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Mexico Moving for Regional Development, as Ebrard Urges for International Community To Help

June 14, 2019 (EIRNS)—Speaking today at Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s daily press conference, Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard gave an upbeat briefing on the government’s progress in implementing the terms of last week’s agreement with the Trump Administration, and most importantly, in moving into implementation of the regional development program for southern Mexico and northern Central America that was presented on May 20.

Also present at the briefing were governors of the five Mexican states that border on Central America, all of whom expressed their wholehearted support for the government’s program and are prepared to do what it takes to ensure its success.

This is an urgent issue, Ebrard said. From day one, Mexico said that the real issue is development, and “we’re going to show that we can do this, and that it can be done in the short term ... that it doesn’t have to be a long-term idea, but that it can also be done in the short term.”

Mexico is taking the necessary steps to deal with the increasing influx of Central American migrants at the southern border, he said, increasing personnel at the National Immigration Institute, and completing within a few days the deployment of 6,000 National Guardsmen to Mexico’s border with Guatemala.

Ebrard also announced that a workinggroup is already in place, with representatives of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, as well as of many other state agencies to get the regional development program underway by next week. Several UN agencies are going to participate as well, he said.

Money to finance this is an issue. Speaking from Veracruz yesterday, Ebrard said that the deal signed with the U.S. included the U.S. commitment to provide $5.8 billion for Central American development projects and $2 billion more for southern Mexico, but there has been no confirmation from Washington on this. Ebrard emphasized that, “this isn’t just a Mexican issue, or about El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. We’re talking about one of the largest migratory flows in the world. So, if we want to have a different migration policy in the world, we have to make common cause.” The international community must rally, he said. “There were many voices we didn’t hear from during the days Mexico was so pressured on the issue of threatened U.S. tariffs, he said. “We hope they won’t be absent in the coming weeks, now that we’re going to implement this action plan right away.”

Ebrard warned that criminal gangs pocket up to $6 billion a year trafficking in immigrants. Children are particularly victimized, he said. Some are actually “rented out” to families who are told they have a better chance to getting into the U.S. if they have a child. “Now, it’s up to all of us to dismantle that traffic. This is child slavery, the slavery of minors. It must be stopped,” he said.

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