Foreign Aid from Mexico to the United States

On Friday, we looked at the number of countries that have received Mexican foreign relief in response to disasters. The notion has been that México takes and never gives back. As Friday’s post demonstrated, México has provided foreign aid to about 20 nations, including the United States, about 40 times since 1996. Many in the United States erroneously believe that México does not come to the aid of the United States. But the fact proves otherwise.

Soon after the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the Hurricane Katrina disasters, many nations responded with offers to help the United States deal with the disasters. Only a few countries have offered aid to the U.S. in response to Harvey.

Because of the notion that the United States gives out foreign aid and the other countries just takes it without reciprocity, the bureaucracy of the U.S. has not evolved an adequate method to accept offers of help from other countries.

After Katrina, the United States had received offers of help including over $800 million in cash from 151 countries to help with the cleanup efforts. The aid offers mostly went unused because the U.S. government was unprepared to process them into the system. The bureaucratic red tape was such that even after a call from the U.S. government for ready-to-eat (MREs) military rations, the 400,000 provided by Great Britain were not used because they contained beef from Britain that was banned, because of Mad Cow disease, in the U.S. at the time.

Of the $854 million pledged from other countries, only about $115 million was accepted by the U.S. government. México was one of very few countries that was allowed to deploy Mexican military disaster relief forces within the U.S. borders.

Soon after the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, 17 countries responded with offers of help. Of the 17 offers of help, the United States initially accepted the offers from México, the Netherlands and Norway. México provided two oil skimmers along with about 13,000 feet of boom. The Netherlands provided oil sweeping arms. Norway provided eight skimmers.

Later, when it became evident that the oil spill could not be contained, the United States accepted additional foreign aid from Croatia and Japan. The foreign aid accepted by the United States for the BP oil spill was mainly oil cleanup equipment and resources.

In both disasters, of the many offers of foreign aid accepted by the United States, México was the first to offer and one of the first countries whose offers were accepted by the U.S. government.

Like the other two disasters, México immediately offered to send aid to help in the recovery efforts from Hurricane Harvey. Yet, the Trump administration has not publicly formally accepted or rejected the offer from México.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott, accepted the offer from México. The Mexican offer, except for civilian Mexican Red Cross workers, is on its way. Although it is unclear if the Trump administration must approve the Mexican aid before it can be used, there is already a Mexican convoy aid on its way to Texas.

Interestingly, Politico on August 31 published an article stating that few countries have offered help for Harvey recovery efforts. The article insinuates that countries that traditionally offer the U.S. government help for disaster recovery are bypassing Harvey because Trump is being ostracized by countries normally friendly to the United States.

Regardless, the help from México is real and proven by the BP and Katrina disasters. News reports on both sides of the border suggest that Mexico is bringing amphibious vehicles, boats, foodstuffs, medical staff, a mobile kitchen, satellite phones and other support. The first deliveries are expected via the Laredo border today, or tomorrow. For the Trump administration to ignore it or not accepted it clearly proves the animosity that Donald Trump has towards México, at the expense of the people of Houston.