some have criticized these as mere as “make work” projects, they are investments towards achieving long-range goals, meant to benefit not only their own nations (climate change abatement, food security, a better educated and higher earning work-force), but resolving a chronic complaint about our region from the United States. If people don’t HAVE to emigrate, they won’t… staying home, earning more, shopping at WalMart, ordering from Amazon, etc. etc. etc.

It’s not like people are just going to be sitting around and collecting a check for NOT emigrating, but rather — to use a mealy-mouthed term popular with the public relations crowd — they are “stakeholders” in their country’s development. And, at a low, low cost.

Since 2003, the United States government has spent over 335 BILLION (thousand million) dollars on immigration (or, rather preventing immigration) across the southern border. The Great Wall of Stupidity, had it been built, would have cost an estimated 21.6 billion, though, of course, Homeland Security has been spending… and spending… and spending funds just to keep up what wall was built, and still has no real plan to deal with central american migration.

Which leaves the question… given these programs are already working… why doesn’t the US … as promised… put up the measly 4 billion promised to expand these Mexican programs?

(Translation from Lidia Arista, “AMLO propone hacer masivo Sembrando Vida en Centroamérica”, Expansión, 6 march 2022)

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador proposed that the Sowing Life and Young People Building the Future programs be massively applied in the Central American Republics and asked the United States Congress and Government to deliver the 4,000 million dollars that Joe Biden offered in January 2021 to stop forced migration and promote development in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.

“We are going to continue with these programs and [. . .] ensure that they benefit not tens of thousands, but hundreds of thousands, or millions, and for that we require that the Congress and the United States government approve the necessary resources. We are talking about 4,000 million dollars, which was what President Biden offered for the development of southeastern Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador,” Mexican President Lopez Obrador said on the second day of his tour of Central America and the Caribbean.

In the three messages that he has offered after meeting with his counterparts from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, the president has asked the United States to speed up the delivery of promised resources for Central America. “We need the United States to become clearly involved in solving a problem that affects it and to help finance these programs,” said the president after the meeting with Xiomara Castro.

The Mexican president said that as countries that send, transit and receive migrants, both Central America and Mexico and the United States must all contribute to resolving migration issues. “We [in Mexico] are transit territory and are aware of the risks and suffering this represents for many Honduran, Guatemalan, Salvadorans and for all citizens of other countries. That is why we have been insisting on the relevance of applying social programs like the ones we have been applying for three years in our country”, he said.

In a morning meeting with Salvadorian President, Nayib Bukele, Lopez Obrador agreed to double the current funding provided for the two programs to increase beneficiaries from 10,000 to 20,000. Honduran President, Xiomara Castro, spoke out in favor of dealing with migration from its causes, and announced that that her nation will host the Ministerial Conference on Migration to be held in the second half of this year. “Migration is a human right, it is not a crime,” she said.

None of which will be possible until Biden and co release the promised funds.

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