Thursday, July 24, 2014

Robert Reich: Fleeing Children Are "Refugees Of The Drug War We Created"

In two Facebook posts, Robert Reich states that the “United States is not a detached, innocent bystander” when it comes to the refugee crisis and reminds us that the women and children fleering Central America are “refugees of the drug war we’ve created.” Reich argues that our past support for brutal right-wing regimes in Central America followed by our indifference to these countries after the fall of the Soviet Union created destruction, poverty, and gangs and cartels supplying the U.S. with drugs. Further, those who show hatred toward child refugees, many escaping from violence, are the same as those who despise a wide variety of groups:

For decades, U.S. governments supported unspeakably brutal regimes and poured billions into maintaining them ($5 billion in El Salvador alone). Implacable opposition to communism—often defined as virtually any reformer—gave these regimes a blank check. The result is a legacy of dealing with opponents through extreme violence and a culture of impunity. Judicial systems remain weak, corrupt, and often completely dysfunctional. After the cold war ended, the United States lost interest in these countries. What was left was destruction, tens of thousands dead, and massive population displacement. The percentage of people living below the poverty line is 54 percent for Guatemala, 36 percent for El Salvador,and 60 percent for Honduras. More recently gangs, organized crime, and drug cartels feeding the US market have become part of this unholy mix.

...The haters direct their venom not just at child refugees seeking asylum from the drug war we created, but also at gays who want to marry, African-Americans who want to vote and exercise their other rights of citizenship, women who seek abortions, or even women in general, Latinos who want their children to be taught in Spanish, immigrants in general, Muslims, Jews, government “bureaucrats,” the poor and needy, anyone who dares suggest a required background check before buying guns, people they call “liberals” or “socialists” or “communists,” even the President of the United States.


Michael J. Mand said...

Our continued support for "unspeakably brutal regimes", in support of what we believe to be our ultimate interests, fuels the percetion that the world exists to serve America and adds to the resentment others feel towards us. We seem to treat people of other countries as second class world citizens who have not yet earned the rights we take for granted. We learned nothing from Iran 35 years ago.

Reich is right. The children at our border are victims of a situation that is much of our own making. We owe them more than our scorn.

Once again, the ugly American appears on the world scene. And we wonder why we are not universally praised for our unprecedented genrosity. We don't seem to understand that charity cannot buy love or admiration.

Jeff Tone said...

On your last point, we are certainly not charitable with our treatment of these children. How many of those screaming at them at the border have no immigrants in their background? How many of their ancestors passed the Statue of Liberty, which displays Emma Lazarus's poem?