1. Er…does Castro know the Marshall Plan for Europe came with significant restraints on the policies of recipient countries, prohibiting the nationalization of companies, mandating strict exchange rate controls, balanced budgets, and intrusive checks on national economic policy?
2. Trump has already backed a Marshall Plan for Central America, to the tune to $5.8 billion. But will more cash help root out the root cause: Byzantine and corrupt politics, dysfunctional systems of rules and enforcement that keep people from reaching their true potential?
3. Honduras has a GDP of $22 billion. Amazon invested that in R&D in 2018 alone. So how do we help countries like Honduras birth their own Amazon’s, Apples, Googles? How long will that process take? Many Honduran citizens don’t believe that is possible so would rather live in US.
4. For the next 2 decades, Northern Triangle citizens will continue to flee to US for a better life; simpler solution is to expand legal immigration, funded by fees collected from migrants who are already paying “coyotes” to be smuggled across the border.
5. The complication with this proposal is that some lawmakers, especially on the GOP side, will worry that an influx of Central American migrants (1 million/year) will flip the political dynamic in US, potentially erode GOP control of state legislatures.
6. Ultimately many who oppose legal immigration from Central America wonder what that would mean to the political stability of US: Would we end up importing the political dysfunction and corruption that derailed those countries? Would it increase racism? A shift to socialism?
7. So lawmakers need to do a better job of painting the big picture - show how we as a multicultural nation are stronger and better than many countries because of our rules, norms, and know-how that lead to good governance, economic vibrancy, and the rule of law.
8. US could also incentivize (via tax breaks) American businesses to set up operations in Northern Triangle countries, hire and train more locals, develop their tech skills, and build on the steps the government of Honduras has already taken to improve economic opportunities.
9. This is Google’s office in Mexico City, designed by Mexico-based architectural firm SPACE; imagine Google and Facebook and others helping create more vibrant spaces across Central America, utilizing the talent of local populations. A “Google Plan” could 10X a “Marshall Plan”.
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