US President Donald Trump tweeted the news earlier this week that Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador had been told economic aid would be withheld should citizens of their respective countries or others be allowed to pass through their territory in an attempt to make it to the US-Mexico border.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 17, 2018
In a follow-up tweet, POTUS stated that if any migrants illegally cross over, they "will be arrested and detained, prior to being sent back to their country." Trump's tweets were in response to recent reports that a migrant caravan was travelling from Honduras, transporting more than 1,600 people.
Gutierrez told Radio Sputnik's Loud & Clear on Wednesday that Trump's response to the issue was entirely misplaced, since offering more aid to Central American countries would actually prevent individuals from wanting to look for work in the US.
"As we have said time and time again, the Donald Trump administration is totally unfocused on why we have mass migration coming to the United States and to the developed economies of the world," he told hosts Brian Becker and John Kiriakou.
"[It] has everything to do with the economic situation in their countries of origin."
Though a percentage of those leaving from their home countries are doing so as a result of gang violence in Central America, Gutierrez noted that the Trump administration has repeatedly failed to react appropriately.
"They try to blackmail these weak and puppet government nations of Central America, specifically, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, with a cutoff of economic aid — the very thing that the United States should be thinking in terms of expanding to fuel economic development in those poor nations so that their populations wouldn't have to have a dire need to come to America," he stressed to Becker.
The Honduran Security Ministry announced on Tuesday that Bartolo Fuentes, an organizer of a migrant caravan, had been detained in neighbouring Guatemala because he failed to comply with that country's immigration rules.
Additionally, Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez issued a public address, urging citizens to not join the caravan efforts, according to Reuters. Hernandez also indicated that some Hondurans had returned home, but failed to offer an estimate on how many did so.
Gutierrez told Kiriakou that by heeding Trump's threats, the Central American nations had shown that "there is absolutely no sovereignty by these supposed independent nations."
"They're doing everything that the Donald Trump administration is telling them to do," he said.
According to The Hill, in the fiscal year 2017, the US gave some $175 million in aid to Honduras, $248 million to Guatemala and $115 million to El Salvador.