Be Smart about Sending Money to Central America

President Obama has proposed "an aid" package to Central America in the 2015 budget, or about $1 billion.

In general, I agree with anything that promotes Central America, a poor region devastated by cartel violence and local governments that can't stand up to lawlessness.  The net result is the kind of desperation that drives people across Mexico and to the U.S.

The Boston Globe describes the aid in today's editorial:

"The initiative, dubbed the Alliance for Prosperity and included in President Obama’s proposed budget, represents almost three times more funding than what the region typically gets in aid from the United States. 

It’s an investment worth making. 

“Compared to what we give globally, to less strategically important places given the fact that migration issues come from these countries, it’s a fantastic step forward,” notes Jason Marczak, a Latin America expert at the Atlantic Council. 

The plan takes a comprehensive approach and focuses on development assistance with three major objectives: to provide greater economic opportunities to Central Americans, to strengthen public institutions and governance in the region, and to ensure the safety of its citizens.

In other words, the aid initiative doesn’t just focus on supporting police and military, like other big Latin American aid packages such as Plan Colombia and the Merida Initiative. 

This plan intends to tackle conditions on the ground, including issues like community-based violence, the lack of rule of law, and the high levels of inequality and poverty."

Yes, a stable, and hopefully prosperous region, is the best medicine to keep people home.

Again, I agree with the idea but have a few suggestions:

1) Let's not give anything. I would favor more "loans to entrepreneurs" so that they can create jobs. These loans should be handled by the U.S. Embassy or a U.S. agency in the region. The money should not go to the local government with the expectation that it will be "loaned" to locals.

2) Central America has a terrible cartel problem. You can't invest in a region unless you kick the criminals off the streets.  Therefore, military aid must be a part of any assistance. Local governments must take back the street or people will continue to go north.

There are no easy answers for Central America. We can't fix all of their problems. At the same, we can't sit in the bleachers and watch because the Central Americans show up at our border.

P.S. You can hear my show: (CantoTalk) or  follow me on Twitter.

President Obama has proposed "an aid" package to Central America in the 2015 budget, or about $1 billion.

In general, I agree with anything that promotes Central America, a poor region devastated by cartel violence and local governments that can't stand up to lawlessness.  The net result is the kind of desperation that drives people across Mexico and to the U.S.

The Boston Globe describes the aid in today's editorial:

"The initiative, dubbed the Alliance for Prosperity and included in President Obama’s proposed budget, represents almost three times more funding than what the region typically gets in aid from the United States. 

It’s an investment worth making. 

“Compared to what we give globally, to less strategically important places given the fact that migration issues come from these countries, it’s a fantastic step forward,” notes Jason Marczak, a Latin America expert at the Atlantic Council. 

The plan takes a comprehensive approach and focuses on development assistance with three major objectives: to provide greater economic opportunities to Central Americans, to strengthen public institutions and governance in the region, and to ensure the safety of its citizens.

In other words, the aid initiative doesn’t just focus on supporting police and military, like other big Latin American aid packages such as Plan Colombia and the Merida Initiative. 

This plan intends to tackle conditions on the ground, including issues like community-based violence, the lack of rule of law, and the high levels of inequality and poverty."

Yes, a stable, and hopefully prosperous region, is the best medicine to keep people home.

Again, I agree with the idea but have a few suggestions:

1) Let's not give anything. I would favor more "loans to entrepreneurs" so that they can create jobs. These loans should be handled by the U.S. Embassy or a U.S. agency in the region. The money should not go to the local government with the expectation that it will be "loaned" to locals.

2) Central America has a terrible cartel problem. You can't invest in a region unless you kick the criminals off the streets.  Therefore, military aid must be a part of any assistance. Local governments must take back the street or people will continue to go north.

There are no easy answers for Central America. We can't fix all of their problems. At the same, we can't sit in the bleachers and watch because the Central Americans show up at our border.

P.S. You can hear my show: (CantoTalk) or  follow me on Twitter.