The World Today for June 14, 2021




Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei recently blamed the US for attracting migrants seeking a haven from violence and fleeing poverty. During a CBS News interview before American Vice President Kamala Harris’ recent visit to the Central American country, Giammattei suggested the new US administration was too welcoming compared to the prior occupant of the White House.

“The message changed too: ‘We’re going to reunite families, we’re going to reunite children,’” he said. “The very next day, the coyotes were here organizing groups of children to take them to the United States. We asked the United States government to send more of a clear message to prevent more people from leaving.”

Harris was on her first foreign trip to announce measures to fight human trafficking, smuggling and corruption, Reuters reported. Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador were among the biggest sources of origin of the tens of thousands of asylum seekers.

The American government is now determining how many of those migrants should be resettled in the country rather than deported – a logistical, ethical and political process, the Associated Press wrote. In the meantime, US Border agents appear overwhelmed, as PBS illustrated in a story about migrants facing a lack of resources as they await the government’s decisions about their futures.

The problem takes different shapes throughout the region. Migrants making their way to the Darién Gap that separates Panama and Colombia, for instance, face a particularly hair-raising journey that resembles the worst of the US-Mexican border.

“The trip through the Darién Gap presents migrants with really unimaginable hardships – thirst and hunger and crocodiles and snakes and armed cocaine traffickers and common thieves,” Benjamin Gedan, a Latin American specialist at the Wilson Center, told Axios.

The crisis also takes different shapes around the world. Greek officials recently deployed high-tech sound cannons to repel migrants looking to enter the European Union from Turkey, wrote the Associated Press. The “acoustic devices” could make sounds as loud as jet turbines. Greek officials have already erected a steel wall along their border, too.

Danish lawmakers recently approved a plan to send migrants to a third country, probably in Africa, as the officials process their asylum requests. Activists told France24 that the Danish plan was designed to discourage asylum seekers.

Tunisian President Kaïs Saïed, whose compatriots witness daily desperate voyages from North Africa to Italy and other European countries, said Europe had to do a better job of tackling the reasons for the migrant crisis, euronews reported. He blamed inequality, poverty, crime and corruption.

American and European leaders need to do something. Too many people have too few reasons to stop and plenty of incentives to take a chance.

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