Guatemala calls for help, crackdown on smugglers after Mexican migrants die

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Migrants traveling to the United States paint a banner in a makeshift shelter in Tecun Uman, Guatemala, January 22, 2020. REUTERS / Jose Cabezas

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MEXICO CITY, Dec.10 (Reuters) – Guatemala on Friday urged the United States to invest in the country and elsewhere in Central America to boost development, and called for a crackdown on smuggling gangs after dozens of migrants die in a truck accident in Mexico.

Guatemalan and Mexican officials have pledged to tackle international human trafficking networks they blamed for Thursday’s crash that killed 55 migrants, mostly Guatemalans.

Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said a regional “action group” had been set up to tackle human trafficking networks and was supported by the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and the United States.

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The group “will investigate, identify, learn and bring to justice the leaders of the organization responsible for this human tragedy,” Ebrard said at a televised press conference.

Speaking alongside Ebrard, Guatemalan Foreign Minister Pedro Brolo urged Washington to invest in reducing poverty in the region and called for tougher sanctions against criminals who profit from illegal immigration.

“We call on the US government to support development and investment in our country, as well as in neighboring countries, to prevent and ensure that these tragedies do not happen again,” he added.

Brolo also proposed that the governments of Guatemala, Mexico and the United States organize a meeting soon to align and standardize their migration policies.

Every month, thousands of migrants fleeing poverty and violence in Central America cross Mexico to reach the US border. They often pile up in large trucks organized by smugglers in dangerous conditions. Read more

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Reporting by Noe Torres and Lizbeth Diaz; Writing by Stefanie Eschenbacher; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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