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Honduras will keep fighting gangs despite Trump threat: minister

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Honduras will keep fighting the scourge of gangs whether or not the United States decides to cut off aid, the security minister said on Thursday, a day after U.S. President Donald Trump threatened aid cuts.

Trump announced on Wednesday that he is working on a plan to reduce U.S. aid to countries he accuses of doing nothing to stop MS-13 gang members from crossing into the United States illegally. Trump did not provide details on the plan but said it would “radically” change the way U.S. foreign aid is structured.

The notorious crime group was founded by Salvadorans in Los Angeles in the 1980s and spread to El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala as the United States deported waves of migrants.

El Salvador said on Thursday that Central America suffered most as those deportations ramped up in the mid-1990s, giving way to gang-fueled extortion, drug trafficking, killings and the recruitment of children.

It said it is committed to helping deportees re-settle and to reducing “irregular migration” to the United States.

“We express our firm and total disagreement toward those who characterize all of our migrants as criminals,” Salvadoran President Salvador Sanchez Ceren said in a statement.

“The great majority of Salvadorans on U.S. soil are workers and industrious.”

Honduran Security Minister Julian Pacheco told reporters that the government is working “incessantly” to break up gangs and otherwise stem the tide of migrants fleeing the violence for better prospects in the United States.

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