Costa Rica, Panama and the Dominican Republic, transit countries for thousands of migrants seeking to reach the United States irregularly, established a strategic alliance with Washington to “address the structural causes of migration,” their governments announced Monday.
The agreement was reached in San José during the IV Summit of the Alliance for Development in Democracy (ADD), which brings together the leaders of these three Latin American countries.
Their territories are used by migrants coming up from South America and the Caribbean, mostly Haitians who left their country in recent years, but also Venezuelans, Cubans and Africans. Their destination is North America.
“As an ally, the United States will contribute to the Alliance’s efforts to address the structural causes of migration,” said a joint communiqué signed by Presidents Laurentino Cortizo of Panama, Luis Abinader of the Dominican Republic and Carlos Alvarado of Costa Rica.
Representing the United States were the Assistant Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and Environment, José Fernández, and the head of U.S. diplomacy for Latin America, Brian Nichols.
One of the actions of the agreement between the DDA and the US will be to create a “special fund” to address the causes of migration.
“Already our countries invest millions of dollars in migratory attention when we are countries typically receiving migrants (…) So we offer to work with matching funds, with the additional collaboration of countries like the United States,” said Alvarado.
“We created this special fund, because if we talk about development and reducing these flows of people who leave their countries, infrastructure projects are required, which generate jobs and opportunities for these people so that they do not have to make the decision to leave their country,” Cortizo commented in turn.
As part of his plan to address the root causes of irregular migration to North America, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas signed an agreement in Costa Rica last week to strengthen the fight against human trafficking.
According to the UN, nearly one million Mexicans and Central Americans fled their countries in 2021 due to violence, lack of opportunities, climate change and the ravages of the covid-19 pandemic.