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Ignorance is this

November 9, 2023

The late, great writer Chuck Bowden told me: “Americans are willing to do anything about immigration except read about it.” Still true. Look at the ignorance with which the subject is treated today.

Robert Kahn

By Robert Kahn

Deputy editor emeritus, Courthouse News

The New York Times published a shortsighted piece on immigration on page A23 of its Sunday, Nov. 5 edition, under the headline: “Several Factors Add Up to Illegal Border Crossings Being at Sustained Highs.”

The fourth paragraph of this mishmash states: “Shifting U.S. policies, global migration patterns and changing migrant demographics all factor into the high levels of illegal border crossings of the past few years.”

I am tempted to say here: “No shit, Sherlock, where’d you get the clue?” but I shall refrain. Oops.

This slapdash article reaches all the way back to March 2020 to fail to examine emigration.

This is like trying to explain the wars in Ukraine and Israel by looking all the way back to March 2020.

The problem, if it is a problem, is not immigration: it’s emigration. I haven’t seen that word for years, in our country’s media.

I can tell you in one word why people are coming to the United States: Hunger.

Let’s go back a century or so to look at U.S. history in our hemisphere, where most of our emigrants come from. Let’s look too at paragraph nine of the clueless Times article, which states: “Gang violence in Central America has forced many to flee. Economic shock, violence and political forces have displaced millions.”

Could it possibly be that the United States had anything to do with this? The Times didn’t bother to ask.

Well, the two gangs that held El Salvador in a state of terror until President Nayib Bukele cleaned them up — Barrio 18 and MS 13 — were formed in Los Angeles (with U.S. “values”?), then we deported them to El Salvador.

Economic shock? Violence? Political forces?

Here are a few times the United States “intervened” in Latin America, in the same way Vladimir Putin is “intervening” in Ukraine today.

Argentina: CIA-backed military coup in 1976 ushers in the military dictatorship of Lt. Gen. Jorge Rafael Videla, and a “dirty war” of state torture and terrorism that claims 20,000 to 30,000 lives

Bolivia 1971: CIA and Pentagon sponsor a coup to install Hugo Banzer as military dictator; he reigns for seven years, during which more than 8,000 Bolivians were tortured by the state

Brazil 1964: CIA-backed coup installs a 21-year military dictatorship

Chile 1973: CIA-backed coup assassinates elected president Salvador Allende and installs Augusto Pinochet, whose reign tortures and murders tens of thousands; U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger commented: “We’re not going to let Chile go communist because of the irresponsibility of its own people”

Colombia: U.S. trains and funds death squads who specifically target union organizers

Cuba 1961: Failed U.S. military invasion followed by 62 years of military threats and economic strangulation

Dominican Republic 1963: Our military invasion ousts the country’s first democratically elected president, Juan Bosch, and installs the allegedly “moderate pro-American government” of Rafael Trujillo, a terrorist dictator who reigned for 31 years, until he was assassinated

Ecuador: CIA infiltrated and bribed government officials, destabilizing the entire region, as described by CIA whistleblower Philip Agee in his 1975 book, “Inside the Company”

El Salvador: Perhaps the most vomitous of all our CIA and Pentagon’s interventions; our military’s School of the Americas trained and funded the death squads that tortured, raped and murdered more than 80,000 Salvadorans, under the reign of President Ronald Reagan; when George H.W. Bush became president of the United States, he ended the war with a few phone calls

Grenada 1979: a pointless and useless U.S. military invasion of a tiny island for public relations purposes: Ronald Reagan flexing other people’s muscles

Guatemala 1954: CIA-backed coup, inspired by U.S. corporations, initiates the slaughter of a quarter of a million Guatemalans, most of them Mayas; the greatest Holocaust in this hemisphere since the 16th century

Haiti: Repeated U.S. interventions in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere are not solely responsible for that country’s misery, but have done nothing to alleviate it

Honduras: We turned Honduras into an armed camp during the Contra war, then Hillary Clinton, in her ignorancebacked a military coup in 2009, turning the country into a trampoline for cartels shipping cocaine to the United States

Nicaragua: The entire 20th century; don’t get me started

Panama 1989: U.S. military invasion ousts Manuel Noriega, a CIA asset who became too blatant in the cocaine trade

Uruguay: 1973: CIA-backed military coup institutes a reign of state terror

Venezuela today: Economic strangulation

“Illegal immigration?” What’s illegal about fleeing a country with which we are waging economic war, or actual war? Emigration is legal in every country I’ve heard of, except, possibly, Russia today.

So tell me, Gentle Reader, how is what we have done for the past 70 years throughout the Western Hemisphere different from what Vlad the Impaler is doing in Ukraine today?

Ain’t no difference at all.

Categories / Immigration, International, Op-Ed

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