Mexico helps create 20,000 jobs in Honduras to curb migration

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CITY OF MEXICO (Reuters) – The Mexican government said on Saturday it will help Honduras create 20,000 jobs this year and support its coffee farmers as the two countries try to curb the migration to the United States that has created tensions with US President Donald Trump.

FILE PHOTOS: People belonging to a caravan of migrants from Honduras en route to the United States pass through an immigration checkpoint in Huehuetan, Mexico, on 15 April 2019. REUTERS / Jose Cabezas

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and his Honduran counterpart, Juan Orlando Hernandez, have pledged to work together to increase prosperity in Central America, where poverty and violence have fueled an exodus of people to the north.

That migration has angered Trump, who has made border security a priority, and launched economic threats against Mexico and Central America if more is not done to contain the flows.

Speaking after the Honduran and Mexican leaders met in the eastern state of Veracruz, Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said that Lopez Obrador gave instructions to help Honduras create 20,000 jobs between now and December.

He gave no further details, but later the two presidents offered more insights into their plans in speeches in the eastern city of Minatitlan.

Hernandez said he hoped that a "large international coalition for the creation of mass jobs" in Central America could be forged, while Lopez Obrador stressed that Mexico would support the region with funds and employment plans.

In particular, said Lopez Obrador, Mexico will assist Honduran coffee farmers, whose activities have suffered this year with a drop in international prices.

"We will help improve coffee production in everything that is needed," he said, "so you have no problem selling coffee."

Lopez Obrador did not provide further details, but also stated that the programs he supported in Mexico to create jobs through youth apprenticeship and tree planting would also arrive in Honduras.

This year was a surge in migrants' apprehensions on the southern US border with Mexico. Most people caught trying to enter the United States come illegally from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

On Friday, Trump said he had reached an agreement with Guatemala to curb migration, even if that plan was called into question on Saturday by the two politicians who challenge each other to become the next president of Guatemala in next month's elections.

Reporting by Noe Torres and Dave Graham; Editing by Richard Chang

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