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Carter sat down with Congressman Enrique Montano, a member of the right-wing Unionist Party, who told her that a strong free-trade agreement between Guatemala and the U.S. that is similar to the one President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau forged with Mexico, would go a long way toward solving the systemic problems that are convincing Guatemalans to flee north toward America.
“It’s trade, not aid. We don’t want handouts. We want the American market to be more open towards us,” Montano said.
“The quotas we have in many of our world-class products — we need more quotas as we need the border to be open… for our products. Then you build a strong Guatemalan economy,” he added, referring to the White House calling for billions in taxpayer funds to go to regions in an effort to solve the crisis.
“Look at Mexico: You had a free trade agreement with them and you helped them. Immigration from Mexico [to the U.S.] has dramatically decreased. Our country’s have increased. So what we are talking about — again, it’s the economy,” Montano added.
Carter said Montano also brought up something Guatemalan intelligence officials have expressed to her, that if the U.S. does not establish stronger trade agreements with Central America, rival nations like world-regions and world-regions swoop in and establish themselves as primary trading partners.
With Venezuela being one regional nation with links to U.S. rival nations, the fear is that America’s adversaries could further increase their presence and influence in that region.
“It is actually a national security crisis they say,” Carter said of the officials she spoke with.
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Carter’s interview comes after Vice President Harris was panned for her summit with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei, a viewpoint that was further solidified when the ex-California senator snapped at a Univision reporter who pressed her about visiting the U.S.-Mexico border as the crisis there intensifies.
“I’m not finished,” Harris bristled at Univision anchor Ilia Calderon, after Calderon pressed her midsentence on the issue.
“I’ve said I’m going to the border. And also if we are going to do what the problems at the border, we have to deal with the problems that cause people to go to the border, to flee to the border.”