Latin American leaders have strongly defended the world’s most impoverished migrants after US President Donald Trump reportedly referred to certain developing nations as “shithole countries”.
Bolivian President Evo Morales expressed his indignation on Twitter: “To insult African countries, El Salvador and Haiti, Trump insults the world and demonstrates his opinions and politics are contaminated by capitalist racism, fascism, arrogance, and ignorance.
“History has shown that those who offend like this end up eating their words.”
An extraordinary meeting of the Political Council of the Bolivarian Alliance for the People of America (ALBA, an anti-imperialist bloc uniting 11 Latin American and Caribbean nations), which took place in Venezuela on January 12, reviewed the incident. The body released a statement describing Trump’s racist slur — directed at El Salvador, Haiti and African nations — as offensive.
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said: “El Salvador and Haiti ... were once again victims of US President Donald Trump’s aggression.
“Even if he’s trying to take back his words, what’s important... is that we now know that what Donald Trump thinks is even worse than whatever he could have said about our brother nations and their dignity.
“And we know how his restrictive immigration policies are hurting our people in the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America, a lot of them reunited here in the Bolivarian Alliance.”
El Salvador has been greatly affected by changes in US immigration policies — most notably the eradication of the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program.
Salvadoran President Salvador Sanchez, a member of the left-wing Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN), tweeted that the nation demanded “respect for the dignity of its noble and courageous people”.
The FMLN also released a statement to condemn Trump’s “racist, anti-immigrant, anti-Salvadoran and anti-American” language.
“The history of our people’s struggle and the defensive position of our country, with dignity and pride, has been demonstrated to the world on numerous occasions,” the statement said. “This same attitude strengthens us to condemn the insults today.”
The FMLN warned that such attacks by one of the world’s most powerful people could have serious consequences for Salvadorans.
“We are a working people, dignified, optimistic and proud of our history; we fight daily to build our future and we do it cheerfully,” the FMLN said. “We are never going to accept these types of attitude nor abandon our defence of and pride in our country and our foreign brothers.”
Chilean foreign minister Heraldo Munoz also tweeted that his country welcomes immigrants attempting to improve their lives.
“Regarding immigrants from ‘shithole countries’, Chile is proud to continue receiving many thousands of Haitians and persons from poor countries or looking for a better future,” Munoz said. “Migrants into Chile come from Haiti, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia and others.”
Haiti said it was shocked by Trump’s reported remarks and summoned the top US diplomat in the country, asking for an apology if the vulgar term had been used.
The Washington Post reported that Trump uttered his now infamous slur during a meeting with senators in the Oval Office on January 11, when he asked why they wanted “all these people from shithole countries coming here”.
[Abridged from TeleSUR English.]