Vice President Kamala Harris. Photo by Gage Skidmore

Vice President Kamala Harris visits Guatemala and Mexico

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Vice President Kamala Harris arrived in Guatemala on Sunday and will meet with President Alejandro Giammattei to discuss bilateral economic ties and security on Monday.

She will meet on Tuesday with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

“The goal of the vice president’s trip is to deepen our strategic partnership and bilateral relationship with both the Guatemalan and Mexican governments to advance a comprehensive strategy to tackle the causes of migration,” according to a Harris senior adviser.

Following a bilateral meeting with Guatemalan President Giammattei, and in light of the U.S. desire to partner with Guatemala to address the economic, governance, and security conditions influencing out-migration, Vice President Harris announced the launching of the Anticorruption Task Force, Human Smuggling and Trafficking Task Force and a U.S.-Guatemala Young Women’s Empowerment Initiative.

The Department of Justice, with support from the Department of State, will create an anticorruption task force that will include U.S. prosecutors and law enforcement experts to investigate and prosecute corruption cases with a nexus in the United States, Guatemala and the region. 

The task force will include three components: 

  • Increased focus of the global Kleptocracy Initiative to prosecute corruption cases and seize illicitly gained assets arising from corruption in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.
  • Expand the number of Resident Legal Advisors to provide capacity-building, training, and case-based mentoring to the Guatemalan Public Ministry, including the Special Prosecutor Against Impunity (FECI), to build corruption cases.
  • A rapid response capability to deploy U.S. prosecutors and law enforcement experts to provide mentorship to develop corruption cases.  

The Human Smuggling and Trafficking Task Force will create a regional task force to identify, disrupt, and prevent migrant smuggling and human trafficking operations.  The task force will work with U.S. law enforcement counterparts in the region to track migrant smuggling and human trafficking operations, share intelligence, and plan coordinated enforcement actions. 

USAID will provide up to $40 million over three years to launch the Young Women’s Empowerment Initiative that will focus on creating opportunities for young, primarily indigenous women, who face substantial gender gaps.  Activities will strengthen efforts to prevent and combat pervasive gender-based violence and trafficking in persons from areas of high out-migration while increasing access to justice, education and economic opportunities, and health and social services. 

According to the White House, USAID will also provide up to $7.5 million over three years, and leverage at least $22.5million from the private sector, to support entrepreneurs and innovators – including women, youth, and indigenous people – who are creating technology-driven, market-led solutions to development challenges in regions of high out-migration. 

Support will be directed toward entrepreneurs and businesses that are working in multiple sectors, including renewable energy, climate resilience, health, water and sanitation, telemedicine, agriculture, fintech and education. Initial private sector partners include the Argidius Foundation, PriceSmart Foundation, IDC-Alterna, Pomona Impact, Ascenda, and Valhalla Capital which have committed to invest and grant over $10 million in support of this initiative.

Lois Lane

Lois Lane is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter at the Daily Planet. The daughter of General Sam Lane, she grew up learning hand-to-hand combat and survival techniques. After being hired by Perry White at the Daily Planet, Lois coined the name "Superman" and, because of incisive reporting on the Super Hero's incredible adventures, her career is forever linked to the Man of Steel. She remains one of Superman's strongest allies.

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