The President of Costa Rica, Carlos Alvarado, called on this past Monday to broaden the approach to the “fever” of unauthorized migration to the United States beyond the so-called Northern Triangle made up of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
“I would like to question that as an idea, conceptually, you are only thinking about the Northern Triangle,” he said during a videoconference organized by the Atlantic Council think tank based in Washington.
The Northern Triangle, the origin of most of the undocumented people who have reached the southern border of the United States in recent years, has concentrated Washington’s efforts to curb the migratory flow.
Determined to address the root causes of the exodus north, the US government of Joe Biden has just appointed the experienced diplomat Ricardo Zúñiga as special envoy for the Northern Triangle.
Include the entire region
But Alvarado stressed the need to adopt a vision of the entire Central American region, in the spirit that gave birth to the Free Trade Agreement between the United States, Central America and the Dominican Republic (CAFTA-DR in English) in 2004.
“The strategy of the United States at that time was to ensure more democracy, more economic flows. So I think there are lessons that we can draw from that strategy for what is happening now in the region,” he said.
Just as “it would not make sense to have only a trade agreement with the Northern Triangle” (…) if we talk about development, addressing poverty, addressing climate change that is at the root of what is happening, we need a more comprehensive policy,” he added.
The President, who was minister of Labor and Human Development portfolios before becoming president, also stressed that the migratory flow to the United States is not limited to the three countries that make up the Northern Triangle either.
For him, “migration is like the fever that the body has when it has another problem and all of Central America, from Panama to Guatemala, has been a thermometer of that fever. Every time there is a conflict somewhere, we can see how people from various countries of the world cross our territories on foot in search of reaching the United States,” he said, and mentioned migrants from Cuba, Haiti, Congo, Pakistan.