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Mexico, Honduras create 20,000 jobs and stem migration

Juan Orlando Hernandez and Manuel Lopez Obrador

Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez (left) and his Mexican counterpart Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador pose for the press after the presentation of the migration programme “Sembrando Vida: Plan de Desarrollo para la Migracion” in Minatitlan, Veracruz State, Mexico, on July 27, 2019. (Photo by VICTORIA RAZO / AFP)

MINATITLÁN, Mexico — A scheme to create 20,000 jobs in Honduras has been agreed between the country’s president and Mexico’s leader in an attempt to stem the flow of migrants toward the United States.

Mexico, which is a stepping stone to the US for many from Central America seeking to escape violence and poverty, has seen a wave of migrants sweep through in the past few months, causing tensions with Washington.

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Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador met his Honduran counterpart Juan Orlando Hernandez in the Mexican state of Veracruz on Saturday to sign an agreement to extend a development program to Honduras, which includes a tree-planting scheme already active in Mexico.

Called “Sowing Life,” the scheme pays farmers a small monthly stipend to plant trees and crops. Mexico signed a deal with El Salvador last month to introduce the same project to the Central American state.

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Hernandez said the scheme was the “correct path” to boost both country’s economies and called for the creation of a “great international coalition for generating huge numbers of jobs” in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.

Mexico will support Honduras “to create 20,000 jobs between now and December,” said Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard.

US President Donald Trump had threatened stiff new trade tariffs against the United States’ southern neighbor unless it acted decisively to stem the migrant wave. But tensions calmed after Mexico’s deployment of thousands of security forces to its borders last month.

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The large majority of Central Americans who cross Mexico for the US are from Honduras. Some say they are fleeing persecution by the Hernandez government, having participated in protests after his election.

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