In a revealing statement by the new president of El Salvador, he took the blame for the deaths of migrants as well as migrants leaving his country who are trying to get into America:
NATIONAL POST – The new president of El Salvador said that his country was to blame for driving tens of thousands of its citizens to emigrate every year, including a father and daughter who became a focal point in the migration debate when they drowned while trying to cross into the United States last week.
“People don’t flee their homes because they want to,” President Nayib Bukele said Sunday at a news conference in San Salvador, the capital of El Salvador. “They flee their homes because they feel they have to.”
“They fled our country, they fled El Salvador,” he continued. “It is our fault.”
Bukele’s statements came in response to questions from reporters about the deaths of the father and daughter, and about what he intended to do to address the economic and security concerns that have pushed so many Salvadorans to leave the country and try to reach the United States.
His comments were remarkable in a region where political leaders have been loath to assume any responsibility for the social and political dynamics that drive migration and have generally paid lip service to the idea that conditions must improve at home to encourage people to stay.
It would be so easy to blame America or Trump for the death of two of his citizens. After all that is the trend these days. But instead, President Bukele gives an honest statement that reflects the reality of the situation and, I believe, that shows just what kind of leader he will be.
In his comments Sunday, Bukele, who took office a month ago, acknowledged the two main forces driving so many of his citizens to take their chances on a perilous migration north in search of a better life: insecurity and economic duress.
“They feel safer crossing a desert, three frontiers, and all of the things that may happen in the road to the United States because they feel that’s more secure than living here,” he said. “So we want to make our country safer.”
He also vowed to address the poverty and lack of employment opportunities that so many migrants cite as their reason for fleeing.
“We will make a country that is more prosperous and that can provide decent paying jobs for all of our people,” he said. “If people have an opportunity for a decent job, a decent education, a decent health care system and security, I know that forceful migration will be reduced to zero.”
I have an idea for a mantra: MESGA. Well, I guess it really doesn’t roll off the tongue…
But seriously, Bukele is the kind of leader who can inspire hope in his people, especially if he’s able to follow through in making El Salvador a more prosperous nation. And that could have a real impact on the migration crisis.