Vice-President Harris arrives in Guatemala
By Bruce C.T. Wright, NewsOne
There is no shortage of Black history being made in the year 2021. This time around, Vice President Kamala Harris has become the highest-ranking Black woman government official in U.S. history to make a foreign trip. Guatemala literally rolled out the red carpet as the first woman and first Black vice president of the United States touched down on Sunday for her maiden trip abroad for President Joe Biden‘s administration to address the immigration crisis at America’s southern border. However, not everybody in Guatemala was happy that Harris was visiting. The trip is part of Harris’ duties as assigned by Biden to figure out how to effectively — and humanely — handle the influx of migrants seeking citizenship following the massive failure in that arena by President Donald Trump and his administration, which separated families at the border, caged the children and deported the adults. Harris met with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei during a bilateral meeting to address the root causes of migration from Central America. The vice president was among multiple government officials from both countries to meet at the Palacio Nacional de la Cultura in Guatemala City. “The goal of the vice president’s trip is to deepen our strategic partnership and bilateral relationship with both the Guatemalan and Mexican governments to advance a comprehensive strategy to tackle the causes of migration,” Harris’ spokesperson, Symone Sanders, told CNN. While the talks got underway inside the opulent building that is the equivalent of Guatemala’s White House, protesters outside demonstrated against Harris’ presence in their country. Photos showed protesters carrying signs in English as well as Spanish that implored Harris to “mind your own business” and “go home” and saying she was “not welcome.” Back home in the U.S., Harris was the subject of false media reports centered on her new immigration role. A reporter with the conservative tabloid New York Post was forced to quit in April after writing without offering any proof that undocumented migrant minors arriving at the border were being greeted by American officials with copies of a children’s book written by the vice president. Previously, Harris hosted a virtual bilateral meeting on the same topic with Giammattei in the Vice President’s Ceremonial Office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building of the White House on April 26. Following the meeting in Guatemala, Harris was scheduled to travel to Mexico to meet with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to “attend roundtable discussions with entrepreneurs and labor leaders,” NBC News reported. But considering the important role that Mexico plays with immigration to the U.S. — migrants traveling through Central America typically must pass through Guatemala before getting to Mexico, from where they cross into any number of border states like Texas, Arizona and California — chances are those talks will also address America’s migrant crisis while the vice president is in Central America. The meeting in Mexico may even touch on Trump’s infamous border wall that Democrats and the Mexican government alike vehemently opposed. Prior to Harris’ trip this week, other high-ranking Black American women to travel abroad for the U.S. government include Condoleezza Rice, President George W. Bush’s Secretary of State, and Susan Rice, who served as former President Barack Obama‘s national security adviser and ambassador to the United Nations.