U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris met with four influential women from Guatemala on Wednesday as part of her assigned mission to identify the claimed “root causes” of mass migration from Central America.
The U.S. V.P. met with two former Guatemalan chief prosecutors and two top judges less than three weeks before her first trip abroad as V.P. to Guatemala and Mexico on June 7 and 8.
President Joe Biden has tasked his V.P. with addressing the “root causes” of migration from Central America’s Northern Triangle region. The region’s three countries, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, deliver most of the migrant surge along the U.S. southern border.
So far, Harris has not reached out to the presidents of El Salvador and Honduras. She has talked to the leaders of Guatemala and Mexico.
The Associated Press (AP) noted:
“In addition to the legal experts, Harris has met with representatives of Guatemalan civil society groups to gather information on the forces driving migration. But Wednesday’s meeting appeared to be a conversation among like-minded justice leaders.
The meeting excluded Guatemala’s elected political leaders, and the critical business leaders expected to eventually create jobs for people who would otherwise migrate to America looking for work.
Touting her experience as a self-described “progressive prosecutor,” Harris declared:
This is a table of leaders who have fought for justice, who have fought against injustice — often at great peril to yourselves but in the interest of the greater good.
I intend to then work — informed with your knowledge, your feedback, and your perspective —on the work that we, as the United States, intend to do to address the root causes of migration from the Northern Triangle, understanding that among the root causes is the issue of corruption and the disintegration or violation of the rule of law.
Harris’s meeting may have made Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei uncomfortable ahead of their upcoming encounter early next month, since some of the women whom Harris met and admires live in exile at the moment to stay safe, AP pointed out.
According to the news outlet, Harris met with former Guatemala Attorney General Thelma Aldana, who received political asylum in the United States last year. Via Twitter, Aldana
described the meeting as “excellent,” adding “there is hope for Guatemala.”
But Guatemala’s current top prosecutor, Consuelo Porras, has sought two arrest orders against Aldana for alleged corruption.
Harris also met with Claudia Paz y Paz, Aldana’s predecessor as Guatemala’s Attorney General. She has been living in the U.S. since 2014, when she stepped down.
Former judge Claudia Escobar, who has lived in exile in the U.S. for several years, also attended the meeting. She went into exile after receiving threats connected to a bribery case against a former president of the Guatemalan Congress serving a 13-year prison sentence.
Justice Gloria Porras, selected this year to a new term on Guatemala’s Supreme Court, also met with Harris. After her selection, “lawmakers from the governing party blocked her confirmation, leaving her exposed to some 70 legal complaints related to her previous rulings as a judge,” AP noted.
Throughout the White House meeting, Harris appeared to be using some progressive talking points that would resonate more with liberals in California than everyday Guatemalans. She declared:
Injustice is a root cause of migration. And in particular, it is causing the people of the region to leave their homes involuntarily — meaning they don’t want to leave, but they are fleeing: Women, Indigenous people, Afro-descendants, LGBTQ people are facing discrimination and persecution; families are living in fear of traffickers and gangs.
The governments of Guatemala, Mexico, and El Salvador have blamed the Biden-Harris administration for exacerbating the U.S. southern border crisis by incentivizing migrants to leave with their welcoming tone, ultimately extracting the people vital to building the solid financial conditions to stop the flow of migration north.
While serving as district attorney of San Francisco, Harris allegedly “had no taste for going after political corruption,” the National Review reported, suggesting that she may not be as interested in cleaning up corruption as she claims.
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