What’s at Stake in the Border Debate

The vital TomDispatch has a piece by Aviva Chomsky, titled ‘America’s Continuing Border Crisis’ discussing the recent ‘news’ of migrants coming from Central America to the United States. It was only news because the media decided that it was (isn’t that the way.)

Chomsky tells us more about the issues here and the reasons, and it really isn’t rocket science.

The situation is not really hard to grasp. There are three main reasons that Central American youth are crossing the border: they are fleeing lack of opportunity; they are fleeing violence; and they are seeking to reunite with parents and other family members already in the United States. Although the media talk about “Central American children,” almost all of the detainees are, in fact, coming from only three of the six countries of Central America: Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. There are almost none from Belize, Nicaragua, or Costa Rica. Anybody who remembers the 1980s can probably guess why. The enormous quantities of military “aid” that the United States poured into Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras helped create an environment of violently enforced inequality whose bitter fruits are still being reaped.

She goes on to discuss the real crisis and if it can be solved.

U.S. policies directly led to today’s crises in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. Since Washington orchestrated the overthrow of the reformist, democratically elected government of Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954, it has consistently cultivated repressive military regimes, savagely repressed peasant and popular movements for social change, and imposed economic policies including so-called free trade ones that favor foreign investors and have proven devastating to the rural and urban poor.

Refugees from U.S.-sponsored dirty wars in Guatemala and El Salvador — mostly peasants whose communities had been subjected to scorched-earth policies and the depredations of right-wing death squads — began to pour into the United States in the 1980s. The refugee flood from Honduras didn’t begin until the United States supported a military coup against that country’s elected leftist president in 2009. The youths crossing the border today are often the children and grandchildren of those initial refugees, and are fleeing the endemic violence and economic destruction left behind by the wars and the devastation that resulted from them. In other words, the policies that led to the present “crisis” were promoted over the decades with similar degrees of enthusiasm by Republicans and Democrats.

It is totally reasonable for a migrant from Guatemala to tell anyone who will listen in the US:

Yo estoy aquí porque ustedes estaban allí.

You can read the full article here.

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Categories: Human Rights, Poverty, Violence

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