Latin America

Expert Voices

Pompeo's Paraguay visit signals heightened regional stakes for U.S.

Mike Pompeo shaking hands with Paraguay's foreign minister
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo with Paraguayan Foreign Minister Luis Castiglioni in Asunción, on April 13. Photo: Jorge Saenz/AFP/Getty Images

Mike Pompeo's visit to Paraguay last weekend — the first by an American secretary of state in half a century — marked a new turn in the U.S. relationship with a country long seen as a friendly backwater.

Why it matters: Paraguay has taken on greater strategic importance in light of new hemispheric issues: the Venezuelan crisis, China’s rise in Latin America and the Trump administration's efforts to build ties with conservative governments across the region.

Expert Voices

Cutting U.S. aid to the Northern Triangle could drive more migration

Central American migrants standing in front of a U.S.–Mexico border wall
A group of migrants from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador await processing in El Paso, Texas. Photo: Christ Chavez/Getty Images

President Trump announced Friday that the U.S. government would be cutting off foreign assistance to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, blaming them (without evidence) for "setting up" migrant caravans. The State Department confirmed the freeze over the weekend and noted that it could affect up to $700 million in funding.

Why it matters: The purpose of the U.S. foreign assistance targeted by Trump is to address the "root causes" of migration through governance reforms, security assistance and economic development. Cutting that funding would constitute an unforced error that could exacerbate conditions throughout the Northern Triangle and lead even more people to migrate north.