Central America-US Security Cooperation Deal questioned by Activists

Many activists from Central America and Mexico have questioned the focus of their governments on security for addressing the issue of migration after meetings they held with Kirstjen Nielsen, the US Secretary of Homeland Security.

It was on Tuesday, that Nielsen had met the Mexican officials and also took part in a Summit held at Honduras with various other security members participating from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. The issue of border security and also the exodus of Central American migrants and other asylum seekers was taken up during the meetings.

The Honduras Summit had ended with signing of a regional memorandum of cooperation between United States of America and the three Central American nations. As per the Department of Homeland Security, the memorandum which is signed is directed to better coordination and cooperation between the signing nations for fostering border security, prevention of formation of new migrant caravans and also addressing the root causes of the migration crisis.

Nielson has described the memorandum as first-ever regional compact and a Historic Agreement for addressing the root causes of crisis on the border. The only purpose of the above memorandum is to bolster security cooperation in four areas: human trafficking and smuggling, sharing of intelligence inputs, organised crime and lastly security across the border. The agreement is however, of the non-binding nature and it only involves a commitment to continue ongoing talks and also continue with the cooperation efforts on both sides.

The main factors which lead to migration are questionable as it has been observed that it is mainly insecurity and violence which drive populations to migrate to newer and safe areas. The real problem is thus standardisation of the approach to the origins of migration and further framing of policies based on that criteria only. The approach does not take into account various historical and structural foundations which lead to insecurity and violence in the region. The structural issues like inequality and the rampant corruption which has co0opted the state need to be addressed.

US Department of Defense had earlier suspended aid to various Guatemalan inter-agency task forces in addition to putting a stop on training of these task forces. It was basically due to continued mis-use of the donated vehicles. It was seen in August 2018, that the Jeep J8 vehicles which had been given for counter-narcotics task forces in the border region, were actually used in the streets around the offices of an anti-corruption mission of UN. The incident had invited widespread condemnation and generated an alarm.

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