Mexico proposes US fund Central America development projects

Mexico's Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard speaks with reporters, Thursday, May 23, 2019, after meeting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the U.S. State Department in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) –The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Mexico proposed Thursday that the United States finance seven projects aimed at boosting the economies of three Central American nations whose poverty and violence push desperate people to migrate north.

Mexican foreign minister Marcelo Ebrard told reporters after meeting with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan that he plans to showcase the same proposal next week in Germany.

Ebrard is to meet Friday with President Donald Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan at the White House. He expects to get an update on talks about the U.S. committing some $10 billion in development funds for Mexico and Central America.

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Earlier this week in Mexico, a U.N. commission presented a roadmap to boost development in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.

Ebrard said the proposal includes building an electric grid, a network to distribute natural gas and schools in the three nations.

“I cannot tell you now whether the United States will take all the projects we bring, but certainly Mexico’s perspective needs to be taken into account,” Ebrard said. “I hope President Trump, once he has the information we are providing, he can reassess what Mexico is proposing.”

Trump went on Twitter this week to voice frustration with Mexico, saying it “is doing virtually nothing to stop illegal immigrants from coming to our Southern Border.”

Ebrard said Mexico and the Central American countries have already budgeted at least $30 billion over the next five years for development projects.

Since taking office Dec. 1, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has pushed the idea of developing southern Mexico together with Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador as the best option for stemming the flow of migrants.

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Luis Alonso Lugo on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/luisalonsolugo