Vice President Kamala Harris’ first overseas trip to Guatemala is off to a terrible start. First, Air Force 2 had to turn around land because of a “technical issue” causing Kamala to tell reporters, “I’m good, I’m good. We all said a little prayer, but we’re good,” But it only got worse when she finally arrived in Guatemala. She was met with protesters and heckled with signs that said: Kamala go home. Ouch.
“We’re not against Kamala Harris’s diplomatic visit, but rather her interference and blackmail in return for aid,” said Society In Action, a group of 20 which calls itself “the real civil society,” at a protest.
“This trip is not about having a fully fleshed out plan for the region but hopefully understanding what the direction is,” Andrew Selee, president of the Migration Policy Institute said.
Vice President Kamala Harris will meet with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei on Monday in her first foreign trip since she took office, her highest-profile move yet leading the administration’s efforts to address the root causes of migration.
The visit will offer Harris, who has little foreign policy experience, her clearest opportunity to establish herself on the world stage — and the most public test of her ability to navigate a thorny issue that has vexed administrations of both parties for decades.
The trip is also an opportunity for Harris to recast her first big policy assignment after a shaky rollout that sent aides scrambling for weeks to clarify the scope of her role, leaving a question mark over the early days of her vice presidency.
…White House officials looked to lower expectations, stressing that such a complex issue would not be resolved in just one trip. Mazin Alfaqih, a special adviser to Harris for the Northern Triangle region of Central America, acknowledged in a call with reporters that “the U.S. government and foreign assistance alone cannot tackle this problem.”
“There needs to be political will on the part of the government, but we’re also looking to partner with multilateral organizations, private-sector and other entities to really build a comprehensive approach,” Alfaqih said.
The Northern Triangle — Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador — has long suffered from violence and poverty, stemming from U.S. intervention in Central America during the Cold War. More recently, the region has been severely affected by climate change and natural disasters. Many of the challenges were worsened by the coronavirus pandemic, especially as vaccines remain scarce in the area.
"We're not against Kamala Harris's diplomatic visit, but rather her interference and blackmail in return for aid," said Society In Action, a group of 20 which calls itself "the real civil society," in a protest with the Veterans' Association outside the Air Force of #Guatemala. pic.twitter.com/rDqFv7nMGy— El Faro English (@ElFaroEnglish) June 6, 2021
Guatemalans protest against the arrival of US Vice President Kamala Harris in the country, accusing Washington of supporting "corrupt" officials in the Central American nation pic.twitter.com/2jnWfYAIjR— TRT World Now (@TRTWorldNow) June 7, 2021
Un grupo de ciudadanos se planta frente a la Fuerza Aérea Guatemalteca y coloca mantas con mensajes dirigidos a la vicepresidenta de Estados Unidos , Kamala Harris. pic.twitter.com/Hpi7mMe7Cu— Edwin Pitán (@Epitan_PL) June 6, 2021