$750 Million and Bad Management


After more than a year of intense political maneuvering in Washington, the administration of Barack Obama won approval for a $750 million proposal to cooperate with the Plan of the Alliance for Prosperity in the Northern Triangle, which will benefit Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. The purpose of the aid is to bring about development in more vulnerable regions and communities, where most undocumented immigrants to the United States come from.

While the legislatures of El Salvador and Honduras have accepted the aid — and have enacted specific budget provisions for their contributions — none of this has occurred in Guatemala. The 2016 spending plan does not allocate funds for the project, and does not honor the responsibility implied by accepting these funds. As a result of the change in government, a short-term solution is not in sight. No one has explained why the Ministries of Planning and Finance neither lobbied nor proposed budget provisions for the counterpart funds that the presidential commissioner on competitiveness, the chancellor, and the Guatemalan ambassador committed to in Washington.

Having this attitude is ironic, since when the Plan of the Alliance for Prosperity in the Northern Triangle was in its initial stages of design and operation, the Guatemalan ministry of foreign affairs and the embassy in Washington spearheaded the diplomatic task of convincing the U.S. government that it was a good investment for controlling the flow of undocumented immigrants.

With the changes that [Guatemala] went through, several issues remain unresolved. Like chameleons, the Ministries of Planning and Finance adapted to trends at home and stopped working on this important task. The treasury team, because of its fuzzy thinking, has been unable to decide to which projects the transitional government, headed by President Alejandro Maldonado, should pay attention. Far from that, they have focused on other issues, possibly seeking to nail down positions in the future administration.

The fact that Guatemala led the diplomatic effort in Washington to secure this funding, but that the government faltered when the time came to make its financial contribution, speaks badly of our local authorities before the international community. It paints us as a disjointed country that is unwilling do its part in multinational efforts. It is an awkward position that does not at all reflect the true spirit of Guatemalans at a time when countries are combining their efforts.

That is why this painful incident, which is already unfolding, needs attention. The current and incoming governments have the responsibility of amending the plan that was so badly executed by the Ministries of Planning and Finance, and of calling it to the attention of the current treasury minister, because the fund is meant to promote meeting the minimum conditions for highly vulnerable sectors of our society.

Guatemala has fallen somewhat by the wayside, which is the responsibility of the government officials named above. It is urgent to undo what has been done, and to do so in a manner consistent with current realities both at home and abroad.

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About Tom Walker 215 Articles
Before I started working as a translator, I had had a long career as a geologist and hydrologist, during the course of which I had the opportunity to work on projects in Mexico, Chile, and Peru. To facilitate my career transition, I completed the Certificate in Spanish-English Translation from the University of California at San Diego. Most of my translation work is in the areas of civil engineering & geology, and medicine & medical insurance. However, I also try to be aware of what’s going on in the world around me, so my translations of current affairs pieces for WA fit right in. I also play piano in a 17-piece jazz big band.

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