Skip to comments.Bush to Be Tough on U.S. Aid During LatAm Trip
Posted on 03/20/2002 5:11:06 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush will go to a U.N. development conference in Mexico this week with a tough-love message that the United States will withhold aid to countries that do nothing to fight corruption.
"It makes no sense to give aid to countries that are corrupt because you know what happens? The money doesn't help the people, it helps an elite group of leaders," Bush said.
The president will take the message to the U.N. Conference on Financing for Development in Monterrey, Mexico, where he will arrive Thursday night. He also will meet Andean leaders in Peru and Central American leaders in El Salvador before returning to Washington Sunday.
During his talks with world leaders at the conference, Bush will promote his initiative to help poor nations that respect human rights, root out corruption, open their markets, and have education and health care systems.
"I'm going to be tough about it," Bush told a group of regional reporters Tuesday in a preview of his trip. "I'm not interested in funding corruption."
Bush separately had some tough talk about Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez. The image of the world's No. 4 oil exporter has taken a beating in recent months as opponents of the maverick left-wing president have stepped up protests against his three-year rule, raising fears that political confrontation may worsen and even turn to violence.
"We are concerned about Venezuela," Bush said, citing the long-term U.S. relationship with the country, particularly in the oil business.
"We are concerned any time there is unrest in our neighborhood. We are watching the situation carefully. This man was elected by the people. We respect democracy in our country, and we hope he respects the democratic institutions within his country," the president said.
Last week, when Bush announced an aid initiative for developing nations, one that Congress must approve, it was valued at $5 billion over three years.
The White House announced Tuesday it was actually worth $10 billion over three years and cited "internal confusion" over the numbers as the reason for the error. It is to be $1.67 billion in 2004, about $3.33 billion in 2005, and $5 billion in 2006 and each year thereafter.
"Countries that practice good habits will get money," Bush said.
During his trip, Bush will discuss immigration issues with Mexican President Vicente Fox. Bush and Fox had been discussing ways of improving immigration between the two countries until the issue was set aside after the Sept. 11 attacks.
"He was my friend prior to September 11, he was my friend after September 11, he'll be my friend for a long period of time," Bush said.
Tuesday, the U.S. president pressed the U.S. Senate to pass a bill allowing thousands of illegal immigrants to stay in the country while seeking legal residency -- an idea criticized as "sheer lunacy" by West Virginia Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd.
Bush admitted he was "not confident they'll move on it" -- given Democratic control of the Senate -- but said he would keep up the pressure.
The bill, already passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, would allow thousands of potential immigrants -- many of whom entered the country illegally or overstayed their visas -- to remain with their families in the United States while applying for green cards that would grant them legal residency.
In his talks with Fox, Bush said he would discuss a variety of options to "modernize the border," which many Mexicans slip across to find work in the United States. Since the Mexicans are a valuable labor source, politicians have been searching for a way to codify the practice while aware that many Americans resent what they see as an intrusion.
"We ought to figure out a program that will match a willing employer with a willing employee and make that part of a legal process," Bush said.
In his talks, Bush will also press his message that the United States wants to increase trade with Latin American nations, but the message is clouded by the fact that the Senate has not given him enhanced authority to negotiate free trade agreements, due to arguments over including labor and environmental standards in the pacts.
In Lima, Bush will meet Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo, and leaders of other Andean nations to discuss trade and efforts to combat illegal drug trafficking. Bush said he would be the first sitting U.S. president to visit Peru.
He has asked Congress to let the Colombian government use U.S. military equipment for the fight against the Marxist-inspired Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known by its Spanish initials FARC. The equipment is currently restricted for use only in the drug war.
However, the plan to merge the Customs Service and the Immigration and Naturalization Service, which includes the Border Patrol, is likely to face resistance from the affected bureaucracies, as well as skepticism from some lawmakers.
Some members of Congress said that the administration proposal does not go far enough to ensure that border control activities are better coordinated and able to ward off terrorist attacks.
They have advocated creating a stand-alone department of homeland security that would have authority over a wide range of duties, including agriculture inspectors and emergency preparedness.[End Excerpt]
Bush defends foreign aid plan, immigration bill on eve of Latin American trip-[Excerpt] The president said he feared that the Senate might not pass legislation extending amnesty for illegal immigrants. The measure, which Bush had hoped to carry to Latin America as evidence of America's compassion, passed the House and is held up in the Democratic-controlled Senate.
"I'm not confident they'll move on it. I am confident we've got the votes, but the problem is I haven't been confident they're going to move on many things these days," Bush said. "We've got a lot of bills out of the House but not much out of the Senate."
On foreign aid, Bush said the aid package may not get a warm reception in all circles, "but it's the right thing to do."
The initiative would provide about $1.7 billion the first year, about $3.3 billion in the second year and the full $5 billion in the third and subsequent years. The money, which comes as an addition to current U.S. aid levels, is tied to reforms and would be rewarded to nations largely as grants rather than loans.
Previewing his remarks at an economic summit in Mexico, Bush said the United States is obligated to help poor countries, but those nations have "a responsibility to rout out corruption. I think it makes no sense to give aid ... to countries that are corrupt, because you know what happens? The money doesn't help the people. It helps an elite group of leaders.
"And that's not fair to the people of a particular country, nor is it fair to the taxpayers of the United States," Bush said without naming any nations.
Reflecting U.S. unease about one southern neighbor, Bush said Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was not invited to attend trade talks in Peru because he does not support free trade.
"Why have somebody there who's not in favor of what we're all trying to do?" Bush said.
The administration is worried that Venezuela could become politically unstable. Chavez irked the administration when he questioned the war in Afghanistan and, separately, visited Iraq, Libya and Cuba. [End Excerpt]
Cuba's Castro Says Venezuelan Chavez Speaks for Him -[Excerpt] Hailing the Venezuelan leader's "spirit and enthusiasm", the veteran Cuban president said Chavez would address the U.N. conference in Mexico as president of the Group of 77, which represents more than 130 developing countries.
"No other voice could be better than yours to defend the interests of the (Group of) 77. ... You will have the possibility of putting forward the point of view of the progressive people of the world," Castro added.
Chavez, hosting a special 100th edition of his "Hello President" show lasting nearly seven hours, also received calls of congratulation from Guatemalan President Alfonso Portillo and the Dominican Republic's president, Hipolito Mejia.
The Cuban leader's public praise for Chavez was certain to infuriate political opponents of the Venezuelan leader and his self-proclaimed "Bolivarian Revolution". [End Excerpt]
S&P revises Venezuela ratings outlook to negative--[Excerpt] NEW YORK, March 18 (Reuters) - Standard & Poor's said on Monday it revised its credit outlook on Venezuela to negative, indicating that a ratings downgrade may be on the way if critical economic reforms are held hostage to the political tension gripping the country.
``The current situation has led to political polarization and a sense of frustration among the population at large, including the business and labor sectors, the Catholic church, and the military,'' S&P said in a statement.
``This, in conjunction with presidential statements about the possibility of nationalizing banks ... and the danger of exchange controls or a state of emergency, have created an environment that is not conducive to investment and growth.''
The ratings agency affirmed Venezuela's single-B long- and short-term foreign currency sovereign credit ratings. At single B, the ratings are five notches below investment grade.
A downgrade would increase the cost of borrowing for the world's No. 4 oil exporter at a time when President Hugo Chavez is facing stiff domestic opposition to his leftist agenda and authoritarian style. [End Excerpt]
-President Bush (#43)
If money spent on welfare in the U.S. produces lazy social democrats here, it can only have the same effect abroad. The surest way to get the least return and most disutility is to spend other people's money on other people. Public sector spending lacks any rational economic calculus and so is always unable to accomplish its stated ends.
Bush's economic ignorance rivals Al Gore's.
Well,,,,please tell me who gave Bush the authority to collect tax dollars from Americans and then give them to a foreign nation?
I thought Republicans were the party of less taxes?
Foreign aid is nothing but a tax on you and me...
This should read, "Countries that practice good habits will get money collected from the American taxpayer", Bush said
This should read, "Countries that practice good habits will get money collected from the American taxpayer", Bush said
Yes, I understand where the money comes from.
The Party of less taxes is blowing smoke at the GDP (generally dumb public) if on one hand they pass out rebate checks and with the other, open the borders and deliver foreign aid.
The sum total of the Bush tax cut will be minus dollars for American taxpayers.
The gop urinates on the collective leg of the true believers and they ask for an umbrella. But don't be to hard on them Jethro. As Pharmer postulated the other day, Bush must act like a liberal to get re-elected. What Pharmer did not predict is that if re-elected he will act the same.
As far as the risk of alienating the "conservative base" goes, I recall some gop leadership apparatchik being asked about the response of the "base" to the gop support of the semi-auto weapon ban. He responded "What are they going to do....vote for the democrats?" Wish I could remember that SOB's name.
This is simply A deciding how to spend B's money on C, the method guaranteed to generate the most fraud and waste. As such, foreign aid expenditures are completely uneconomic (and unconstitutional, but that's another story). My criticism of Bush is that he appears truly ignorant of this basic law of economics. So far, he's followed every one of his predecessors in adhering religiously to the Keynesian gospel.
Don't forget the 5%+ increase in SS/Medicare, increased federal spending, increased federal debt, and increased money supply.
This is so true, and it's beyond me how some on this forum continually choose the lesser of two evils.
These broken glass Republicns have ruined the Republican Party of Reagan and our country...