© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris attends an infrastructure event addressing high speed internet in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building’s South Court Auditorium at the White House in Washington, U.S., June 3, 2021. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstei
By Nandita Bose GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) – The United States is expected on Monday to announce steps to tackle human trafficking and smuggling in Guatemala, a senior U.S. official said, as Vice President Kamala Harris visits the region to try to lower migration from Central America’s Northern Triangle countries. Harris’ trip to Guatemala and Mexico this week is likely to emphasize cooperation with non-government organizations, amid some criticism from local officials over the timing and thrust of her mission to curb migration to the United States from the region, advisers and experts said. The focus on civil society could be a sore point in Mexico, which sent a diplomatic note to Washington last month complaining about U.S. support for a group that President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador considers to be part of the political opposition.
Speaking as Harris flew to Guatemala, a senior U.S. official said that in addition to announcing the steps to combat human trafficking, the Biden administration hoped on Monday to unveil anti-corruption measures in the Central American nation. The vice president’s first overseas trip since taking office, which began on Sunday, will focus on economic development, climate and food insecurity and women’s issues, White House officials say.
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