LA ESPERANZA, Honduras – In an old wooden house outside the city center, Suyapa Flores was surprised to hear the local branch of the Ministry of Education, which she runs, could have received extra funding because of a multinational initiative to decrease migration to the United States.
She asked an assistant to print the budgets of the last two years to check, but before she read the documents, she said she was confident they didn’t receive anything from the Honduran government. “We didn’t see any increase,” Flores said.
Juan Flores, head of the local Ministry of Health has also never heard of the Alliance for Prosperity in the Northern Triangle (A4P in federal parlance), the joint plan from the governments of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador to invest $5.4 billion to stop people from leaving. The plan also included a $2 billion investment of U.S. taxpayer dollars for the operation of federal agencies like USAID and the Department of Homeland Security within the three countries.
Flores runs his office out of a tiny blue hospital in the downtown area of La Esperanza. He was unaware of the increasing number of deported people in the area. Like Suyapa Flores, he was also sure that his budget hadn’t increased. To confirm, he asked three employees to verify and print the last two budgets: They hadn’t changed.
To interrupt the migration-to-deportation cycle, the Obama administration helped devise A4P in 2015. Money flowed through United States agencies and humanitarian aid contractors. Honduran public funding was supposed to reach the budgets of local agencies like Suyapa and Juan Flores, but it never did.
Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador committed to investing $5.4 billion, but rather than increasing budgets, only the names of government programs changed. The money never showed up in La Esperanza. The Trump administration cancelled A4P in 2019.