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tv   Foreign Policy in the Western Hemisphere  CSPAN  July 15, 2018 3:35am-6:12am EDT

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of congress want to adjust their salary they have to wait for the next election. p.m.ncer: tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span's "q&a." testifying before the house foreign affairs committee. this is about 2.5 hours. [gavel pound] >> we will call this meeting to order. today would look at foreign policy towards latin america and the caribbean. we are forced by deep cultural and economic ties. we export a lot of goods to the
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caribbean and that supports a lot of jobs. across latin america, our ties are just as strong. today we face transitions. the united states must be more engaged than ever. the safety of americans serving abroad is a top priority for this committee. the still unexplained attacks on embassy personnel in havana. now, it in china. very disturbing. 26 americans have been medically evacuated from havana with serious and ends, including sharp ear pain, headaches, vertigo, and other conditions consistent with brain injury and concussion. canadians have been impacted as well. we need to know what happened, who was responsible, and how to respond. the administration is actively addressing the western hemisphere's major crisis
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beginning with venezuela. the united states has repeatedly condemned the illegitimate election of president maduro as well as the human rights abuses and economic meltdown unfolding of. the administration has rightly sanctions. targeted sanctions, hitting venezuelan officials, not the suffering venezuelan people is the way to go. the vice president has traveled there for three times to urge regional leaders to do more for the venezuelan people. in nicaragua the administration has designated three top officials for human rights abuses and corruptions. we should do more to support the nicaraguan people. the regime has killed more than 200 advocates for pre-fair elections as this april. one of the civilians murdered on
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a village street was a former neighbor of the gorge county friend of mine. subcommittee chairman, paul cook will convene a hearing to examine this matter tomorrow. across the hemisphere transnational criminal organizations continue to pose a major threat. these violent gangs are feeling the drug and migration crisis that the united states struggles with today. as we fight the deadly impacts of opm in our communities, we must continue to work closely with our regional neighbors to increase counter no narcotics. the recent increasing cocaine production in colombia is unacceptable. i am hopeful the election is a sign that the country will redouble efforts to confront
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gangs in the cartels. this committee continues to support u.s. efforts to work with the countries of the northern triangles. el salvador, honduras, guatemala, to help shore up institutions, combat crime and corruption and create conditions that will keep people from migrating north. i agree with the administration that combating corruption must be a key part to create stability. the committee will support assistance to the region. finally, the recent election in mexico raises questions about the future of the us-mexico security relationship. i hope that president-elect of the campaign promise to root out corruption is a sign our two countries can cooperate on matters of security.
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one of those is the marita initiative and we will hear more from you on this. the u.s. and mexico share 2000-mile border. we must continue to work together to enhance security and trade that benefits both countries. nafta should be updated for the 21st century, not scrapped. let me go to high-ranking member of new york for his opening statement. >> thinking mr. chairman. thank you for calling the hearing. this region is important to me as a former western hemisphere subcommittee chair. we welcome and thank you both for your service. you are both doing great work. the white house's failure to fill key positions and attend timely manner means we cannot hear from those who are setting the course for foreign policy. in my view, the administration has put us on a dangerous course
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when it comes to the western hemisphere. the way the president talks about this region says it all. falsely insisting mexico will pay for a border or wall that we don't need. calling mexicans drug dealers and rapists, and characterizations of haiti and el salvador using the word, -- we have worked for two decades together to improve the us-mexico relationship, long characterized by mistrust, bilateral cooperation on counter narcotics was once unimaginable. it then became the norm of the government extraditing the most dangerous kingpin to the united states in the last hours of the obama administration. on july 1, they have a new president, i worry that it president trump continues along the same line, the president-elect may pull the
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plug on security cooperation. where would that leave us the next time were seeking in a tradition, or of terrorist thought to across the u.s. mexican border, too much is at stake in our relationship. we simply don't know if the president will continue to do this and do damage. looking south, mexico is just a start. for months, the families have been torn apart in central america children have been held ransom to a radical immigrant agenda. the president created this policy and said only congress could fix it which was not true. make clear that he signed an executive order. the damage was done, children to this day still remain a part from their parents. that has to change. the organization states that the adopted resolution on june 29 criticizing this policy. tarts remember a time when the
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oas counsel so forcefully condemned the united states. that's just a start. the administration is make it harder for the victims of abuse to come to the united states same domestic violence is not grounds for asylum. to look elsewhere for sanctuary, the united states just opposed to un resolution promoting breast-feeding comments on believable. i feared the worst is yet to come. temporary protected status will soon and for 262 el salvador he and's. and 58000 haitians. as mark schneider pointed out, in the washington post this week this move may result in 273,000 american-born children being separated from their parents. this is a deeply troubling pattern with the treatment of
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women and families and immigrants. is this what were becoming? i hope not, i will not accept it and will fight tooth and nail against these policies that part betrayer policies. after we face a real and urgent crisis in this region president maduro has turned venezuela into a full-fledged dictator sit and rejected humanitarian aid. state department sanctions are pushing forward. instead of working with regional partners we have rhetoric and threatening to invade venezuela. the result, maduro is empowered and alienated key allies at the same time. in nicaragua, the global act has allowed us to crackdown on thugs and i've talked to the president who is killing innocent people in the streets. yet, the administration has zero assistance in the 2019 budget. in guatemala, certain attacks on the un commission what we call
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they threaten the institution's ability to fight corruption and support the rule of law. we most recently was disturbed by the guatemalan's decision to put the personnel at risk for moving a large portion of their security detail. the president should immediately reverse this decision. i was critical of the white house but i was pleased the white house came out and strong support just this week. i congratulate on the recent election in columbia. this is essential for implementing the peace process. and go after kingpins will not harming small farmers or the environment. in argentina i was glad to join
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and look at the argentina caucus to focus on a relationship that has improved a great deal since they took office. finally, the caribbean. in 2016 we authored the u.s. caribbean strategic engagement act which president obama signed into law in his last few days in office. last june they released a strategy mandated its ambitious and impressive strategy. one year later it has not been implemented. with hurricane season underway, the strategies related to disaster preparedness are urgent. i implore witnesses to put some meat on the bones on an excellent strategy. i'd be remiss not to mention that haiti is on my mind this week. they have suffered far more than any country should. i stand with the haitian people during this difficult moment. i look forward to hearing from our witnesses and i yield back. >> this morning, we were pleased to be joined by the acting
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principal deputy assistant secretary of state for the western hemisphere affairs. and lynch, the senior deputy of usaid for latin american and the caribbean. we welcome them to the committee. the ambassador has been serving as the principled deputy of state for western hemisphere affairs since august 2015. he served as the u.s. ambassador for croatia in the u.s. the best or to haiti. sarah lynch currently serves as a senior deputy for latin america and the caribbean. at usaid. prior to that, she was the mission director in iraq. we appreciate them being here today. without objection they have prepared statements made part of the record. members have five calendar days
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to submit statements for the record. if you could, you can summarize your statement of five minutes and then we will go to questions. thank you. >> thank you very much thanks for the opportunity for the opportunity to come here we knows it democrat process enhances our economy. our policies are built upon the premise. the united states shares, values and has economic bonds with them. these long historical connections bind us to the nations of the western hemisphere more closely than any
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other region. our economic engagement cannot be overstated. the united states is a top trading partner for more than half the partners in the region. we trade half as much with that hemisphere that we do with china. we share fundamental values. latin america has largely transformed itself into a region of vibrant peaceful democracies. the united states recently reaffirmed their values at the eighth summit of the americas in lima, peru. at that summit leaders acknowledge they need to work together to address corruption, strengthen institutions and improve transparency. we rely on strong partnerships to fight transnational criminal organizations. we work hand-in-hand with our partners to disrupt illicit networks and trafficking routes. because mutual security are so connected we work to counter that activity that drives illegal immigration to the united states. the u.s. with their partners is
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renewing its commitment to looking at root causes. most of the region enjoys democratic rule. venezuela, cuba nicaragua undermined the shared vision for governance enshrined in the charter. the united states remains committed to standing with the people of cuba, nicaragua and venezuela to achieve the liberty they deserve. cuba the regime continues its hold on powers. president trumps june 2017 cuba policy emphasizes advancing human rights and democracy and aims to ensure benefits of u.s. engagement flow to the cuban people. in nicaragua, we condemned the violence and force used against demonstrators resulting in 215 deaths and hundreds more wounded
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since protest began. we urge the government to strengthen democratic processes and respect human rights and support the proposal for free and fair elections that would occur soon. venezuela the maduro regime has undermined democracy. we joined the nations of the world standing with the venezuelan people as they seek to return to a stable democracy they deserve. were addressing the humanitarian component by supporting venezuelan were suffering and forced to flee their homes. overall, the united states is providing $31 million in humanitarian assistance to venezuelans. we will help restore to my chrissy and we will continue to build the democratic, prosperous
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and secure western hemisphere that enhances our own national security. i look for to your questions. thank you for the opportunity to speak with you. >> thank you ambassador. >> thank you. members of the committee, thank you for the invitation to testify. i've had the pleasure of traveling with you while the administrator was that peru in april and thank you for your continued interest in our work in the region. it advances security and demonstrates american generosity
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and promotes a path to self-reliance and resilience. this is a region with considerable opportunities and challenges. works to increase the security of the hemisphere by addressing issues of poverty, insecurity and governments. our work in mexico and central america response to challenges that empower criminals and lead to migration. recent high levels of illegal migration come largely as a result of poverty, we governance including high levels of corruption and impunity. therefore, the programs focus on engaging young people before they turn to crime and violence, addressing the economic conditions that drive people to make the journey north. in mexico we partner with the government to strengthen national institutions, spread the rule of law and promote the protection of human rights. together with mexico were working with the northern triangle governments to address the challenges to security and prosperity that we face. two of our primary areas of focus are colombia and peru, these countries are making enormous economic and social strides. they have transnational criminal organizations that threaten.
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usaid is working in dangerous and hard-to-reach areas which are were cut off for decades. our efforts to reduce the power to build a culture of legality and enable economic growth are seen promising results. in peru, it helps to reduce the flow of drugs by providing farmers with alternatives to coca cultivation. i like to thank our ranking member for their continued interest in engagement and especially for authoring hr 4939 which helps leave the u.s. strategy. under the initiative were working to prove security and
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have the risk of joining gangs and other transnational organizations. were working to increase resilience so they're better able to withstand storms. this remains a focus for our work, where were addressing poverty, promoting good governance and advancing transparent and accountable government institutions. as this weekend has demonstrated the process continues to be fragile. unfortunately, haiti is not the only place where we have seen violence recently. were concern for the people of nicaragua who are suffering a brutal crackdown. usaid has given rapid assistance to civil society groups and human rights organizations involved in peaceful protests. we remain flexible to respond as needs emerge. we have an operating spacing cuba who seek to look at their basic freedoms of speech and
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religion. one of our most pressing priorities is the outflow of venezuelans were fleeing their country in record numbers in search of food, medicine and healthcare. the healthiest families fled to neighboring countries. we partnered to provide humanitarian and development assistance to meet the urgent needs. while it will help with immediate needs, it can't address the root causes of instability. only lasting political reforms will provide sustainable solutions. to help the people maintain their voice, usaid looks at electoral oversight of the elected national assembly. in this discussion, i cannot overlook the rise of competing for an engagement. we recognize that some countries have different development models. we believe we offer a clear choice. where others looks at for the
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dependence, we promote the country's own journey consistent with universal values and interest, bolstering self reliance. to accomplish the goals we coordinate leverage the work, donors and private sector, stay safe another. we are committed to oversight insurer programs are smart, we use a range a tool such as monitoring surveys, evaluations and assessments to understand the effects of our program and help us capture changes at the community level. we know are our responsibility to the taxpayer and we take our obligations to grizzly. mr. chairman, thank you for the opportunity to give an overview. i welcome your question thank you. >> if i could begin with this
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question, we have 26 diplomats and their family members who have suffered symptoms similar to brain injury or concussion. that was following sonic attacks in cuba. another three officials in china who have suffered similar symptoms. in response to the attacks they ordered nonessential personnel to return. 60% of the diplomats in cuba have been withdrawn. other than the canadian mission in havana where the canadians report ten of their diplomats were targeted, have any other embassies been affected to your knowledge? >> not to my knowledge. this is something which is very worrisome to us.
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were not aware of other embassies at this point. >> what is the health condition of the u.s. diplomats and the family members affected by these unexplained attacks? >> you covered it well in your opening remarks. the health effects differ from person to person, some are more serious in some individuals. some there less serious. the bottom line is, the impact of the attacks on folks is serious. that is why they were withdrawn and we've gone down to a skeleton crew. >> how close is the administration to understanding and identifying the source and cause of these attacks? >> we have taken this seriously. both in the cuba context and in the china context which is frankly still very much evolving. the bottom line answer is that we don't know who is responsible. we don't know what is
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responsible for it. we have various investigations ongoing. the fbi is involved. the cdc is involved, we have outside and employees being looked at by outside medical care. but, we are still unsure exactly what it is these people have been afflicted with. >> we go to a question about the crisis in venezuela which is worsening, while president maduro further submitted his power with sham elections, we've seen the situation and the widespread food and medicine shortages that continue to displace venezuela and create original crisis refugee crisis and humanitarian crisis. meanwhile, despite sitting on the world's largest oil reserves, the oil production has fallen by half in the last few
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years. venezuela has been sending several hundred thousand barrels of oil every day to china. as a repayment of the tens of billions of dollars it has borrowed. more recently, child's development announced a new quarter million dollar investment to shore up the struggling oil production. is the administration concerned about the stranglehold on venezuela? is china using them as a foothold to gain influence? >> thank you for the question. it is not clear that china is using them as a foothold. our indication is that the venezuelan economy continues to
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crater, excuse my using that term, the oil production goes down, the national oral company has been plagued by mismanagement, by political hacks replacing people who knew what they were doing, the company continues to deteriorate. thus, robbing the venezuelan people and government of what should be a very valuable source of income for them. we are watching carefully what china does throughout the hemisphere. we monitor that very carefully. were concerned about the role they play. we believe were a better partner for all of our friends in the hemisphere. we share values, we share goals, it is not clear to us, that the chinese government or entities operating overseas share the
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same goals. >> in terms of the greatest health concerns that are caused by the crisis in venezuela and by the refugee crisis, and what is being done for example to ensure vaccinations and other medicines are made available. there is widespread shortage throughout venezuela right now on vaccinations. >> thank you for the question. we are deeply disturbed by the images and news reports coming out of venezuela. as such we have been able to identify several millions of dollars of assistance that is going to the 2 million venezuelans that have fled the country in search of basic needs like food, medicine and healthcare. columbia is taking the brunt of the movements of people. i was on the border not too long ago and i witness firsthand the
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venezuelans crossing the bridge. it is very disturbing. the bulk of our assistance to the colombians is in those areas. food, medicine and healthcare. but also to help them manage the crossing. were also assisting brazil in the region, in addition, we were able to get an assessment team into venezuela in order to get the context on the grounding do a full assessment. this was a team that spent nearly two weeks there. they went throughout the countries and visited schools, clinics, talk to ngos, the private sector, church, they talk to as well as civil society organizations that could provide humanitarian assistance of scale. one issue we found is they lack capacity.
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what usaid is doing is training these organizations to be able to provide humanitarian assistance at scale and to deal with the logistics into identified the at risk people. with that, we will be able to address the concerns you mentioned. >> thank you, thank you mr. chairman, nothing can quite make people understand the horrors that are occurring in our own country as a consequence of the family separation policy and hearing the stories of central american children. i like to briefly talk about josé and olivia and their sons who came to the u.s. from el salvador seeking refuge from gang violence. a close friend was killed by the same by when he was unable to pay them. fearing for their lives and the lives of their children, they joined a caravan of
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asylum-seekers and travel for a month to reach the border. on arrival they presented their papers in the children's birth certificates proving their relationship so that they did not think josé was a smuggler. regardless, family was separated and sent the 1-year-old to a facility 1500 miles away. olivia and andrea waited for the news of their child status for migrant children in mexico. when olivia called the facility she was told she was doing fine with no further information on his well-being. certainly they would not allow her to speak with her son. she was reunited after 85 days. after reuniting with her tether she said he continued to cry when we got home it would hold onto my leg and not let me go. when i took office close whose full of dirt in mice.
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seems they had not bathed him when he was away from us. obviously this is child abuse. i recently introduced a central american family protection and unification act with representatives who are both members of this committee. this would require the state department to play a much more active role in supporting central american governments and parents on family reunification. let me ask you, can you tell us what our embassies in these countries are doing to support family reunification, if anything? >> thank you for the question. what we are doing in central america, we have a central american strategy which seeks to get at the root causes of
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migration and hopefully give people less of a reason to want to leave their country in the first place. our efforts have been focused on implement in that strategy particularly in the northern triangle. we are looking at using tools to eliminate corruption that allow a climate of impunity for those who seek to these people. we are supporting law enforcement activities to partners in the region. were working to help improve the judicial system so criminals can be put away in a clear and transparent way. we are working to help these countries grow their economies and we believe addressing these issues will outdate the need f for, that drive people to want to leave their countries and force them into situations like you just described. >> specifically our embassies
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are they helping to reunite families? they playing any role in that reunification? >> at the risk of misleading you, i would rather take the question back and get back to. i do not want to give you an answer that is incorrect. >> thank you. that's what our legislation does which makes sense to me. anything that we can do to help expedite this would help with that. >> our legislation also requires the state department strategy to look at gender-based violence of the northern triangle. can you please describe the impact of gender-based and specifically those on guatemala and honduras? >> all of our activities in the northern triangle are based on focusing on the root causes of
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illegal migration. certainly we work on the security front. this would fall onto that security front and governance. whereby we look at the gender-based violence and the rates that you see in the northern triangle are horrific. we incorporate women and other marginalized communities that suffer as well as higher rates than others. incorporate them into all of our programming. that means on the governance front making sure there is legislation that addresses this issues, on the citizen front looking at citizen awareness and capacity of certain issues. in addition, prosperity, economic opportunity is what gives these women power and control over their lives.
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specifically with our programming involved to increase jobs and economic growth we involve women to the fullest extent. >> given the pervasiveness of domestic violence in the northern triangle in the low rates of prosecution, it's for fine that attorney general sessions as he will no longer allow these crimes to be grounds for asylum. i think that's bad. finally, let me piggyback on the chairman he's talked a lot about cuba and embassy officials being targeted. one of the things that i have called for is to have the cdc to involve. why has the administration. why is not the cdc yet been
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deployed to cuba? certainly it seems to me that we should ever going to get to the bottom of it. i don't understand why it has happened. to have insight into that? >> one of the things that we have done in the past is that secretary pompeo has asked deputy sullivan share a task force to look at these incidents both in china and the attacks in cuba. this task forces chair by the deputy secretary, we participate in that once a week we have a meeting of the task force with the interagency and in that the cdc is present in an active member of that community that participates in that task force.
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i do not know if they plans to travel you but i think their involvement is relatively recent. i think there's a possibility that they could become more involved, it would not be appropriate to explain what their plans are but they are participating now that task force. we remain very concerned aware looking for any tools to look and get to the bottom of it. >> will be meeting with the deputy secretary this afternoon at 4:00 o'clock. we will rate raise that issue with him as well at that time. i'll go down to elian. >> thank you so much. thank you for once again holding a hearing on a very timely and important topic. since widespread protests began
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on april 18 in nicaragua we have seen over 300 people killed under the -- they continue to rule with impunity, ignoring the pleas of the venezuelan people for new leadership. in my native homeland of cuba they continue to call the shots is hard head of the communist party while hiding behind the transition of power. nothing has changed for the people of cuba. activists are being held for days at a time. people are being beaten and arrested and the regime continues to roll with an iron fist. more worrisome is that cooperation between the rogue regimes has increased, just last week there was reports indicating that maduro had sent a shipment of weapons to her take a to help further suppress
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the nicaraguan people. instead of using the country's resources to alleviate, suffering heat cause for field policies he sends weapons to his cronies making him complicit in the death of so many. but this u.s. administration has shown a willingness to lead and hold abusers accountable in stark contrast to previous administration. i think you for explaining all that has happened. we've seen a reversal of the cuba policy. more active use of sanctions particularly the global sanctions in nicaragua and targeted sanctions against the regime in venezuela. on two occasions i have letters urging those talking about the human rights abuses being against the people of nicaragua.
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the administration has included most of these, but i intend on sending another letter with more names. the administration has begun to provide assistance to venezuelans they will make freedom and democracy a priority. more must be done. leslie and she had to explain about what the administration in u.s. id has been doing to support the refugees who are in colombian brazil. i wanted to ask about ecuador and what help is being given to the venezuelans there. vice president pence was just there. what more can be done. i worry about china's growing presence and influence in the entire region using its resources to bully nations to further isolate our strong ally, taiwan. what is the strategy to counter
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chinese aggression, to help taiwan strengthen its relationship with its partners in the region? >> thank you. some small stale assistance was requested from the interagency and that is being provided. we stand ready to assist other nations if they're interested, we know there is a horrific regional problem that may impact other nations in the region. regarding from our perspective on the development side on china for example, from a ids vantage point, we believe our work in building strong institutions in the region and promoting strong economic investments particularly from the u.s. are good antidotes from the influence of nations that have a different development model that we do.
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some of these, the development model is one of dependence rather than partnership. ours is a partnership where we look to work with partners were self-reliant. >> thank you. >> to talk briefly about the influence of china in the hemisphere, it is something that we are concerned about and watching very carefully. we regularly talk to our partners in the region, i have done so myself to explain what it really means to sign up to some of these of erc in terms of loans and other things. these are things we have seen in the recent past but don't necessarily help these countries
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out in the long term. they may be quick political fixes, but we are trying to explain it very clear terms that it makes more sense for long-term development of all of our partners in the region to focus on rules -based and normal economic development. our assistance programs in the region seek to support rule of long government and to make these countries better places to live and do business. and thus ultimately reduce migration. it is an issue that we continue to work diligently on. we are paying close attention. >> thank you mr. chairman. >> now we go to brad of california. >> mr. chairman, we have a knowledgeable witness here. as i understand it he is the acting principal deputy assistant secretary.
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we used to have under secretaries and assistant secretaries come here. they may not have been more knowledgeable but their higher ranking. the administration took over a year and a republican senate has not acted to confirm. the administration is looking at the state department and i think we should be compelling the testimony of those at the national security advisor's office and counsel if you're going to hollow out the state department and oversee form policy, we have to have those witnesses. i had a chance to visit the kids who are separated by the united states at the border. i want to commend the state department for its 2018
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trafficking in persons report. it identified and condemned foreign governments for separating children from their families. i relayed the story of one particular family, josé and his son brian arrived in california from honduras, brian's mother had been raped and brutally murdered, she was seven months pregnant at the time. josé and brian thought they make face a similar outcome. josé was jailed for 20 days and asked to sign papers he cannot understand because they were in english. he was deported back to honduras, this after him and his son have been separated. there are news reports that say this process at least began seems now they're walking it back as an effort to deter immigration from central
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america. has there been any effort at the state department to try to tell people in central america, don't come to the united states, we will treat you harshly. >> thank you for the question. >> what we do tell people is to not make a journey that is dangerous or illegal. we always encourage legal and orderly migration of people, legal and orderly travel of people,. >> i want to move on to another issue, ecuador. julian was in the embassy in london, he is wanted by law enforcement authorities in britain and sweden, one thing we know is that he did collude with russia to use cyber files stolen
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from the democratic national committee to affect the u.s. election. in 1972 and files were stolen from the democratic national committee, members of congress from both parties condemned the action. we have not put pressure in a corner to turn him out and i understood that to be that we had respect for ecuador sovereignty. then i find out in the new york times, that we threatened ecuador with punishing trade measures and withdrawal of critical military aid if they would not withdraw their support for a world health organization or resolution encouraging breast-feeding. can you on the record indicate
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that you know that these reports were false in the new york times and we did not threaten ecuador on this issue? >> my understanding from my colleague in the state department that work on this issue on a regular basis is that we did not threaten anybody, that the u.s. supports breast-feeding. >> but we don't support efforts at breast-feeding beyond what the companies that make billions of dollars on the forma formula industry want us to do. we support only mild resolutions and we force the world health organization to back down and adopt a milder resolution. but, you're certain now that ecuador could introduce a stronger resolution and there be no definition of trade? can ecuador count on you for that? >> what is our policy? is it to threaten them or allow them to go for?
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>> my understanding is there's no threatening. >> so they are free to go for? you guarantee that? >> i am not going to guarantee that. >> they are not going to be threatened but this is a policy that said we don't actually own. >> so the times reports are false? >> as i understand from the folks that work on this in our bureau, that nobody was threaten, we have not threaten to pull trade sanctions or anything else. >> a lot of infants are going to get worse nutrition as a result of the successful efforts by the united states at the world health organization to water down this resolution. i yield back. >> chris smith of new jersey. >> thank you for your testimony. on april 27, i chaired a hearing
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on allegations of collusion between -- and the russian government and the persecution, mistreatment of a russian family, who fled russia after putin's cronies threatened their lives, took weather business. the young daughter was raped, anastasia who still dealing with the aftermath of that. the main witness whose tenacity, courage and credibility led to at least and accountability of what happened. it is because of that that we have the act it is because of it that we have the global act. when he speaks everybody should listen carefully. i share his concerns. to my colleagues, in 2013 the
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russians fled, they fled and finally got to guatemala, under an assumed name. they use documents that were not true, but for having documents that were not true and their true refugees, the protocol says you don't prosecute when someone is fleeing tierney. igor got 19 years in prison, arena got 14 years, and anastasia 14. igor spent three years in detention, in a very unseemly pattern that they are part of. my question to our distinguished colleagues, is one, have you investigated and has there ever been, is there now and it collusion between dtv -- sphere bank and any other person associated with the russian government?
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on any matter relating to the prosecution of the cause. second, can you tell us what kind of information do you have? is there any accountability? why are you looking into this? he said we have no authority to do so. i am asking today and i will do it by way of letter that the inspector general investigate the potential of collusion. my hope is an answer to my question you will say that you have thoroughly investigated this and neither founded or didn't or to some degree there is some code conclusion. i do have some further questions. >> thank you. this is an issue we follow closely.
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our embassy in department have looked into the allegations of collusion and thus far have found no evidence that has occurred. >> could you give us a detail of what that investigation included? was it done just asking questions or did you really begin to document and look into this? i call your attention to this and will give you a copy, it was put together by -- it just reeks of collusion. i would like to know exactly what the investigation into. >> i look forward to receiving that document. if you allow us to get back to you i think that would be a more effective way of answering your question. >> is there any mechanism for holding the to account? there's a hold on their money which finally has their attention. two days before the hearing the constitutional court found in their favor your.
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people don't get that many years for murder in guatemala. they then appealed that ruling and now there's going to be another prosecution of -- which is absurd. if i was doing that with my family and saying to you, wouldn't you use every means possible to get out of a country that is going after you, hurting your daughter, putting you into prison and maybe killing you? we learn that for many others, we called her hearing the long arm of the russians, what kind is there any kind of connection between this and the russians? >> thus far in our investigations, we found no collusion. >> and no corporation. >> the information i had been given, we have not seen it. >> maybe the ig can figure that out. let me ask about the guatemalans.
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there is a tool national, three years in pretrial detention. i've been in congress 38 years and i've been in places where they use prosecutions in way of getting political retribution. what is your view about these pretrial detentions that go on for years with the full complicity? >> pretrial detention is a problem in another number of countries. it is something we work a in our rule of law programs to get countries to establish mechanisms to reduce or eliminate pretrial. i think our work in that area is ongoing. it is not a situation we like, we are working to help address that. >> my time is running out,
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anastasia grady and i invite members to read this, the family remains in jeopardy, thanks to a u.s. funded group she points out immediately after the high court they launched a full-scale press on capitol hill to cover up the many transgressions, how do you respond to that? >> i am not aware of any such, we can get you more details of what we know. >> so there's no cover? >> i'm not aware of a cover-up. >> thank you. we share the concerns of mr. smith. this committee will continue to work with the senate, the state department, the u.s. un on reforms that will preserve the essential functions while responded to legitimate criticisms. we go now to new jersey.
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>> thank you very much for holding this fall committee hearing on the western hemisphere. i think our panel that it's here today. thank you very much. i have this issue over the last few years that i have been on the western hemisphere committee that we do not focus enough on the western hemispheric caribbean. i think that while we sleep there are people out there prodding. basically amount their talk about china, russia, iran, who now has over a hundred schools throughout the area. and the signs are there. even in venezuela, you have 30,000 cubans basically run in the show and in cuba they started with the national assembly which basically destroyed also source of democracy. and then in venezuela you have
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the assembly which is basically the same that destroys any and then he go to nicaragua, some $80 million they're asking the people of nicaragua to dispose of security. the signs are there. and i don't know if what we do is basically insult these. we talk about democracy and investment, when we go from here? we have an president mexico, i don't know how we deal with that after all the insults that we have made on the mexican people. before we know these people will be in the backyard. all these countries that are plotting as we sleep.
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i see all of this going down in the future. . . we have been working the oas. i think we've seen a pretty significant amount of support in oas to voice their opposition to undemocratic steps that have been taken in countries like you mentioned. i think we continue to do work to promote civil society and engage with civil society and to enable opposition parties
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to have a voice. we have supported those people in nicaragua calling for early elections. with the knowledge that. i think we are still working very diligently on this. these are countries that several members have already noted that are not necessarily going to be, they're not squeamish about using repression about a way to stay in power. >> we look at nicaragua. we have a bill, basically it doesn't allow them to take laws from international finance institutions. why should we allow them to have laws for financial institution when they go and spend $80 billion on russian tanks to oppress their people. and yet some people here don't le like to support something like that but i think we have to bring some sort of pressure on these governments to
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realize you just can't run over people and expect us, the united states do not do anything. especially when it's our western hemisphere and our caribbean. we really have to focus more on those areas. >> as you know, we have applied individual sanctions are members of the regime in venezuela we have applied the active three people in nicaragua, as i understand that we have revoked 21 visas from government officials or officials who are responsible for these types of things. i think there's a possibility we could get more those tools as well. thank you chairman. >> mr. dana were becker of california. >> thank you very much mr. sherman. let me just note from some of the comments we've had so far
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that this condemnation of our president for the policies that we now have in terms of people who are coming to our country illegally and separation of families, let us note that policy was in place and put in place during the obama administration. i consider that thing going out of president today is very political. i didn't hear any of the complaints coming from that side of the aisle during the obama administration when the policies were exactly the same. with that said, i have somewhat of a disagreement over the idea of using the word migration. maybe we could tell me what is the population of latin america. >> i don't know off the top of my head what the population of latin america is. >> okay.
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>> i think these are fundamental that people need to know when they're talking about migration. were talking about, were not talking about 10 million people, were not about 50 million peopl people, were talking about hundreds of millions of people, are we not? >> and when you have a society like we see in latin america and elsewhere in the world, i might add, but now we are focused on latin america where you have millions and millions of people living in countries that are somewhat chaotic, or, and, very clearly repressive, let me identify myself with the remarks of iliana and her concerns about nicaragua and venezuela, but those same type of repression can be found in other countries paid latin america as well. we do not have a policy or do you believe we should have a policy in labeling those
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people migrants who are thus giving them some other definition rather than illegal entries or illegal immigrants into our country, do you think that should be open to hundreds of millions of people when they end up suffering under their own government. >> sir, our policy with central america is to address the root cause that drive -- >> i understand that. that's my question. that's a good point. i voted for nafta for that reason because i felt my making sure mexico had a very good economy would take the pressure off of people coming here illegally. let me ask you this. how many people are immigrant, are permitted to legally immigrate from those countries into the united states every year?
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>> sir, i don't have those figures but that the dhs, department of homeland security function. >> so already we have, however you can correct me if i'm wrong, i am assuming we are talking about millions of people over a ten year period coming from the area legally into our country. we permit more legal immigration than all the rest of the countries of the world combined. what i'm worried about after hearing your testimony and the use of the word migration that the united states have has to accept millions more people over and above the million that we allow in legally.
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this is not an area of expertise for me. this is the department of homeland security issue. there are rules established for this, there's rules for people that. >> let me just say i disagree with you totally. members of our state department should be concerned about massive flows of people coming into our country illegally and i think the use of the word migrant in some way adds something for us for not considering the word migrant has two people who come here legally what we have a very robust legal immigration system. it's the best in the whole world. no one comes close to us and our supposed to feel guilty about not permitting another,
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a more massive flow that would basically change the nature of our society as a have, let me just note these folks in the nicaragua, when they were removed from power, there was a relatively free system established in those countries and when they left and came back into power, all of a sudden people began being murdered and that something i'm very proud that the reagan administration did take the moves to make sure that he and his communist dictatorship was removed and replaced by democracy. with that said, thank you very much for your service but i do not believe the criticism that the president is hollowing out the state department is
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ridiculous for the fact is that if he's howling out we would be complaining that he's putting his own people in. well, when you have people with expertise like yourselves who are still in position that the president hasn't replaced yet, that's not something people with an open mind should complain about. thank you very much. >> let's go to karen from california. >> thank you mr. chair. thank you for holding this hearing. i wanted to talk about the situation in central america and specifically on el salvador. i was listening to your responses about what we are doing to address the root causes and it seemed as though your focus was a little bit on law enforcement. we have spent a lot of time trying to address violence and crime related issues with a strictly law-enforcement strategy in the united states
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and it hasn't fared very well so i wanted to know what you have done beyond law-enforcement. i focus on el salvador because there's a lot of discussion about ms 13 which is a gang that started in my city, los angeles, and we exported this problem to el salvador. but i want to know what responsibility we are taking for our country for the problem in el salvador. >> thank you for the question but i think an element should be filtered by my colleague from usaid. our central america strategy, yes it has a component of law-enforcement to it, but it is also designed to address the root causes of why people are leaving these countries. why people, why they seek to leave. this involves working with governments to improve the business climate, the investment climate to create
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economic opportunity. my colleagues at other economic sections and our embassies are working to help these countries attract investments, attract and grow their economies so people have less reason to have to move. >> it's a catch-22 because it's hard to do that with the gang violence. i want to know, since we exported the problems to el salvador, i was wondering if we also exported some of our best practices. we actually do have best practices in the united states of how to address gang violence. there's a lot of examples of gang violence being reduced in the number of communities. unfortunately we have not really taken a sustained investment in communities which is why we still have a problem. my question is, are we exporting also some of our best practices on how to reduce gang violence? >> one of my colleagues from the bureau of narcotics will be better to answer that. we can take that back and get
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you an answer as to what specifically we are doing. >> that's great but i would appreciate that. let me move on to another subject because like all of my colleagues, and i'm sure all of us in congress are deeply concerned about these children , and i'm concerned that many of these children will never be reunited with her parents again. there's a number of examples of parents who are deported and then not being able to find their children since we did this in such a haphazard way. my colleague over there mr. roy bowker, when the obama administration had the problem of unaccompanied minors which is different than taking children away at the border, there was a big outcry about that and what was happening with those children, but my question is, i have heard of numerous examples of when the parents are deported, number one if they're fortunate enough to find their children than what we are saying is now you have to pay $1500 to transport your child in the
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guardian to get your children back and so, i want to know if it's in the budget of usaid, the state department, somewhere it seems as though if we take the children away than our government should be responsible for reuniting those families. i'm introducing legislation that makes our government responsible. i'm also very concerned that the children that are put in foster care, foster care is time-limited. so if you languish in foster care for more than 18 months, parental rights can be terminated which is why i'm worried some of these children may never find their parents again. i want to know if it's in the budget of usaid, if you are considering setting money aside to help the facilitate the reuniting of these children that we took away? >> thank you. all of our funding is dedicated to working in the countries of northern triangle on this issue.
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>> right so the question is, are we setting aside money so we don't charge the parents? we took the children away and i were charging them to get their own children back. you also mentioned, mr. ambassador, about a campaign to let people know not come over here because we take their children. i'm wondering if that's a massive pr campaign on radio and tv, social media or are we just doing it one by one. >> i think what i said, certainly what i meant to say is that our, our public diplomacy in all countries is to encourage people to travel to the united states, whether that is a tourist, student or as a legal migrant to come and travel, to use legal methods to do so. >> are we telling them were going to take their children. >> i don't believe were telling them that. were telling them they need to avail themselves of legal routes of travel and legal
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routes should they qualify as immigrants that they should permi pursue legal ways to do that. >> this will go down in our history as a real moment of shame. thank you. >> we go to joe wilson of south carolina. >> thank you, mr. chairman. as i began i want to thank the statements and thoughtful observations which will really reflect the bipartisanship usually, not always as we just saw of this committee. thank you very much for your service. sadly american diplomats and 2016 were subject to unexplained sonic attacks in cuba. the cuban dictatorship continues to deny knowledge or involvement in the attacks, but it's a totalitarian regime with heavy static surveillance spread what is the status of the the investigation? have we been able to determine the cause, when can congress
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expect a report on the cause of these attacks customer. >> thanks for the question. as i mentioned this is something we find very troublesome at the state department. the deputy secretary chairs the task force which is made up of various elements of the state department, but also has an interagency component as well. we have ongoing fbi investigations, fbi has traveled on a number of occasions to cuba to investigate the sites were this is happened. our diplomatic security agents in the state department are investigating, we have other elements were participating now in this task force like cdc and others who are really examining all the data that we have thus far been able to bring together. as of today we still do not know what the cause of this is
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north who is responsible. >> and i would say, with the technology we have today, this should be determined. i hope you will make every effort to proceed. we have hosted students from columbia to libertas. two of my sons were in the exchange program to a high school in coley. what an extra in our country it is but i know we are assisting columbia and achieving lasting peace while combating narcotics trafficking. the election of the new leader gives the u.s. a reliable partner in combating cocaine production and the modified approach to the peace process. what do you see usaid, the state department doing to promote peace and security for the people of columbia?
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>> from usaid program its focus very much on peace. in fact, we worked predominantly in helping the colombian and supporting their efforts to extend state presence in some of the areas that have not seen the government and sometimes decades. we are actually working in over 50 of the hardest hit columbi columbia -- communities in columbia to provide basic services to people and improve the environment to improve the rural economy. specifically when we work jointly with the state department i and now on eradication and alternative development, it works extremely well. where it's eradicated and we commend with opportunities and enabling environment to have solid economic opportunities, jobs for people in the
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economy. >> thank you. what an extraordinary nation and 40 million people in columbia. sadly, another country that was dynamic and democratic was venezuela. we now see the consequence of what margaret thatcher said and that is the socialism work until you run out of spending other people's money. now they've converted one of the wealthiest countries, one of the most dynamic in south america into a destitute of poverty-stricken authoritarian regime. i'm really grateful for the sanctions by the president. what more can be done to try to help the people of venezuela? >> as we talked earlier, we are mounting, providing humanitarian assistance to those people have been driven out of venezuela. we have regular outreach at the embassy with the opposition parties,
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encouraging them to get unified and form a unified opposition with the maduro government. we have applied targeted sanctions to government officials and to venezuela and we are working with our partners in the region. we have pretty much unprecedented support of other countries in the region and what they see is a rich and democratic country descending into object property and dictatorship. >> thank you again. working on behalf of the people of venezuela, mutual benefit to the hemisphere. thank you. >> mr. bill of massachusetts. >> thank you, mr. chairman. the president has made it very clear and the administration hasn't made it clear that the threat of ms 13 and the gang violence that's present in countries like of salvador, it's been echoed in homeland security which i'm also a member where the ministration officials have clearly said
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how dangerous and violent it is in the danger that it represents. i'm going to just address a couple of the administrations response to this. it simply doesn't make sense. for instance, when it comes to parents and their children fleeing this traffic violence in el salvador, the president's response was to separate the children from their parents, traumatizing them, deporting them back to the crisis they fled from. one of these people, jessica had two sons taken from her when she crossed in texas in march. they were separated for three months. jessica fled the violence of el salvador. she and her sons received death threats from ms 13 and she herself was beaten in front of her children by gang members. yet, that's one response to separate the children. the other one that just does not have any consistency is to
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move forward on ending the tt s program. those countries have hundreds of thousands of people here legally and are being sent back because it's safer now? there's a definite contradiction with sending these people, many of them have been here for th years legally to escape violence, sending them back because now it's safer, yet at the same time the administration is saying what an enormous threat it's becoming. how can you reconcile these contradictions. it simply doesn't make sense. they contradict the each other by their own definition. >> think of the question. as i mentioned earlier, what our goal at the state department is in our view is that we need to help these countries address the root cause of these problems. in that analysis, root cause are corruption, impunity, lack
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of economic opportunity for people, lack of effective judicial systems, lack of effective law enforcement. our central america strategy for which congress is generous enough to give us $2.6 billion from 2015 to 2018 is working in all these areas. >> i apologize for interrupting. where are you going? >> to the root cause. >> that's great, but there are present dangers. we could deal with the root causes of ms 13, but they're not talking about the root causes of ms 13, their tongue about the present danger. the same kind of timeline should be used when you're looking at the present danger of these people. so, i know what you're saying in terms of root cause, but you're avoiding the contradiction that's quite clear that one, these instances contradict the fact that the violence is there
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that they're escaping from. you can't have it both ways but i want you to address not just the root cause number but the present danger in that contradiction. >> again, we work with the tools that we have both in usaid and the state department and these are the tools we have, to address these issues. if you're talking about other issues such as tps, that is a decision that taken by the department of homeland security, they have made that determination. i just think there should be better coordination. i sort of echo the german from california. those are issue for homeland security. sure. there also issues for foreign affairs and issues for state. just quickly i like to echo the concerns in terms of the violence in nicaragua as well. people like josé alberto who has had his life threatened, he's been targeted because of his work through the jesuits and through education, i will make sure people like that that have been targeted, that
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that be known to everyone. without it like to yield 40 seconds to my colleague from california missed torres. >> thank you. >> we go to mr. ted. >> yielded 40 seconds to me. >> that's right. sunday was going to give you extra time. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i have to be on the floor at 12 noon to present on a rural. i want to thank the department specifically the white house on continuing to support guatemala. while i agree we should demand fair treatment for all refugees in guatemala and here in the u.s., i hope that we don't lose sight of the significant progress have made , not just carrying out investigations but also helping to bring about important reform and strengthening. that progress is real.
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i had nine questions, they were yes or no questions for you regarding how the state department, which i have accused in the past of head in the sand with the certification process in honduras and now in guatemala, because of the lack of time i have i will submit them for the record has a well as a longer statement on the program. i hope you will respond to me. the certification of guatemala after the ongoing problems with the congress trying to impugn them see themselves for their criminal behavior is something that we should be more careful for and at the end of the day we have to be accountable in congress and we have have a transparent process on how tax dollars are being spent.
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>> with the gentle lady yelled. >> yes. >> i would like to add a quick observation here because as our witness stated today, and i think ambassador nikki haley reinforced this during her trip to guatemala in february. csic is providing critical assistance to advance justice accountability and stability in the region. that is not an easy task. it's bound to be controversial. but they are successfully chipping away at the culture of corruption. that said, there was an issue that was raised here by mr. smith and, as we know, the consequence of that has been adjudicated through the courts in guatemala and that family is freed. this committee will continue to work with the senate and the state department number with the u.s. un on reforms
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that will preserve the essential function functions. while responding to legitimate criticisms of overreach. with that, i think without objection the gentle ladies questions are going to be submitted to our witnesses and we will go to tadpole of texas. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for being here. as the chairman mentioned, i am from texas. we have a very strong and longtime history with mexico, back even to the days of the 1500s when mexico and texas were part of spain or at least spain claimed the territory. i'm a great believer in trading with mexico, 10018 wheelers a day cross back and forth our southern border. thousands of people from both countries across the border, and i think the united states, as a nation needs to refocus
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our attention to her next-door neighbors. we are all over the world. we are in most of the countries. nothing that's a bad idea, i'm thing we need to focus on her next-door neighbors. mexico, canada, and then of course all of latin america. i see as many members of congress have pointed out that things are not good in the hemisphere, from mexico self. corruption, incompetence, violence, humanitarian problems with the nations and i think things are getting worse but i don't think they're getting better. i think they're getting worse. so, that's my position as some other members pointed out. i'm a believer in nafta. let's talk about some of the issues specifically with mexico.
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there there's a lot of foreign workers in the united states from mexico. going back to 2003 when fox was president, he made this comment and it was recorded in the san diego tribune. 20million mexicans in the united states generate a gross product that is slightly higher than the 600 billion generated by mexicans in mexico. it's our biggest source of foreign income. bigger than oil, tourism or foreign investment. that was in 2003. most recently the pew research organization has lifted how much room minutes is from the united states go to other countries. in other words for nationals working in the u.s., sending money back home. no surprise mexico is the number one country that receives from their workers in the united states, 21 billion
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according to the pew research organization. were talking about 28.1 billion from mexico. total amount $138 billion. year of remittances that go back to foreign countries whether workers working in the united states. my understanding is today remittances are the number one source of revenue to mexico except maybe for the sale of autos. tourism and oil are still behind. we are sending a lot of money, economic development money from the united states to mexico and a lot of other countries. it's no surprise that the mexican government has long supported more people coming
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to the united states by any means so that remittances can go back to their nation. so, my question is, this is been brought out by the administration as well. we just think this through, if we can use the phrase subsidize these countries all of the worl world, should the united states charge a fee, 1% for these transactions to occur? specifically foreign workers in the u.s. sending money back to mexico and any other country where those remittances go each year. so that part of that income generated in the united states stays in the united states but the taxpayers don't have to pick up the difference of that 138 billion. with a small fee, 1%, two, it makes me no difference. my question is what's your opinion of that and i'll ask ms. lynch what your opinion is. >> that's an interesting
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thought. i don't think, i think that could be potentially subject for legislation should you decide to go that route. we, i will say there's other countries in the hemisphere that do tax remittances that happens as they come in. haiti is an example in a case that i know of. beyond that i don't think i would choose to comment. >> okay. >> ms. lance, do you have an opinion? >> i also think it's very interesting, i think we would have to do further analysis. i know sometimes remittances are something we look at as a way to reduce foreign assistance. we would be happy to look into this and analyze it. >> i think congress ought to consider it strongly so we keep some of the money in the united states but 138 billion is a lot of money even for us. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. we go to greg from new york. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
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>> i found out about a mr. nazario carrillo and his daughter phil mona. his daughter was five years old, they fled to california from their village in the western areas of guatemala. as he was fleeing a local gang that had threatened to kill him. he and his daughter encountered a border patrol agent and were properly arrested. promptly arrested at a border patrol station in california and he was told he would be sent to jail and phil mona, his 5-year-old daughter was taken by border patrol agents. he said my daughter was screaming and crying and so was i. she was putting custody of the office of refugee settlement and she was transferred to my state of new york. he sits abandoned his asylum claim and was flown back to
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guatemala and in the five weeks he spent in u.s. custody, he was never once able to speak to his daughter. now, i visited the facility in new york and one of the things that was noted to me that each and every one of the children that they had their also had their birth certificate. that tells me that they were not just trying to sneak in, they were truly trying to seek an asylum so they can have a hearing because they were running from danger. they wanted to stop via border patrol to go through a hearing. they had some evidence of their kids were, but they were treated like criminals. in fact, one of the children examined thought they had a toothache but when upon further examination was in the child's mouth was pellets from a bullet. that's what they were fleeing
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from. sometimes i do feel inappropriate asking you questions because i really do acknowledge you and the service you have given our nation in the state department and the diplomacy and watching you, i know you have to answer some of these difficult questions, the problem is i think the president of the united states doesn't understand diplomacy and the value of the state department heard in fact i was looking at him today when he was in international organizations talking to nato, making all kinds of horrendous statements and separating us from our allies there. couldn't help but see the pain that the ambassador when she had to admit, this was right up down a prudent alley what was going on, and looking at general kelly as he was looking away and raking water
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and drinking water and drinking water as the present was making his statement. i said all that because my question do is going to be about the united states and the terms of the international american declaration of the rights and duties of man which obligates the states of the americas to protect the right to life, liberty and security for every human being and to give protection to families and to grant all children the right to special protection. we know that we are a member of an member of the oas filed a complaint to the international office of human rights concerning the zero-tolerance immigration policy. so, my question to you, and i know sometimes the president doesn't believe in multilateral and international organizations, did the trump administration plan to respond to the oas members complaint?
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do you know? >> sir, i'm unfamiliar with that specific issue. i'm happy to take that back to my colleagues and get back to you with an answer on that. >> thank you. it's something that's difficult for me too question you because i know of your work and some of it mor may be more appropriate for other members of the administration. i think we've touched on this and again, to miss lynch, i agree with you and the work that administrator greene is doing and what the usaid does all over the region, and you are addressing the root cause of the problem. but, these deportation, whether it's doc or tps, sending a lot of these folks, kids who have never been there before, sending them back, does that help our relationship and the work that you're doing in trying to deal with the root causes of the
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immigration problem we have at the border? >> we work closely. our role is to support the host country and their efforts in receiving some of these folks and so, we have worked in the reception centers through and through the international organization of migration and iom and working with them to refurbish those centers and also make sure asic services are available to folks with the ultimate goal that they would return to their host and home communities and there would be institutions there that would be stood up to also provide basic services and economic cap opportunities. thank you for your service. >> picking mr. chairman. appreciate you being here.
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this is a timely hearing on the western hemisphere. i think we pivoted away from that over the last, not just the last ministration but the last 15 or 20 years and it's time that we really put an emphasis on there whether it's energy, security for trivia nations like puerto rico or the u.s. virgin islands or other caribbean nations. instead of them getting their energy from venezuela, we are implementing energy from north america and allowing us to break the ties from venezuela. i think this is something that's imperative that we do, but i hear over and over again and investor, you are talking about better governance. we've got to do more. miss lynch you were talking about we have to do more and help these economies. the numbers i have tol pulled up, central america from mexico down to panama, there's roughly 171 million people over the course of the last ten years we have given $5.746 billion in foreign aid
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to el salvador, nicaragua, honduras, mexico and panama. $5.746billion. people are leaving the northern triangle because of poor governance. we are putting money into our aid program to get good governance yet were not getting the return on that. i'd like to hear from both of you. what would you do? we have to do something different. we can't do the same thing over and over again. i throw in the war on drugs, we spent over $2 trillion in the 70s. i think were all convinced. columbia has more cocoa planted today than the did with the drug cartels. what we need to do.
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we get allies on board that seriously want to ask this problem. >> thanks for the question. we certainly share your concern about all of the above. particularly the concern about the drug issue which i will briefly talked to, we have developed a good level of cooperation with mexico. one of the things secretary tillerson started was discussion them on how we can work together to stop these transnational. >> we were down there with the chairman a couple years ago and we want them to get better on their drug cartel, but i didn't see the want and the desire there as much as we did. how do we get the desire with
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them? we pull money back. were not getting the results but i hear what you're saying, we want them to do this. we have a new government coming in mexico, the secretary on pale will be traveling in the coming days along with secretary mnunchin, we are going to start up those discussions again with this new government. >> what's going to be different about those discussions. >> i think we have a new government to work with so we have to see where we can have leverage with them and what their interests are. >> i feel like we have the cookie that they want. they want to trade in the access, i think we need to play hardball different than we have. miss lynch, what is your recommendation? >> i do think we have considerable successes in the region, specifically i'll talk about central america where we see on the governance side, we see the government of these
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companies putting their own resources against the goals and objectives. >> define success. >> i would say three things when a government puts its own resources to these issues, when the private sector and society works as an watchdog. >> i think were seeing some of these successes in all of the northern triangle whereby with our u.s. central america strategy they proposed a similar strategy, the alliance for prosperity which aligns very well with our. >> everything a decrease in crime and migration. >> we work very closely with the government of honduras and in one area there's a good example where they work on the law-enforcement side and we work on the citizen side. we have seen homicides reduced by over 60%. >> we are out of time.
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i yield back. >> thank you. first i want to thank both are witnesses for being here. thank you so much for your service and please, my comments are not really directed at you. i have a lot of respect for what you do. first i wanted to start, sometimes i think i'm just living totally in a bad episode of saturday night live. i happen to represent beautiful palm beach where mara lagos it's and it's very interesting, donald trump asked permission to hire 78 foreign workers at my largo for the season. doesn't he think there are american workers that can take those jobs? i thought that was very interesting. anyway, onto another point which i think is actually much
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more important which is the fact that we are witnessing what i call a trump -induced crisis at our mexican border. we have heard many people comment on this but i'm in the state again because until these families are united, i am not going to shut up about the spread mothers and fathers who are seeking refuge from extreme danger and persecution , they finally think they come for refuge and what they do, they get to our border and this government steals their children right out of their arms. you know what's happening now? our government is so incompetent and so uncaring that they can't even match up most of these children. this is going to be a dark stain on this country with what's going on.
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i went to the border several months ago with some other members. look, i am the granddaughter of an immigrant. everybody hears probably either the granddaughter or the grandson of an immigrant and what i saw was heartbreaking. i'm just going to talk about meeting with the mothers who, listening to their excruciating crying because their children were taken from member they haven't seen them, they didn't know where they were, and one woman told me that she was told she was going to go look court for 48 hours and then it's a month later and she didn't even know where her child was for the other day i had a little roundtable at the guatemala center where i live and they do wonderful work there. i heard from a young woman who told me that her cousin came
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over, fleeing from gangs and violence in guatemala and got to the border where the 10-year-old son, the 10-year-old son is now in homestead in florida and guess for the mother is. she was deported back to guatemala. now, it's a good thing i get these little alerts from your phone. this is what's happening now. listen to this. one mother had waited for months to wrap her arms, four months to wrap her arms around her little boy and another waited three months to see her little girl again. when it finally happened tuesday in phoenix, the mothers were met with cries of rejection from their children. the children didn't even recognize the mothers. they were screaming for the caseworkers. what i heard yesterday at this
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roundtable, from child professional psychologist was the trauma that these children , the toxic trauma that these children are experiencing. we can see that right now. can you imagine, they don't even know who their parents are. here's what i wanted to say. a lot of the questions i was going to ask have been asked and answered. i want to thank you for that. i think there's no question. building a wall is not going to solve the problem. separating children inhumanely from their parents is not going to solve this problem. we have got to get into these countries and do the work. i just saw that there's a proposal to cut hundred $80 million in funding for central america. to me that is just dumb. i don't have to ask you what you think about it.
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you're good people. i'm not going to force you to answer that. i just want to conclude by saying we have to step up our efforts to try to get to the root causes and we need immigration reform. thank you for patiently being here with us today. >> this is an important hearing and i'm sure there are other hearings were my colleagues on the other side of the aisle can discuss their desire to abolish ice, but this is very important issue on the western hemisphere. with a lot of the issues were seeing on the border, i think it drives home the importance of motivating people to fix their own countries and live in a better situation. if you look at her friends in columbia, they went through decades of very difficult times and with a little help
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for the united states in a little desire from their internal community have really been able to not only just overcome the problems but also be a refuge for people in tough areas like venezuela. that is a good example of how we should be handling this issue so that the issue on the southern border does not continue to haunt us and frankly, we don't have to abolish ice in the process as some of my friends want. >> some jensen september 11 our focus has primarily been geared toward the middle east where we have spent time combating islamic extremism. many of our neighboring countries have faced instability and domestic insecurity. as a result of this, thousands of people have migrated north and arrived at our doorstep. as i mentioned, i've met worked with ice as a member of the international guard, as well as custom and border protection officers on our southwest border and i know firsthand how those insecurities not only affect our nation security but also how they endanger the lives of
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those traveling in search of freedom. that's why it's imperative we regain focus on our own hemisphere. i believe if we can establish a more stable western hemisphere we can usher in an era that's never been seen before. like to briefly touch on those countries. i introduced legislation to enhance the state departments capability through the global engagement center to identify and respond to propaganda. given venezuela's prosecution of political opponents and freedom of expression, can the gec be used too. [inaudible] what other tools you have to handle that? >> thanks so much for the question. we've not been at all shy
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about calling out the venezuelans and drawing attention to the abuse of the regime's abuse of its own people. we have done that in various forms, not least in american organizations states but just that recent summit here in washington, we were able to get an unprecedented resolution in support of members of the oas condemning venezuela and putting them on a path to perhaps eventual suspension from the organization. again, we will not be shy. we have used targeted sanctions to focus on those people were responsible who are tormenting the venezuelan people. >> can you answer specifically about if you see a role for the global engagement center in this area. >> i'm not an expert in that particular thing. i will be happy to take that back and get you an answer.
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>> we talk about what's been done in oas and the benefits of removing venezuela from the oas that you see. >> we have discussed that in the resolution that was passed by unprecedented support of countries representing over 90% of the population of the hemisphere that puts us on a path to consider suspending venezuela. after argentina's economic collapse in 2001, we saw anti- american groups drive in-and-out of economic despair. under the new leadership, the argentinian government settled their debts and open the third largest economy for business. still a lot of work to do in helping the poor and combating a narco network but they're showing a lot of promise. sporting governments in modern america that sean oppressive policies should be one of our top priorities. what concerns me is that in
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the past argentinian has clawed out of an economic collapse only to spend more money than they are able to collect through taxes and trade and resulted in new depression. do you have any programs geared toward economic growth or making that government more efficient in how they spend the money? >> argentina has a relatively new president that we've engaged with and we are very supportive of his market-oriented reforms. i think in our analysis that absent reforms generated from inside the country that realizing their own shortcomings in previous legislation in the mistakes they made in the past is the way they will find a proper way forward. we are very optimistic about their approach to resolving their own problems. >> thank you chairman. thank you both for your testimony today.
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many americans, and many around the world have been shocked by the trump administration's use of family separation, separating young kids from their parents as a deterrent to what the administration would consider a deterrent to having people attempt come here, including those seeking asylum legally in the united states. a few weeks ago now i was one of the members of congress who went down to visit to the centers for keeping these kids. one of them is called a tender age shelter in brownsville texas. myself and sheila jackson and a few others held an eight -month-old name roger who had been separated from his family. the staff told us they believe he came with his sister because his mother had died. there was a 1-year-old girl name leah was also in the room with us. what role does the state department play in the reunification of these young
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children? >> sir, thank you for the question. i believe i have said in earlier questions similar to this, we work in countries with our host governments, we work in places like central america to try to eliminate the root causes of this. >> but specifically, when parents, when some of these parents have been deported, is the state department involved of their back in the northern triangle country and trying to get the kids back, is the state department involved at all? hhs is not in guatemala or el salvador. i'll be honest with you, i'm not sure that our officials are involved in that process. i can take that back and get you a clear answer on that. >> i hope that you will and i will submit my question for the record because i would like to know if the state department that deals with
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other nations, and of course our domestic agencies here, whether they can represent to. >> and people that none of these children have died or been severely injured while in the custody of the united states government. that's my question. >> i would also like to echo the comments by representative ingle and also my colleague about the work that they're doing to fight corruption in guatemala and, although it gets fair to always be critical of any organization and take a critical look, i think it's important only thing about helping these countries get off, get back on their feet to make sure that we have an organization that is trying to root out corruption and really restore the rule of law. let me ask you this. congressman spoke a minute ago about making sure that countries drink countries fix the things that are wrong with themselves. i agree. i think the best antidote to
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having many people want to come to the united states who are undocumented is to make sure that the economy, to work with the nations to the south and make sure the economies are strong, but let me ask you, if you are mexico and there is the united states, an incredible demand for drugs coming from the united states, what strategy is going to be successful to completely root out the trafficking of drugs to the united states where you have a huge demand for it? mexico is not colombia, which obviously in south america but it basically got a 2000-mile border with the united states so in other words is the centrally geographically, it's a geographic way for drug trafficking routes but how they combat that. >> this is not exactly an area i have expertise in terms of domestic demand, my understanding is that the
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administration has putting together policies to look at that no and ways that we can reduce people's use of these drugs. : : : >> to combat central america transnational criminal organizations. this is ongoing work and important work and ultimately we are hoping it will be successful. >> i posed the question because as we figure that out if you are a relatively poor nation with the rule of law that is not what it should be
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with incredible corruption in people not making much money in very poor tempted to go into the drug trade there is incredible to be and for those drugs, the challenge to root that out is dragon tech one -- gigantic. >> thank you mr. chairman. i want to ask a series of questions starting with your understanding of the nature of the hearing is that your understanding as well? you are from the u.s. department of state? but yet it seems half the room is focused primarily on the border. so do you all have oversight of hhs? dhs? you do not?
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u.s. cbp? so none of those are within the purview. it is amazing how well they talk off of the talking points. with those preplanned talking points then that is amazing but covering 0% part of me going off of discourse but roughly 4000 americans killed every year so mathematically speaking we cannot quantify these numbers that is why we know about these fatalities nationally but we don't quantify specifically by immigration status but we do know where you are licensed to drive regardless et cetera the number of highway death is
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closer to 14.5%. so if we look at the numbers that we think are currently separated from their families but nobody's talking about that. and you are at the state department but we have just determined we could have save some time but hhs said dhs or i.c.e. that they don't want to seem to abolish. so i apologize for the waste of your time and i want to cover another thing within your purview with my distinguished colleagues we have all talked about horrific occurrences of gang violence in guatemala and honduras and mexico and it gives me
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positive because i think every one of these countries are violent gang members do you? there is a lot of good people in mexico. but yet we have heard horrible stories. we heard about josé and brian 's mom was murdered and they came to this country because they were afraid the same thing may happen to them. but all people are not bad people. there are some gang members and some right? right? likewise we have not heard any gang members that leave those countries and come here. i understand is beyond the scope and purview but do we have reason to believe some of the people that might come here illegal to also be gang members? could that be? mathematically speaking. >> certainly we in the state department don't no space backed do you think it's
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possible? >> in the realm of possibility a lot of things are possible. so that is not the solution but just like the door to be closed and doesn't always prevent someone hit me part of a solution although not a panacea. so it is remarkable to see this concern for just over 100 people over the age of five but not the department of state or the scope to identify or address u.s. interest in the western hemisphere. so what haven't you been asked about because nobody seems to want to talk about it. >> the questions we got today are relevant what would you like me to ask you?
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>> and i have 20 seconds. people have the election. we are very disturbed by the recent unrest and we are happy to see the nation government to regain control of the street; the haitian government continues to work to pacify that information and to see the answer to why people are out on the streets writing because there is a lack of economic opportunity and we drive this hall with them to attract investors and there are investors and i will leave it there. >> i yield back. >> we appreciate the state department and other colleagues that were on the
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phone over the weekend in the situation room dealing with those constituents who were in harm's way. but to get that resolved we appreciate your expertise and all time we have spent there. we will go to robin kelly from illinois. >> i would just say there is a lot of things that we don't talk about here. what is important as we hear these hearings from latin america and traveled to the land of opportunity? the 14-year-old girl from el salvador arrived in the united states in may with the mother fleeing violence after the stepfather murdered in the
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church. they fled to save their lives. at the time of their arrival the government announced implementation of the zero tolerance policy and with those consequences to see thousands of children being separated from their parents and one of them so being relieved that she was being taken instead to be lured away from her mom not aware she would not see her mom again after transfer to a shelter in connecticut, the girls mother remained detained in texas. after 39 days she heard the comfort of his mother's voice and was allowed a ten minute phone call and now in july they are still separated. we must get to the root problems with the migration families giving up everything for a chance at a better life. united states mush -- must do more and that is what i was so
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disappointed by the state department decision last year with the honduran election. in november the state department chose to certify with the direct u.s. funding with the organization of american states secretary general at eventually concluded with irregularity in the deficiencies and then lacking integrity. and then to move forward without form but has done very little to date from the military police but there is still no timeline to do so. what is the state department doing to pressure and to take the military police off the street? what leverage do you have after the disputed election?
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>> on the honduran certificatio certification, that takes some time to do doing certifications for haiti and other countries but ultimately by the secretary of state that they met the criteria for certification. >> i cannot speak to the exact criteria for honduras, but regarding the idea, it is unfortunate where military police functions in general are viewed it isn't a good thing there is an old for military or police and they should be separated.
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>> do you know if there is a direct line -- a timeline? >> is there a general criteria? and there are a different criteria that are established by the appropriators. >> we can get that criteria for that if you would like. >> i would appreciate that. >> mr. chairman i apologize being late to the committee i had our markup natural resources meeting. thank you for being here today. it is good to see you again. those that went to the summit of america's and to be really
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impressed with what you are doing with many of the countries and your work in egypt. thank you for being here. but my question i do want to address what has been bouncing around for a while to resolve the claims of many constituents and that has affected many plans in san bernardino. the role of the government you want to address that. and this is under a different regime. and they just want to address
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it. i just keep pushing and getting pushback. are you familiar with that at all? >> mac i am familiar with the case but not the specifics. >> we had a weekend trip. it was short-lived and only a weekend. we met with 21 countries i came back exhausted but never learned so much in my life. we met with nine of the caribbean countries we heard over and over that it was forgotten and ignored by the western from a sphere. so not just the caribbean
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countries but to be susceptible to the economic manipulations of venezuelan government makes. this is a continuing problem. and you have to do the math in each country has one vote, the same as the united states and you add that together whatever changes then it will not happen. so we have to talk to the countries in the caribbean. hurricane every year. and then to get aid down there. and here we go again. we know the pre-positioning
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and we have talked about this pre-positioning where we go through the drill weather in her own southern states or in the caribbean. so i hope we get that and my staff has mentioned that to you but this was a big issue with our committee. and we have secretary pompeo is interested in mexico but we have to start paying more and more attention because a lot of countries are down there.
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and the ambassador to talk so much but absence of attention to the area. >> thanks for your comment in question. i respectfully disagree we have been neglectful of our neighbors in the hemisphere. we have a whole bureau of people that work with this we have the vice president who has traveled to the region hr 4939 which. >> i don't mean to cut you off but perception is reality. and that has been ignored.
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>> and we appreciate your optimism from your opening statement that it is more important than the relationship down there but history tells a different story that history with latin america over the years with neglect and to shore up with resources the governments that practice state terrorism now we rip children from the arms of their parenting but now it is so abominable the oas unanimously passed a resolution condemning our behavior that isn't anything to brag about. but just hours ago you said we have a policy towards self
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sufficiency to the others in the region but this worries me because i have seen that all over the world like southeast asia and africa and eastern europe, they go back to create a power vacuum like russia and china. we know they are in chris on -- increasingly meddling economically with propaganda and i wonder if you ask the president to bring this up with mr. putin when he meets with him next week? with those other activities? they have a global navigation satellite system with joint counter products.
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we are not doing much but also to be systemic about latin america is now the second-largest destination for chinese investment and the largest trading partner for argentina peru and chalet one -- chile and they are putting $2 million into the port with the chinese investment with energy and mining and telecommunications. so even if it is creating dependency when they offer this it is hard to compete with with the policy as you described that it is not a good idea to do this in the long run. so in addition with russia's involvement how could we possibly compete with a diminishing usaid?
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we have a demoralizing environment with a president insult our allies, a policy of zero tolerance at the border. how can we compete with that competition to build those strong relations that we need? >> we have a history of engagement or shared values and those neighbors of the caribbean countries and the aspirate communities and we also have a very vibrant
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sector and while the private sector does well we also have a lot of investment and that is a good vector to bring economic opportunity to these places. >> i think usaid does a wonderful job we get more from them than any agency i can think of but with another aspect we are not being very helpful because that one party in the congress doesn't even support the import-export bank. so on what front are we really successful? i know you have to answer that in a positive way we need to be realistic as well and i yield back.
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>> now to the gentleman from new jersey. >> just to make clear after being unjustly jailed for three years, igor and his wife who spent three months in jail and their daughter another three months jailed, igor got out on bail and told they are not free and they are under house arrest but their attorney says they are under house arrest significantly on may 23 in terms of the chronology two days before my hearing the court ruled and allowed them out of jail. that was the constitutional court but on may 23 to go back to the constitutional court
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with that action. >> so this is the third time. >> so what is that pattern that the constitutional court in contrast with previous decisions that i remind my colleagues that these are asylum-seekers aping the impunity of latimer putin in article five clear but the fact of being the object in article six and then it is clearly pointed out with that identity document to provide such document. so anyone who doubts they were escaping that to radical action just look at the record it could not be more clear.
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the constitutional court now has allowed that action with the false drivers license and credit cards to change that identity of witness protection in this country when someone wanted to change their identity to escape the mob or the mafia and now they have action. so what is the driving force after first being part of an action being 19 years for his wife and imprisoned for their daughter? that is what the court found what is the driving of session? if there has been the investigation with no evidence how deep was that obfuscation?
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we know for a fact that thousands of businessmen and women and russia routinely have the businesses taken away from them. i cut my teeth on human rights issues in 1982 in my first term on a trip to the soviet union and great people who had all these false charges brought against them and sent to psychiatric prisons and actually visited just a few years later and those men that were taken by the russians or the soviets in that case then a continuation of that and the russians went looking and it took several years but then they found them and then the little partner joined in the
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effort but yet there are people that try to raise these issues the subject of attacks unrelenting by the russian government i was in a bilateral agreement with united states delegation in germany. at that meeting chaired by peter tolstoy was some of the people that were held to account in terms of their wrongdoing sitting right at the table. they don't like it we believe in sanctions in the way they try to inhibit their behavior but a situation who was a grave risk that safety is my
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overriding concern they have done with any of us to do for our families if i gangster group change the passport to a new name with a drivers license with a new name. and now they go after them with credulity. it is beyond the pale of why. can you tell us why? >> i cannot speak to the particular areas of how that works internally. but beyond of what i told you before the embassy has merged with the guatemalan government we have assurances they will not send the cost back to us. so how about the russian banks
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are now asking the young son who was under three years of age be returned from guatemala to russia and you have assurances of that? >> i hate to admit this but you exhausted my expertise rather than mislead you i will get back to you. >> ambassador i would suggest in a situation looking at the sentences of 17 or 14 years for the daughter after the bank tried to have certain individuals in the bank tried to take control of the company that have been abducted and raped in st. petersburg for three days and then for her to get 14 years for the younger son to be in a situation where the russian government has him returned to russia with that
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past pattern of behavior you have to ask yourself when the sentences are longer than for drug trafficking or murder or even terrorism, in country, there is something a little unusual about the particulars of this case. and that is why what i said earlier, working on investigations here in terms of circumstances, it is incumbent on all of us today deeper to have a little more understanding of this case. and i would ask you do that and get back in touch with chairman smith and myself and members of this committee.
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because at the end of the day, our goal is to work effectively taking on corruption but the one thing that you and i know is that they try to influence the outcome in any case when they go after anyone who tries to flee their government's control. if you ask yourself how far will they go, apparently poisoned by radiation is not out of bounds and we know two cases of that. so if you have an arm of the state that is bringing a case in guatemala after breaking a case anyway, i have exhausted our time but i think chairman smith made the point and i
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would just reiterate at the end of the day we wanted to be effective and for that to happen we need the reforms in place. mr. cook are you seeking time? >> no. we are planning a trip to guatemala so obviously this is a huge issue. we are all concerned about it. and they share the chairman's feelings about russia's history so this is something that will not go away. >> if i can just conclude mr. chairman. >> thank you. those that live like this
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every single day. they have very poor treatment in prison, a huge swat like team take him to prison in the first place beyond all reason and what that has done especially to those who have been objected and the russian oligarchy and leadership and how they work they go after businessmen and women who are successful and if you don't play ball they set examples for certain people if there is anything to do with that which undermines their mandate they want to get rid of corruption but if personnel is policy which i think it is with any corrupt people within the organization then that needs immediate out from anybody that is complicit that's why
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asked specifically about collusion they need to be prosecuted. >> with that we think the witnesses for being with us today and we are adjourned spee5 [inaudible conversations] >> thank you very much. thank you. [inaudible conversations]
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>> on newsmakers, the alliance for justice president talks about that organizations opposition to president trump's nominees, brett kavanaugh. >> i think the timing works for us and i think it works for us because this is an opportunity for the supreme court to be a a low theon at elections which is a critically important conversation. during the presidential 2016, one candidate talked a lot about
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it and one did not. this would be an opportunity or candidates to really talk about in anhe stakes are election. and the stakes really for the supreme court -- obviously, a presidential election is even more important because who is elected president can name justices and judges to the lower courts but i think it is a very think if youi also take a look back in history a back to danielgo minyan, that is many years ago. 1986. there was one republican -- slateslate gordon's gordon was all set to move against dinner manion for a seat on the seventh circuit court of appeals. at the last moment, he changed his mind, voted for dana man and
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and you know what? that norman lost his seat year. if you look back to anita hill, clarence thomas, after that huge bruising fight and hearing, a number of democrats who voted for clarence thomas, they stay -- they had a very hostile crowd back home. fowler from georgia lost his race. dixon was up- alan to be reelected to a seat in illinois and he lost his seat to carol moseley braun over this particular issue. voters are paying attention. particularly at the supreme court level and because there is so much more engagement and excitement, at least on the progressive side, i think this will be a huge issue. >>


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