Rights Action
January 14, 2109

More Refugee Caravans Coming from Honduras and Guatemala
January 13, 2019, Letter to the New York Times
The NYT reported (“A New Migrant Caravan Forms, and Old Battle Lines Harden”, on yet another caravan of impoverished, repression- and corruption-scarred Hondurans preparing to walk out of Honduras, through Guatemala and Mexico, to seek asylum in the U.S..  It is likely many Guatemalans will again join in.
And again, the NYT did not report on how the U.S. – dating back generations and, in recent history, since the U.S. and Canadian backed military coup in 2009 – has helped create and re-create the now endemic conditions of exploitation and destitution, government repression and violence, corruption in all branches of the Honduran State and government, and impunity for the political-military-economic elites and their international business and political partners.
These are the very conditions that force so many to flee.
It is not narrowly that “the deeply unpopular presidents of Honduras and Guatemala [are] tarnished by scandal”, as the NYT reports – though they are. Rather, both governments and their militaries and economic elites are characterized by exploitation and impoverishment of their majority populations, repression against community/ human rights/ environmental defenders, corruption and impunity.
The challenge in the U.S. is not only to address legally and humanely the needs of 10s of 1000s of Hondurans and Guatemalans fleeing every year, but more importantly to put an end to the underlying causes of their destitution, fear and flight.
This means the North American media needs to start regularly reporting – as a public policy issue - on how the U.S. and Canadian governments, companies and investors actually help cause (and sometimes profit from) the underlying causes. This means that U.S. and Canadian citizens, politicians and government officials have to demand and bring about fundamental reforms to how the U.S. and Canada are politically, economically and militarily fueling the fires of destitution, repression and flight in Honduras and Guatemala.
Grahame Russell, Rights Action

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