I agree with the premise of the editors of the Washington Post’s remarks about Guatemala:
The rule of law, or lack thereof, is a major reason for the immediate crisis Guatemala faces, and which Mr. Giammattei will probably inherit when he takes office in January: a massive exodus to the United States. All the more reason to lament the Trump administration’s acquiescence in Mr. Morales’s de facto abolition of the U.N.-backed anticorruption effort, not to mention Ms. Aldana’s treatment.
Corrupt and abusive government is a fundamental problem, not just in Central America or throughout the developing world but in many, many countries. Heck, the government of the state in which I live is corrupt and abusive and Illinoisans are fleeing to other states, many of which no doubt have problems of corruption and lawlessness themselves.
However, I disagree with their conclusion:
If the Trump administration is smart — a big “if,” to be sure — it will not cut well-designed economic aid to Guatemala but increase it, to help the president-elect meet his legitimate development goals.
Regardless of how well-designed aid from the U. S. federal government might be it will inevitably be sidelined by Guatemala’s elites who have both the will and the power to do so. The only strategy I’ve been able to come up with is to channel the aid through NGOs dedicated to doling out aid in very small increments. That, at least, will reduce the ROI on corruption.