Analyst says aid cut for CentAm could backfire

HUIXTLA, Mexico (AP) — An analyst with Moody’s Analytics says that if U.S. President Donald Trump follows through on cutting or reducing aid to Central America, it could backfire by worsening poverty and violence that are root causes of migration.

Alfredo Coutino writes in a report Tuesday that slashing funding for employment, health care, education and security “will have an important consequence on vulnerable people.”

Coutino says any increase in insecurity and reduction in well-being would provide “additional incentive” for people to leave, “potentially aggravating the migration of Central Americans” northward.

The analyst’s conclusion: “President Trump might get the opposite result of what he thought would be by punishing the Central American governments.”

Trump tweeted Monday: “We will now begin cutting off, or substantially reducing, the massive foreign aid routinely given to” Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

It is Congress, not the president, that appropriates aid money. The White House would have to notify Congress if it wanted to cut or reallocate aid, which could delay or complicate the process.