In her first international trip as vice president, Kamala Harris visited Central America this week. She told would-be migrants in Guatemala “do not come” (to the U.S.), which drew criticism from progressive democrats. Republicans and some democrats are arguing she should have visited the U.S. border to see the effects of a surge of migrants who’ve arrived in recent months.
Harris did announce tens of millions of dollars in support for Guatemala during her trip. Central American countries are struggling with poverty, gang violence, corruption, and devastation from a recent hurricane.
“Corruption is the most serious threat to democracy, prosperity, and to security to Guatemala and in the region,” says Adriana Beltran, Director For Citizen Security for the Washington Office on Latin America.
She continues, “I do think that it’s important that we establish very clear benchmarks to ensure that aid is reaching those that have been most impacted by poor conditions in the region … and that we ensure … aid not be channelled mostly through the government but through civil society organizations and others, where we can ensure that aid will be spent correctly.”