Posts Tagged ‘United States’

CEOs Say Recession Is Top Worry for 2019

January 17, 2019

A year ago, recession ranked low on list of executive worries

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Image result for container ship at a port in Qingdao, China, photos

Workers moor a container ship at a port in Qingdao, China. China’s trade growth slowed in 2018 as a tariff battle with the U.S. heated up and global consumer demand weakened. Global trade ranked high as a top 2019 concern for chief executives from both the U.S. and China. PHOTO:ASSOCIATED PRESS
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The possibility of a global recession ranks as the top concern on the minds of corporate leaders as they head into 2019, according to a new survey of chief executives from the Conference Board, a business research group.

That is a dramatic reversal from a year ago, when executives were sanguine about the risk of recession, ranking it their 19th concern overall out of 28 issues, below issues like outdated infrastructure, workforce diversity and income inequality.

The survey of more than 800 CEOs from around the world was conducted in the fall, before a sharp decline in stock prices amplified worries that economic growth is stalling.

Given that CEOs sensed the possibility of recession before the markets’ recent decline, much of their sentiment stems from other challenges that ranked high on their list of external concerns, said Bart van Ark, the Conference Board’s chief economist. After recession, the top four risks were threats to global trade systems, global political instability, new competitors and declining trust in political and policy institutions.

“There are worries that the policy environment is just not ready to deal with the economic challenges we’re facing,” Mr. van Ark said.

In a separate report on global risks, the World Economic Forum, which produces the annual Davos confab of politicians, business leaders and academics, on Wednesday identified trade wars and rising political tensions as the biggest global threats. Cyberattacks and climate change were also high on that list.

The Conference Board ranked concerns by region. In Japan, China and Latin America, recession was the top external risk. In the U.S., where hackers have breached the computer systems of Facebook Inc., Marriott International Inc. and the country’s electric grid, it was cybersecurity, which Chinese CEOs ranked 10th.

European CEOs named global political instability as their dominant worry.

If the Conference Board had surveyed CEOs in December, after the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell more than 10% from its October level, recession “would probably have been first in the U.S. and Europe too,” Mr. van Ark said.

Global trade ranked especially high for executives from the two countries at the center of the most contentious trade dispute, the U.S. and China. In China, CEOs ranked it their second-biggest external concern. In the U.S., it was fourth.

Those worries are starting to show up in corporate earnings and statements from chief executives. Earlier this month, Apple Inc. cut its quarterly revenue forecast for the first time in more than 15 years because of slowing sales in China, where growth is under pressure in part because of trade tensions with the U.S.

Internally, executives in every region identified their ability to attract and retain top employees as their primary challenge. Other top concerns are creating new business models to adapt to disruptive technologies, developing the next generation of leaders, aligning compensation and incentives with business performance and reducing costs.

CEO FEAR FACTORS

Top executives cited worries about a global recession and the war for talent as their top concerns in 2019.

EXTERNAL HOT-BUTTON ISSUES:

• 1. Recession risk

• 2. Threats to global trade

• 3. Global political instability

• 4. New competition

• 5. Declining trust in political institutions

INTERNAL HOT-BUTTON ISSUES:

• 1. Attracting and retaining top talent

• 2. Creating new business models to adapt to disruptive technologies

• 3. Developing the next generation of leaders

• 4. Better alignment of compensation with business performance

• 5. Reducing baseline costs

Source: The Conference Board

Write to Lauren Weber at lauren.weber@wsj.com

https://www.wsj.com/articles/ceos-say-recession-is-top-worry-for-2019-11547672460

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Global economy is headed for recession

January 17, 2019

Global growth is slowing and the world economy is headed for a recession in 2019 unless something happens to give it renewed momentum.

By Jack Kemp
Reuters

A help wanted sign is posted at a taco stand in Solana Beach, California, U.S., July 17, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

The OECD’s composite leading indicator fell to just 99.3 points in November, its lowest since October 2012, and down from a peak of 100.5 at the end of 2017.

Growth momentum has been easing for some time in Britain, Canada, France and Italy and there were tentative signs of slackening momentum in the United States and Germany in November.

The composite indicator is likely to fall even further when data for December are published next month, given the weakness already revealed in equity markets and business surveys.

The OECD composite leading indicator has been weakening consistently for the last year and now points unambiguously to a contraction ahead (https://tmsnrt.rs/2HfQKH5).

RECESSION READING

In the last 50 years, whenever the index has fallen below 99.3, there has almost always been a recession in the United States (1970, 1974, 1980, 1981, 1990, 2001 and 2008).

The one exception was the weakening of the index in 1998, when the United States continued to grow, despite the weakening global economy in the aftermath of the Asian financial crisis.

Even in this case, however, the interest-rate setting Federal Open Market Committee noted “the economy has been holding up but is now showing clear signs of deterioration.”

“When we feed this information into our various models, they inevitably, as we might expect, engender a quite considerable softening.”

The observations are contained in the transcript of an unusual, out-of-cycle conference call held by the Federal Open Market Committee in September 1998.

One week later, the Federal Reserve responded to signs of a weakening economy by cutting U.S. interest rates.

FREIGHT SLOWDOWN

Most of the world’s major economies outside the United States showed clear signs of slackening growth in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Even in the United States, the Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index for December showed the sharpest deceleration in growth since the recessions of 2008 and 2001.

Global trade volumes showed signs of slowing towards the end of 2018 after strong growth in 2017.

Air freight through Hong Kong International Airport, the world’s busiest air cargo hub and a proxy for global trade, was down 1.6 percent year-on-year in the fourth quarter.

Air freight volumes in Hong Kong were down by a massive 5 percent in December compared with the same month a year earlier, according to the Civil Aviation Department.

HARD LANDING?

Most economists now forecast a period of slower growth in 2019 but policymakers have expressed hope for a soft landing rather than an outright recession.

Policymakers almost always aim for a soft landing, in an effort to maintain business and consumer confidence, but there are good reasons to be sceptical about the scenario.

Experience shows the economy is characterised by a significant number of positive feedback mechanisms which amplify booms and slumps.

 JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon doesn't expect the next recession to be as bad as the previous one.

 

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon doesn’t expect the next recession to be as bad as the previous one.CREDIT:BLOOMBERG

 

Expansions tend to accelerate as business investment, employment, incomes, consumer spending and equity prices reinforce each other.

Once the economy starts to lose momentum, however, all these factors tend to interact with each other in the opposite direction to intensify the slowdown.

A soft landing is still possible but a hard landing is more likely unless something happens to kickstart global growth.

If policymakers want to avoid a recession, they have two principal options:

(a) cut U.S. interest rates to ease global financial conditions; or

(b) conclude a trade agreement between China and the United States to ease trade tensions and boost business confidence.

But unless policymakers intervene with one of these alternatives, the global economy’s momentum will continue to slacken and push it towards recession.

Related columns:

– U.S. economy flashes warning signs of impending slowdown (Reuters, Jan. 3)

– Global economy is running out of momentum (Reuters, Oct. 23)

– Global economy falters as politicians take expansion for granted (Reuters, Oct. 11)

– Global economic outlook is darkening (Reuters, Aug. 14) (Editing by Mark Potter)

Reuters

See also:

‘Won’t be like last time’: JP Morgan chief has some good news about the next recession

https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/won-t-be-like-last-time-jp-morgan-chief-has-some-good-news-about-the-next-recession-20190117-p50rty.html

Australia police examining suspicious packages at 10 consulates

January 9, 2019

Officials in Melbourne say they are responding to multiple ‘hazardous material’ events in the city

Hazmat and fire crews work outside the Indian and French Consulate in Melbourne, Australia Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. (Kaitlyn Offer/AAP Image via AP)

Hazmat and fire crews work outside the Indian and French Consulate in Melbourne, Australia Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. (Kaitlyn Offer/AAP Image via AP)

SYDNEY (AP) — Several foreign consulates were evacuated in the Australian cities of Melbourne and Canberra on Wednesday after they received suspicious packages.

Police, fire crews and ambulances were seen at a number of diplomatic offices in Melbourne, including those of India, Germany, Italy, Spain and South Korea. The government Vic Emergency website noted at least 10 “hazardous material” incidents in the city.

“The circumstances surrounding these incidents are being investigated,” the Australian Federal Police said in a statement.

The Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported suspicious packages were also found at the Melbourne consulates of the United States, Switzerland, Pakistan and New Zealand, and possibly those of Greece, France, and Hong Kong.

It was not immediately known which countries’ diplomatic missions in the national capital, Canberra, were affected.

The ABC reported one New Zealand consulate worker had said the packages in question were envelopes labelled “asbestos.” Inside were plastic sandwich bags containing a fibrous material.

Two firetrucks, a hazardous materials vehicle and police cars were seen at India’s consulate in Melbourne, where staff members had been evacuated, some wearing protective masks.

Staff were later allowed to re-enter the building, which was deemed safe by Vic Emergency, the collective body of emergency agencies in Victoria state, of which Melbourne is the capital.

The incidents come after Sydney’s Argentinian consulate was partially evacuated on Monday after reports of a suspicious substance. The powder, contained in clear plastic bags within an envelope, was subsequently deemed not dangerous.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/australia-police-examining-suspicious-packages-at-several-consulates/

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US irreplaceable as world police — The US is more than Donald Trump

December 29, 2018

Opinion: No country can replace US as world police

While visiting troops in Iraq, US President Donald Trump said that the Washington will no longer play the role of “world’s policeman.” But no one can replace the US — not even the EU, writes DW’s Christoph Hasselbach.

    
Actor Lee Ermey as Sheriff Hoyt in 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning I' (picture-alliance/Zumapress/New Line Cinema)

The term “world’s policeman” triggers negative reactions — even if hardly anyone denies that police are needed. This is probably because no country has ever applied for the position of being the world’s police and been elected by a majority. Like other nations before it, the United States simply took on the role of ensuring global law enforcement and performed it in its own self-interest.

Should Washington actually withdraw from this self-imposed task after decades, the question arises of who will take its place. One obvious answer is that if there is to be a global police force, then it is the United Nations that should take over the task of ensuring order. But this has had little success in the past and is unlikely to work in the future. Disagreement and conflicting interests among its nearly 200 members have prevented, or frequently hindered, such collective solutions. As a rule, it has been powerful individual countries that have left their mark on the world, for better or for worse.

For this reason, the post of “world police” will not remain vacant, which would be a nice idea in itself. Every vacuum is filled as soon as it is created. If the USA steps back, others will push into the gap. You can already see it in Syria: Russia, Turkey and Iran will determine the postwar order there. In Asia, China in particular will expand its influence. Europeans may have moaned about the Americans’ often presumptuous, sometimes naive role in world politics. But the prospect of having to deal with China, Russia or Turkey as the world’s police in the future will not be an improvement.

Read more: ‘IS’ not defeated in Syria, say Germany, France and UK

2018 G7 summit in Charlevoix, Canada (twitter.com/RegSprecher)Trump has shaken up the world order — but the US is more than just Trump

Germany’s credentials insufficient

But what about the Europeans, their aptitude and their will to become a stabilizing power? They do not want to be the world’s police. But “taking on more responsibility” has become a popular slogan, especially in Germany, which Americans have long accused of being somewhat of a freeloader. However, the implications of “more responsibility” are not clear to everyone.

Any actor wanting to even approach the role the US has played up to now would firstly have to accept a significantly higher military expenditure — money that would be then lacking elsewhere. Such a nation would have to be prepared to send its own soldiers on combat missions all over the world and to accept the inevitable casualties. It would have to put up with being seen as an enemy in many parts of the world. It would also have to be convinced of the global role model character of its own system and attempt to assert it widely. As for Germany, at any rate, none of these political and social preconditions can be met.

DW's Christoph Hasselbach

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DW’s Christoph Hasselbach

EU as world police is wishful thinking

The idea remains that the European Union as a whole could take on the task. As an alliance of democratic states with a great deal of economic and military weight, plus a lot of soft power, it would theoretically be perfect for the post. But only theoretically. When the EU is called upon to act as a stabilizing force, it is the individual countries — usually the former great powers Great Britain and France — that step into the breach. The United Kingdom will soon be leaving the EU. But even France and Germany are too different to make a good police team, as the question of military operations in Libya and Syria have shown. A global EU of 27, on the other hand, is pure wishful thinking.

What is emerging instead is a range of regional power centers and, depending on the crisis, varying cooperation. The Americans may no longer play the dominant role, but they will continue to play a very important one. For their part, without any real will to militarily intervene, Europeans are unlikely to move beyond being a regional power in the foreseeable future. But it is precisely because they share the same values — a fact which is currently being forgotten — that Europeans and Americans should continue to seek close links on global political issues. After all, the US is more than Donald Trump.

US offers safety and job security to Taliban

December 27, 2018

Eager to persuade Taliban to join the Afghan peace process, the United States is offering them a safety network that includes creating job opportunities for the insurgents.

As the United States, Pakistan, China, Russia and other world powers expedite efforts to encourage the Taliban to join the Afghan peace process, the US Defence Department has also outlined a plan for rehabilitating the rebels in a new Afghanistan.

A Pentagon plan submitted to Congress says Afghan Taliban will "only rejoin society if they believe their safety and the safety of their families are guaranteed". — File photo
A Pentagon plan submitted to Congress says Afghan Taliban will “only rejoin society if they believe their safety and the safety of their families are guaranteed”. — File photo

“Although some members of the Taliban may be weary of fighting and ready to lay down their weapons, they will only rejoin society if they believe their safety and the safety of their families are guaranteed, and if they have an opportunity to earn enough money to provide for their families,” says the plan that the Pentagon sent to Congress this week, along with proposals for addressing US security concerns and the interests of Afghanistan’s neighbours.

The Pentagon, however, notes that while local leaders are developing programmes that may offer a path to peace on a small scale, “the Afghan government has not developed a national reintegration programme”.

While the Trump administration appears keen to start withdrawing US forces from Afghanistan, the Pentagon advocates maintaining enough troops in Afghanistan to force the Taliban to join peace talks.

Over the past 16 months, the United States and its partners have used military force to drive the Taliban towards “a durable and incl­u­sive political settlement”.

The Pentagon report claims that this selective use of force persuaded the Taliban to accept the Eidul Fitr ceasefire in June. Even though the Taliban did not publicly accept the second ceasefire offer, “there’re indicators of support within the Taliban senior leadership and a desire to pursue negotiations,” it adds.

The Pentagon also supports the peace process initiated by US Special Represen­tative for Afghanistan Rec­o­n­ciliation (SRAR), Ambas­sador Zalmay Khalilizad, who has already held a series of meetings with Taliban in Qatar and the UAE and regularly visits Afghanistan and its neighbouring states, like Pakistan and India.

“Increased military pressure on the Taliban, international calls for peace, and the new SRAR’s engagements appear to be driving the Taliban to negotiations, says the Pentagon report.

The report, however, acknowledges that the Taliban control large portions of Afghanistan’s rural areas, and continue to attack poorly defended government checkpoints and rural districts.

A key element in the Pentagon’s proposal for persuading the Taliban to stay engaged in the peace process is to “ensure the long-term sustainability of the ANDSF”, which would “demonstrate to the Taliban the international communities’ firm resolve in Afghanistan”.

Published in Dawn, December 27th, 2018

https://www.dawn.com/news/1453824

Saudi Arabia slams US Senate ‘interferece’ after Yemen, Khashoggi votes

December 17, 2018

Saudi Arabia on Monday slammed as “interference” US Senate resolutions over its war in Yemen and critic Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, warning that the move could have repercussions on its strategic ties with Washington.

The Republican-controlled Senate voted on Thursday to end American military support for a Riyadh-led war in Yemen, and separately held Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman responsible for Khashoggi’s killing.

The largely symbolic vote dealt a fresh warning to President Donald Trump, who has staunchly backed the Saudi regime in the face of intense global outrage that analysts say has left the kingdom diplomatically weakened.

“The kingdom condemns the latest position of the US Senate that was based on unsubstantiated allegations and rejects the blatant interference in its internal affairs,” the foreign ministry said in a statement released by the official Saudi Press Agency.

Image result for Mohammed bin Salman, pictures

Mohammed Bin Salman (left) and his father, King Salman. The young Crown Prince was appointed in 2017 and has raised controversy over his policies and views on several foreign and domestic issues in the ultra-conservative Kingdom. (AFP/File Photo)

On the Yemen measure, which more broadly attacks the president’s prerogative to launch military action, 49 Democrats or their allies voted in favour, along with seven Republicans, while another three Republicans abstained.

The Senate also approved a resolution condemning Khashoggi’s murder and calling Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, “responsible” for it.

The Saudi ministry warned that the kingdom would not tolerate any “disrespect” of its rulers.

“This position by the US Senate sends the wrong messages to all those who want to cause a rift in Saudi-US relationship,” the ministry said.

“The kingdom hopes that it is not drawn into domestic political debates in the US to avoid any… significant negative impact on this important strategic relationship.”

‘Vulnerable to pressure’

A day after the Senate vote, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo again defended US ties with Saudi Arabia on national security grounds, saying the kingdom was a bulwark against common foe Iran.

The Senate resolution acknowledged the US-Saudi ties were “important” but called on Riyadh to “moderate its increasingly erratic foreign policy”.

“Prince Mohammed and Saudi Arabia, even prior to introduction of the Senate resolution, were discovering that the Khashoggi killing had weakened the kingdom internationally and had made it more vulnerable to pressure,” said James Dorsey, a Middle East expert at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore.

The resolutions cannot be debated in the House of Representatives before January, and would likely be vetoed in any case by Trump.

But the Senate votes send a strong message to the White House over anger on both sides of the aisle towards Riyadh.

Khashoggi, a Saudi contributor to the Washington Post, was killed on October 2 shortly after entering the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul in what Riyadh called a “rogue” operation.

The murder has tarnished Riyadh’s international reputation, and Western countries including the United States, France and Canada have placed sanctions on nearly 20 Saudi nationals.

UN chief Antonio Guterres on Sunday called for a “credible” probe into the murder.

Anger at the human cost of the war in Yemen has also prompted a harder line in Congress about the US military’s role in backing Saudi-led coalition strikes against Huthi rebels.

Since the coalition launched its campaign in 2015, the conflict has killed nearly 10,000 people, according to the World Health Organization. But some rights groups believe the toll to be far higher.

(AFP)

See a;so:

Saudi Arabia condemns US Senate ‘interference’

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-46588036

Nations ‘face extinction’ without instant climate action

December 13, 2018

Dozens of nations threatened with catastrophe from unchecked climate change warned Thursday they “face extinction” without immediate action to rein in mankind’s emissions, as UN climate talks limped towards their conclusion.

Representatives from nearly 200 nations are locked in negotiations in Poland over how to make good on the promises they made in the landmark 2015 Paris agreement aimed at limiting global temperature rises.

Talks have however hit a wall over a host of disputes ranging from adopting the newest environmental data to how the fight against climate change will be financed in future.

"We are bearing the torch for those vulnerable to climate change," Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine told the COP24 in Katowice, Poland. She is shown here addressing the UN General Assembly in September

“We are bearing the torch for those vulnerable to climate change,” Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine told the COP24 in Katowice, Poland. She is shown here addressing the UN General Assembly in September “We are bearing the torch for those vulnerable to climate change,” Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine told the COP24 in Katowice, Poland. She is shown here addressing the UN General Assembly in September AFP

But with Earth already experiencing widespread droughts, flooding and mega-storms made worse as our planet heats up, many nations simply cannot wait for action.

“We are bearing the torch for those vulnerable to climate change,” Hilda Heine, president of the Marshall Islands, told delegates at the COP24 summit.

“We represent a number of nations, like my own, that face extinction. Species of all kinds also face existential risk.”

Image result for Marshall Islands, photos

Marshall Islands

A group of 48 nations representing more than one billion people urged developed countries — responsible for the lion’s share of planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions — to pay up to help the worst affected.

“We are in Poland in the name of the children of tomorrow whose interests we must secure, compelled by science and duty,” said Emmanuel De Guzman, from the Philippines Climate Change Commission.

“We find the ambivalence of countries in these negotiations unacceptable. We are discussing here not trivial text or punctuation marks but our very survival.”

Image result for Philippines, islands, photos

Ocean levels are up in the Philippines

A major sticking point at talks scheduled to wrap up Friday remains how nations use the findings of a landmark UN report released in October.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) highlighted the need for greenhouse gas emissions to be nearly halved by 2030 and for fossil fuel use to be slashed in order to achieve the Paris goal of limiting temperature rises to 1.5C.

Four nations — the United States, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Kuwait — blocked a proposal for nations to “welcome” the IPCC report as a basis of future climate action.

Image result for ‎Maldives , islands, Photos

Part of the Maldives have already disappeared under water.

– ‘Talking and talking’ –

Delegates in the Polish mining city of Katowice must agree on a rulebook to implement the Paris accord and are encouraged to outline what they plan to do in practice ahead of a stock-taking in 2020.

But talks are dogged by competing interests, and even if the Paris pledges are realised Earth is on the path towards 3C warming — enough to tear at the fabric of society.

“We are not prepared to die,” said Mohamed Nasheed, former Maldives president and a veteran of UN climate summits.

“Perhaps now it’s time to tell ourselves some hard truths. Carbon emissions keep rising, and rising, and rising. And all we seem to be doing is talking and talking and talking. We are not winning the battle.”

AFP

Big Brother Australia cracks open encrypted messaging

December 7, 2018

A new law will require tech firms to give security agencies access to their encrypted data, a provision experts expect other Western nations to soon replicate

 SYDNEY, DECEMBER 7, 2018 1:25 PM (UTC+8)
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New Australian legislation will require tech companies to open back doors to their encryption technologies. Photo: iStock

New Australian legislation will require tech companies to open back doors to their encryption technologies. Photo: iStock

New Zealand blocks China’s Huawei from planned 5G roll out

November 28, 2018

The decision comes as Western governments are increasingly wary about possible Chinese espionage through Huawei. New Zealand mobile provider Spark said it would still roll out 5G by July 2020.

    
Huawei (Reuters/H. Hanschke)

New Zealand’s intelligence agency on Wednesday blocked mobile operator Spark from using equipment from Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei in its planned 5G roll out, citing “a significant network security risk.”

The move follows similar action by Australia earlier this year as Western powers are increasingly concerned about growing Chinese influence in the Pacific.

Read more: China and Australia compete for influence in the Pacific

The United States has pressed allied governments to ensure wireless and internet providers not use equipment from Huawei, one of the world’s largest telecommunications companies. Huawei was founded in 1987 by a former People’s Liberation Army officer.

China Huawei Ren Zhengfei (picture-alliance/AP Photo)Ren Zhengfei, a former People’s Liberation Army engineer, is the founder and CEO of Huawei.

In the statement, Spark said that the decision by the Government Communications Security Bureau was “disappointing,” but that it would not impact the launch of its 5G network by July 2020. The company said it had planned to use Huawei 5G equipment for its Radio Access Network, which involves cell tower infrastructure.

Read more: ZTE, Huawei bans: Genuine security concerns or part of China trade spat?

New Zealand is a member of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance, which includes the United States, Britain, Canada and Australia. China has long denied that Huawei-made equipment could be used as a backdoor for unauthorizied intelligence or espionage.

cw/amp (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)

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Meet the man behind the migrant caravan headed to US

October 24, 2018

Meet Bartolo Fuentes, the Honduran ex-lawmaker who helped launch the 7,000-strong caravan marching toward the United States — on a promise he says he never made.

In September, Fuentes began ­coordinating with groups dispersed throughout Honduras seeking to make the trek north.

The initial number of people involved was about 200.

“No one expected this human avalanche,” Fuentes told the Daily Beast in an interview published Tuesday.

By Marisa Schultz
New York Post

What changed everything was a TV report on HCH — a Honduran news channel.

A woman reportedly part of the caravan told TV anchors of Fuentes’ efforts, and she mentioned “assistance.” The anchors then supposedly said Fuentes would pay migrants’ food and transportation costs — which he denied in an interview.

Still, thousands took a chance, since a human-smuggling “coyote” charges upwards of $7,000 to take someone across the US border.

“After that news program, I started to get hundreds of calls, then it took on a life of its own,” Fuentes said.

“In Honduras, the government wants to minimize why people are leaving — they know they are going to leave and they want to say they are doing so because of lies and the opposition, not the conditions that they created,” he said.

“This is in line with what the United States is saying — that there are false promises being made. And this pro-government news program played into that messaging, trying to say that there is financing when really people just need to get out.”

President Trump has claimed that Democratic politicians are behind the caravan — calling it an “assault” on the United States.

He has threatened to cut off or reduce foreign-aid funding to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras for not moving to stop it.

The marchers paused in Mexico Tuesday out of respect for a Honduran migrant who fell from a vehicle Monday and died.

They have reached the Southern Mexican town of Huixtla — 1,200 miles from the Texas border.

Their efforts have inspired others to form caravans and flee Honduras, including one group with roughly 1,000 people.

“Traveling in a group is cheaper and it’s safer,” said Yareli Guillen, a 19-year-old migrant from San Pedro Sula in the new group. “Everything is in God’s hands. If it doesn’t work, I’ll be right back to where I am now.”

Fuentes had been traveling with the larger caravan from Honduras, but was detained when the migrants reached Guatemala and was deported.

“This is a battle,” Fuentes said, “between the government and the ones who want to fight — for the truth and for a better country that people can live in.”

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