President Trump Threatens Honduran Government with Economic Sanctions
President Donald Trump has continued to pressure Central American governments to increase border security, and has now threatened the Honduran government with economic sanctions if they fail to do so.
Central American leaders and the American government have long argued over border security and the role of each country in stopping illegal immigrants from crossing the border. In the face of the current immigration crisis and the Central American migrant caravans in 2017 and 2018, the US government has doubled down on security measures and has continued negotiations with neighboring countries.
According to recent reports, Donald Trump has given the Honduran government an ultimatum. If Honduras rejects the “third safe country” deal ( Honduras would increase measures to stop Cuban and Nicaraguan immigrants from continuing their path to the US), he has threatened the nation with a 10-20 percent tax on remittances sent from Honduran immigrants in America to their families back home. He has also threatened to put tariffs on multiple manufacturers and to modify the Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement to punish exporters.
This poses a great danger to the already struggling Honduran economy, considering that remittances are a vital part of many Hondurans’ income. According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, remittance inflow made up 18.8 percent of the Honduran GDP in 2017, amassing a total of $4.3 billion. Additionally, La Prensa reports that Honduras is the seventh biggest textile export for the US and they export about $4,300 yearly. This means that if these economic sanctions are put into place, there will be heavy consequences reflected in the country’s economy.
La Prensa’s anonymous source stated that the Honduran government “is working to prevent at all costs that Donald Trump fulfills his threat to impose these economic sanctions”. Honduran foreign minister Lisandro Rosales has also denied that the third safe country deal is happening, but has said that the US and Honduras are working towards an agreement to tackle the inflow of immigrants coming from Cuba.
With contradicting reports released in the past weeks regarding whether or not Honduras has reached an agreement with the US, Honduras’s economy will be greatly affected by the outcome of these negotiations.