U.S.-, World Bank-Supported Microfinance Programs Enable Guatemalans To Migrate North Using Illegal Smugglers, Washington Post Reports
Washington Post: The migrant debt cycle
“…U.S. officials have long touted the power of finance to lift people out of poverty — and backed loans to farmers and small-business owners across the developing world. But here in the Guatemala Highlands, the epicenter of the country’s migrant exodus, those loans often fund a different activity, the region’s most profitable: smuggling migrants north to the United States. … What enables those payments is a vast system of credit that includes financial institutions set up and supported by the United States and the World Bank, part of the global boom in microfinance over the past two decades. The U.S. government and the World Bank have each extended tens of millions of dollars in funding and loan guarantees, money that helped create what is now Guatemala’s biggest microfinance organization, Fundación Génesis Empresarial, and backed one of its largest banks, Banrural…” (Sieff, 11/4).