Biden to Set Conditions on Aid to Central American Countries

The Biden administration will make $4 billion in aid to Central American countries contingent upon their commitment to anticorruption and good governance measures, it said Wednesday.

The administration said in January that it planned to provide the aid to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador with the goal of improving some of the conditions that contribute to the northern migration of their citizens.

But members of Congress and some foreign policy experts warned that without attaching conditions to the aid, it could end up supporting corrupt regimes, as it did under the Obama administration, when President Joe Biden was vice president.

The Biden administration also announced it’s reopening a program to reunite certain children from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras with parents who are lawfully in the U.S. The program had been terminated in 2017 under Donald Trump, and the decision to restart it shows Biden is continuing to reverse the former president’s hard-line immigration policies.

The requirements for U.S. aid include transparent accounting, fair elections and respect for human rights, the administration said.

A group of eight Democratic senators introduced legislation last month that would target the president of Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernández, who faces allegations of having ties with drug traffickers.

“The United States cannot remain silent in the face of deeply alarming corruption and human rights abuses being committed at the highest levels of the Honduran government,” Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley said in a statement when introducing the bill.

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