Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke blamed the United States for the drought in Guatemala while speaking in South Carolina on Monday night.
The former Texas congressman participated in the College of Charleston's "Bully Pulpit" candidate series, where he blamed the United States for multiple events in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.
"With the people of Honduras and Guatemala and El Salvador, reduce violence in their home communities, violence which we are somewhat to blame for," O'Rourke said. "The civil wars that we have been involved in, the drug trade that we facilitated, the war on drugs that is militarized and hollowed out their civic institutions in their home countries."
"And Guatemala, suffering one of the greatest droughts in their recorded history, caused not by God nor by Mother Nature, but by you and me and all of us in our emissions and our excess and our inaction in the face of the facts and the science and the truth," he continued.
Reuters reported earlier this month that Guatemala has faced recurring droughts over the last five years, which have "destroyed maize and bean harvests, leaving poor subsistence farmers in the so-called Dry Corridor that runs through Guatemala."
A 2018 survey by the U.N. World Food Program (WFP) found that 8% of families interviewed in the Dry Corridor, mostly small-scale farmers, said they plan to migrate because they lack food.
Some 1.4 million people living in the Dry Corridor need food aid, according to the WFP, which aims to help 700,000 people this year in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. So far 160,000 people have received support.
During the event, O'Rourke also expressed support for abortion the day before birth. He was asked by a pro-life man in the audience whether his life didn't have value the day before he was born.
"Of course I don’t think that," O'Rourke said. But he then said the "decision [should be] left up to the mother."