Wed, 04 Oct 2023

Willful ignorance

19 May 2023, 18:30 GMT+10

The Times' May 12 headline "What's Driving Record Levels of Migration to the U.S. Border?" was followed by this subhed: "The United States is trying to curtail border crossings as a Covid-era immigration policy lifts this week, but it has little control over the crises in Latin America that have upended the lives of millions."

The Times' egregious observations continue in paragraph four: "Economic shocks were worsened byviolence, as conflict between armed groups festered in once relatively peaceful countries and raged in places long accustomed to the terror."

As a longtime reporter, scholar and sometime resident of "Latin America," allow me to say: Give me a break. Where do you think the "terror" came from?

The United States has mistreated, manhandled, lied to and lied about Latin America for centuries, and continues to do so today, abetted by a lazy and ignorant press and Congress and their hyperventilating about immigration.

This intentional ignorance of U.S. brutality and subversion of democracy in our hemisphere resembles in far too many ways today's right-wing Republicans' attacks upon, and prohibition of, teaching the history of race relations in our public schools.

It resembles too China's strangling of news about its gulag in Xinjiang, and Vladimir Putin's ban on reporting on his neo-Stalinist repression in Russia.

Let's cut to the chase: In the nine generations since President James Monroe proclaimed his Doctrine - laying claim to an entire hemisphere - the United States has inflicted far more harm upon the peoples of our hemisphere than any other "foreign powers" - of which we are one. But the buzzards are settling home to roost.

And, by the way, how is the Monroe Doctrine different from the claims of the old Soviet Union to rule its "sphere of influence"?

In its ignorant May 12 article, Times reporters cited emigration from these countries:

Venezuela - which Congress and the White House have placed under de facto embargo;

Colombia - where U.S. corporations hired death squads to suppress agricultural unions;

Nicaragua - against whom we have waged war for a century;

Mexico - whose presidents, for decades, were on the CIA payroll.

In its blinkered, idiotic article, the Times neglected to mention a few countries:

Guatemala - where a CIA-sponsored military coup against Jacobo Arbenz's elected government in 1954 was followed by 70 years of massacres of hundreds of thousands of indigenous Mayas;

Honduras - where Hillary Clinton's and Barack Obama's support of that country's military coup in 2009 - again, against a popularly elected president - helped that country's military and political class become aiders and abettors of the cocaine drug cartels' smuggling routes to the United States; and,

El Salvador - where we helped the government rule by terror, and trained and armed their death squads, at the cost of some 250,000 lives - most of them Mayan, under President Reagan.

And let's not forget Chile (CIA-backed coup in 1973); Brazil (CIA-backed army coup in 1964); Argentina (CIA-backed military coups in 1966 and 1976); and CIA-backed military coups in Paraguay (1954); Uruguay (1973); Haiti and Cuba (don't get me started); and our decades-long support for the murderous dictator Rafael Trujillo in the Dominican Republic (1930-1961).

This long and repellent history - not "communist subversion" - is why the United States is "losing" Latin America to China, Korea, Brazil, whoever: anyone who treats those brown people better than we do.

When it comes to freedom, democracy, capitalism and all that good stuff, the United States has just been kidding, for centuries and counting, in Latin America.

Our repulsive policies continue in the Biden administration's crusade against Nayib Bukele, the president of El Salvador, and the most-admired leader in Latin America today. El Salvador, for years the homicide capital of the world, is now the safest country in Central America.

I wish the Times, the Washington Post, et al., would send their reporters to Salvadoran slums such as Soyapango, whose residents, workers and vendors are finally free of the extortion, rape and murders inflicted by the MS-13 and Diez y Ocho gangs, which the fascist ARENA and thoroughly corrupt FMLN parties paid for votes.

Too dangerous to go to the barrios, Post and Times?

Not anymore.

I shall end on a personal note, from my years as a high school track coach.

Sometime ago, I saw a Navajo kid take the lead on the last lap of the 3,200-meter race to be the state champ. He looked back at the others, including my guys, and shouted: "Quit kidding!"

Yeah. Let's quit kidding ourselves. Millions of people in "our hemisphere" are suffering, dying of hunger and preventable diseases, and what are we doing to help them?

Spewing lies. Prohibiting knowledge, and study. Just like public schools in Florida. And the old Soviet Union.

Source: Courthouse News Service

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