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  •  Also disgusting that the parents would send them (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IT Professional, gagme

    north without basic necessities.

      •  If staying put is a death sentence (7+ / 0-)

        ...the why don't you ask why that is? And why the fuck the US state department isn't doing anything about it?

        We, the US, have been spending billions each years for decades in Latin America to make sure democracy fails, and labor movements die, and psychopaths friendly to US corporate interests rule, but we can't seem to help these people survive?

        Oh yeah, this is a country that's about to deny a million people access to drinking water. What was I thinking?

        IS allowing another 20 million immigrants to flood into our cities really the best solution to the crisis facing these people?

        Liberals. Don't you realize that the flood of immigrants into our cities is killing what's left of the social programs liberals enacted? Our public education system, our hospitals etc etc etc.

        Ask any mayor in any American city what a flood of undocumented, non-english speaking people does to their social programs. To their budgets.

        The solution is to help these people at their homes. To demand from our leaders to stop sending our dogs over there to destroy their democracies and to allow them to enact socially responsible economic policies.

        We need to stop allowing US and international banksters robbing these people's countries. We need to stop allowing corporations to exploit and rob them for their natural resources.

        •  If you are trying to use Liberal as a dirty word (28+ / 0-)

          in this context I have to wonder if you even belong here.

          Is that how you intended it? That's the way it read to me.

          The only hawk I like is the kind that has feathers. My birding blogs: http://thisskysings.wordpress.com/ and canyonbirds.net

          by cany on Tue Jul 22, 2014 at 12:00:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  You assume (24+ / 0-)

          that I don't ask why that is. I certainly do.

          But solving the broader issue is not incongruous with understanding why desperate parents might do desperate things to try to get their children a better life. Getting your children away from forced servitude with criminal gangs isn't entirely different than the Kindertransport that my own people had no choice but to utilize.

          Unapologetic Obama supporter.

          by Red Sox on Tue Jul 22, 2014 at 12:00:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  It's the drugs dummy! (17+ / 0-)

          These kids aren't fleeing US corporations or international banks. They're fleeing drug cartels and gangs fueled by our out-dated and ineffectual drug war.

        •  so tempted to HR you for this (25+ / 0-)
          Don't you realize that the flood of immigrants into our cities is killing what's left of the social programs liberals enacted? Our public education system, our hospitals etc etc etc.
          Totally baseless. And disgusting. And stupid.
          20 million immigrants to flood into our cities
          Oh! How will America ever survive a flood of immigrants?
        •  BINGO! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JuliathePoet

          Yes, indeed!  The US has a very long history of poor relations with Latin America.  

          And conservatives and many liberals alike continue to scratch their heads and wonder why there are so many people from all over Latin America here in the US --- documented and undocumented, endangered children, etc., etc...

          (I've given up on scratching my head a number of years ago, as I am going bald...:))

        •  IT is very sad. (6+ / 0-)

          that we cannot stop our crazy greedy politicians and corporations from destroying our own country.

          I don't have much hope of stoping them from destroying other countries. I can be honest enough to say that this flood of people terrifies me. But in the shoes of these parents and children, I would do the same thing. I would get them somewhere safer and damn the cost. So how can I judge them?

          My family came here on the Mayflower to escape England. I have to say that I am glad the American Indians didn't give them teddybears and drive them back into the ocean to die.

          The world as we have known it is collapsing. Who knows how long any of us will be here. How do you want to live the time you have? By protecting children, or sending them home to die?

          •  Yes! and how many ancestors came here to escape (10+ / 0-)

            the horror of whatever situation they had at home? We are all descended from people searching for a better place, even the First Nation peoples who came over an icy land bridge.

            The road to excess leads to the palace of Wisdom, I must not have excessed enough

            by JenS on Tue Jul 22, 2014 at 06:41:48 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yes. (9+ / 0-)

              And it is never lost on me that the indians would have been better off handing out those teddy bears, and putting us back on those ships.

              Maybe these children will kill us all, and save the planet from our greedy rich men. Maybe that's what needs to happen.

              If you think about it, these are the children who made it all the way here. Through Mexico. Through the drug cartels. through the human traffickers who must be out there hunting them. Through the weather, with or without food and shelter. Through places like Juarez.

              These are not your average children. These are the tough ones. The smart ones. The blessed ones. Maybe we wend them home. If they manage to grow up, we should expect a reckoning.

              I wonder how many didn't make it.

              •  Azubia -- I've been to Juarez (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                SilentBrook

                it's a lot like, oh, South Dallas or East Central LA.

                Don't be slinging so broad a brush, there.

                LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

                by BlackSheep1 on Tue Jul 22, 2014 at 10:12:29 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  One broad brush stroke for every woman (5+ / 0-)

                  Who has disappeared from that area, abandoned by the Mexican government, and never been found. Two more broad brush strokes for every woman raped, mutilated and murdered that was found.

                  Last year we did a production of the Women of Juarez.
                  The play may be a few years old, but I had to do a great deal of research for the production, and I put together the lobby display, which was designed to shake up the students when they came in to see the show. And inform them during the intermission. Shake them up I did. The photos of dead and missing women will haunt me the rest of my life. Women in morgues, women in garbage cans, women in ditches. Hundreds of women on posters. Most of them children.

                  The play might be dated, but the research isn't. Horrible. Horrible.

                  The impression I have of Juarez is that the main parts of town set up for night life and to lure tourists from across the border aren't so bad. Where the people who work in the factories live... That's another thing. And the factory work is pretty brutal as well. They don't care about the women who work there. Another will be along to work for pennies on the next bus.

                  The thought of children crossing through that area on their own turns my stomach. How many are half buried out there in that desert, along with all the women who have died and been forgotten. Did you know any of that was happening?

              •  If they're that tough we should want them to stay (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Azubia, SilentBrook

                And become super citizens.

                The road to excess leads to the palace of Wisdom, I must not have excessed enough

                by JenS on Tue Jul 22, 2014 at 10:32:41 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  james Hepburn - I'm for returning those who don't (5+ / 0-)

          have valid refugee claims. But the issue isn't letting millions in to stay (although some kossacks seem to want to abolish the border.)
             The issue is that our immigration detention facilities are built to accommodate 9,000 people and we have 57,000 kids in custody.
            Most of these kids are going home. But the law entitled them to a hearing before they're deported, and the hearing system has a backlog of a year and a half.

          •  Please don't misunderstand my position (0+ / 0-)

            I'm for letting these kids go free, to relatives or whatever they need.

            I was speaking to the broader issue of illegal immigration and its root causes.

            •  But you aren't working with facts (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Evan Stevens

              You're working with stupid numbers like 20 million!

              I agree that we have to stop supporting dictators (not coincidental at all that this flow started after the Honduran coup, which basically sold the country to narcotraffickers)

              And I personally think that a lot of the drug trade has CIA backing.....so what a mess this all is.

              Helping a food pantry on the Cheyenne River Reservation,Okiciyap.

              by betson08 on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 10:36:55 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Regarding the valid refugee claims (0+ / 0-)
            I'm for returning those who don't (5+ / 0-)
            have valid refugee claims.
            Without getting into a long discussion, I think it is very different to say: the person was able to convince a judge, which can go both ways (false claims accepted, or real claims denied). I have known some in both camps.
            On the other hand, if you mean as valid refugee claims a 50% chance that the child will be alive by his/her 25th birthday, then all of them would qualify. I don't think the kids could be able to defend their case because they can't even explain their situation to an attorney. It is a common practice over there: coercion by threat of killing or kidnapping your child if you don't do as we tell you. If you decide that it would be safer for your child to smuggle him/her out of town because you know that sooner or later you won't be able to comply and your child's life is at stake, you are not going to explain that to your child, you will say: "I will always love you, but you will be happier with Aunt Sally. It's just for a short time, I will meet you there soon..." even if you know you will be shot next day. You do that because you don't want to worry your kid. In other words, unless you ask the parents, you will never know. To me, all of them if you get the full story, which they don't know, have valid refugee claims.  
        •  It might also help to cool it on the war on drugs. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Garveys Ghost, Kaylea, Evan Stevens

          Main beneficiary of or war on drugs seems to be our too big to fail patent drug firms getting a little help in fending off some of their competition.

        •  ????? (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Kaylea, raspberryberet, Nodin

          WHY DOES EVERY ISSUE IN THIS COUNTRY BOIL DOWN TO LIBERAL VS CONSERVATIVE?  Honestly, I am so sick and tired of these overused cliches.  Those in power effectively use these two words to divide people with common interests.  I look at scumbags like Boehner and Pelosi and I say to myself:  All of these issues are part of a game, a game to see who wins elections.  If you too the 536 or so elected representatives, if we could find 50 people whose primary concern was representing the best interests of the country, good governance, I'd be surprised.  These so called leaders are interested in keeping their jobs and representing the entities that pay for their elections.  To win elections they have to used a divide and conquer strategy.  I wouldn't be surprised if they met behind closed doors to discuss this openly.  We the people must stop using cliches to label each other.  All we're doing is cutting our own throats.

          Red Sox has an excellent point.  What are the unintended consequences of allowing more people to come into this country?  I don't care who they are.  If we used the funds we spend annually fighting a lost drug war to help these people help themselves everyone would be better off.  The US must legalize or at least decriminalize use of drugs because the war was lost the day it began.  What has the drug war accomplished?  More or less what Prohibition accomplished.  The establishment of an entrenched well organized and well funded mafia.  The war on drugs has accomplished the same thing.  It's time to redirect drug war funds to something positive.  Legalize drugs and tax them.  The amount of money we spend fighting drug cartels and incarcerating those were catch is killing us.  Calif. has the largest prison population in the world, most of the inmates jailed for drug related crimes.

          As for why people from the south come north...for decades the US has propped up two bit dictators that permitted US corporations to exploit their land and people.  In the 1990s, when use of dictators lost its appeal in the north, we created NAFTA, which gutted Mexican agriculture, the industry that provides 70% of Mexican jobs.  Mexican agriculture is not mechanized and it can't compete with the US and Canada.  People think unemployment is bad among inner city blacks (it is); that's how it is all over Mexico.  25 to 30% unemployment is common.  People are starving.  Why?  Because the Gringos did it again only this time they didn't need to install a friendly military dictator.  They got the Mexican legislature to cut their own throats.

          My point is that the human tragedy along the southern US border is a tragedy of our making.  It was caused by conservative or liberals.  ty was created by politicians, Republican and Democratic, doing their master's bidding.  Unless Americans wake up and realize that the majority of the people we elect to office don't represent our interests or the interests of this country, one day we shall all wake up and realize we no longer have a country.

        •  Surviving immigration? (5+ / 0-)

          Let's see.  What kind of name is "Hepburn"?  Doesn't sound native american to me, so somehow America survived the onslaught of Hepburns hitting our shores, whenever they came.

          Insofar as our social programs are concerned, there's no difference between "legal" and "illegal" immigrants, except that illegal ones must contribute to many of them without being eligible to receive any benefits.

          It's true that American policies -- notably, the inane fight against drugs not patented by Big Pharma that has failed miserably for some eight decades now, and the doctrine of "American exceptionalism" as invented by the brothers Dulles and treated as gospel by American jingoists  -- have fueled the conditions these Central American children are fleeing.  It is not true that illegal immigrants are responsible for the destruction of our safety net; that responsibility falls squarely on the shoulders of those who believe that suffering is good for the soul (specifically, other peoples' souls) and that government largesse creates a sad dependency (unless it is largesse to the wealthy and the incorporated).

          •  WELL SAID CAPTAINLEFTY!! Paul Ryan And The (0+ / 0-)

            conservatives/teabaggers/Republicans in Congress are responsible for "destroying the social safety net" by demanding austerity and doing the bidding of their corporate masters.

        •  Fucking THANK YOU!!! (3+ / 0-)

          This is REAL LOVE.

          Making it so that these children DON'T HAVE to come here as refugees!

          Let's talk about altering the US policy that causes this very situation.  And let's open our arms in welcome to those who come here because they WANT to be here....and let's make sure those who don't REALLY want to come here...and want to remain in their homelands...can do so!

          These children coming in now are, yes, by the letter of the law, criminals.  But there's times when the law is stupid and blind...and directly counter to our nation's fine tradition of taking in refugees (the one time we failed to do this, in 1939 with the Jews...is a blight on our history)  Let's not repeat that.

          These kids need to be given safe haven, after all, WE are the ones who caused the problems in their homelands that they are now fleeing from.  Meanwhile, let's work to change the US policy that is making refugees of these people...so that only those who WANT to be here will come?

          And those...we should welcome with open hearts and open arms.  It's time to stop being so stupid.

          If you build roads into a foreign country to steal their precious natural resources to enrich yourself at their expense...don't be surprised when those very same people start using those very same roads coming in search of that which was taken from them.

          "Manifest Destiny" has caused more grief to more people in the world than most any other US policy, and it's time we ended it.

        •  James, I have gotten to know some refugees. Have (5+ / 0-)

          You?  The ones I have met worked very hard, the only help they got was from churches and organizations that helped refugees.  I believe it is not even possible for them to get help from things like food stamps and welfare. I know some who were college educated professionals in their home countries, who are working 2 or 3 minimum wage jobs here.  I used to know a lady from Vietnam who sent for one of her seven children every year by sewing children's clothing and selling them.  Her children were well behaved and learned english quickly and became top students.  I have worked with Bosnians and Sudanese women who will work their fingers to the bone to support their own familys.  You obviously have never met such people.  I admire them, the guts they had to have to imigrate to a new country, with a new language, new customs, so they and their families could survive.  The ones I knew were legal imigrants, but how much harder must it be to be an illegal one, to not have the support at all of churches, or social organizations, to find you are actually hated and dispised?  The way this country is going, someday we may find ourselves in their shoes.  Maybe some of us should think about that.

        •  With your tax money? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Poor in a Rich World

          Yep, you make a compelling argument BUT conservatives don't even want recipients of food stamps to buy a can of pop. Conservatives don't even want to extend long term unemployment benefits for Americans. Are we to believe that conservatives would actually allow their tax money to help another country of brown people when we don't have much use for brown people here in this country? Seriously?

          The fact is... we got to this point in HUMAN history because more of us are concerned with SELF than we are with our brothers. We don't give a damn about the people who live next door. Don't pretend we actually care about people who live in another country. You just want them to go away.

          Corporations do whatever the hell they want to do and no one has checked their hand in ages, especially conservatives. Not even when they outsourced American jobs to utilize slave labor and pollute the air and water in third world countries. The money we spend in Latin America...where do you imagine that it is going? Do you really believe that poor people in America receive the money the government allocates for their benefit? The wealthy are receiving every dime.

          The solution is always to help... but I don't see a lot of help available to people who live in dangerous neighborhoods in this country. So start with the man in the mirror. Liberals? We are capable of learning. SHOW US.  Talk is cheap and your argument is very weak. If you really believe what it is that you are saying, you just might be on the wrong side of the aisle.

          •  The money we spend in Latin America (0+ / 0-)

            Is mostly given to the local governments, in many cases for specific projects. I have seen it redirected: when President  Carter said he would not give a single dime to the military until human rights violations would stop and instead he was allocating that aid to "widows of the violence" in the conflict zones, that got turned around to be given to "projects" by the wives of top Guatemalan army commanders, and back into the army. Some of the funds went to "benefit" those women by setting up a sweatshop (maquiladora) under the direction of the zone captain's wife. Gave new meaning to "work harder or I'll have you fired" (sorry for the attempt at humor), but those workers were very much slaves and reaped no benefit of their project. Most of the time those in power, in those countries will find a way to turn any foreign aid to keep their own power through violence. I am sure some at the top government positions over there are friends with top cartel leaders and that is not speculation, so they will not want to combat them, just pretend.

        •  Mr. Hepburn, I do you the courtesy of believing... (3+ / 0-)

          ...that you are sincere. And I do agree, completely, that we need "to stop sending our dogs over there to destroy their democracies..."

          I would include many corporate suits, as well as government suits, in with those dogs.

          But at the moment, a more important issue, sir, is that THOSE CHILDREN DO NOT BELONG IN CAGES. Nor should they be sent back, willy-nilly, to families that may already be dead in their "homes."

          So while you work to improve the quality of people we send overseas, I'd suggest you take a closer look at the current critical situation. THESE ARE CHILDREN.

          One size of anything NEVER fits all.

          by KDfrAZ on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 08:21:55 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Poor in a Rich World

          Your comments deserve a gold medal.  We have screwed up royally and we need to own up to our national sins.

        •  I agree with James (0+ / 0-)

          We need to help other countries to establish fair democracies, or we're going to continue on the path of losing our own.

      •  And to assume that they actually (13+ / 0-)

        had parents to send them north.

        There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

        by Cali Scribe on Tue Jul 22, 2014 at 12:47:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  AMEN (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Poor in a Rich World

        Not being able to provide basic necessities is the reason why they were sent north in the first place!

        Helping a food pantry on the Cheyenne River Reservation,Okiciyap.

        by betson08 on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 10:33:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Gosh, maybe their nannies forgot to pack (55+ / 0-)

      their Crest for kids and Little Kitty underwear.  Or maybe they live in fucking poverty or they've spent all they have just trying to get their kids to a safe place.  Only to have people who throw away more than many people eat in a day put them in kennels.  But if it make you feel better to judge the parents have at it.  

      "Speak the TRUTH, even if your voice shakes."

      by stellaluna on Tue Jul 22, 2014 at 12:03:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You Clearly Don't KNow Much (18+ / 0-)

      about why they are on the move.

      Newt 2012. Sociopath, adulterer, hypocrite, Republican.

      by tikkun on Tue Jul 22, 2014 at 12:11:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Or desperate. (25+ / 0-)

      The only way I would send my children away from me as these parents have done, is if I expected to die myself and knew I would not be there to protect them.

      I think we are not talking fight or flight. I think we are talking flight or die.

      •  At 87 murders per 1000 (0+ / 0-)

        Any random person has a less than 1% chance of being killed.  

        How this translates to an expectation of death is quite a stretch.

        So unless these kids are part of a families that are actively engaged in gangs or some other activities, it would be unreasonable to assume you were about to be killed. Right?

        •  May I respectfully ask where you are (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SilentBrook

          getting those numbers?

          Are they truly what is happening, or what is being reported?

        •  When the crisis was first noticed by the media, it (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          IT Professional

          was reported that human smugglers were spreading the story that the US had a policy of automatically admitting minors "so they could make money."
             That seems to be true, since the kids are crossing the border and turning themselves in rather than trying to fade into the general population.
             Meanwhile, the Mexican and Guatemalan government have signed an agreement which gives the kids three days of legal residency in Mexico, which allows them time to cross Mexico and try to get into the US.
             The US government is paying for radio and TV ads in the region to counter that rumor and emphasize the dangers of the trip.
             Meanwhile, this has been a bonanza for the coyotes, who are charging parents and relatives thousands of dollars to get the kids into the US.
             There doesn't seem to be in sudden upsurge in violence in El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. Indeed, those nations have ongoing tourist industries.

        •  That "random" assumes each citizen has equal risk. (0+ / 0-)

          Of course, a lawless gang working to transport contraband has particular demographics in mind. Young "recruits" and young "social entertainers" probably top the list for kidnappings and murder, with far less frequent confrontations in police/gang shootouts. The very old and very young are probably comparatively very safe from murder. I think for ages 12-25, the murder rate is closer to 87 per 250, assuming that kidnappings sometimes are counted as murders without proof/yet to occur. I'm guessing closer to 1 in 3 are kidnapped from the target age group, and a very short life expectancy for those victims.

          They aren't sending their kids away carelessly, like entering a lottery!  

          Gerrymandering is like tournament fishing: even though the fish are there, your bait still has to work better than the other guy's.

          by Evan Stevens on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 05:26:05 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  DBAD (9+ / 0-)

      You don't know that.  You don't know they have parents.  You don't know that their parents aren't in the U.S.  You don't know that they left Central America without supplies or money.  You don't know that they weren't robbed along the way, by criminals or cops or criminal cops.  You don't know that they didn't arrive in the U.S. with supplies and then have those taken from them during "processing."

      DBAD.

      Iron sharpens Iron. Normal is a dryer setting. STOP illegal immigration NOW! -- Make it LEGAL. If Corporations are People--Let's draft them.

      by benamery21 on Tue Jul 22, 2014 at 02:49:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  assuming the parents had any to send (0+ / 0-)

      the kids could've gotten ripped off on the way north.

      LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

      by BlackSheep1 on Tue Jul 22, 2014 at 10:09:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Way to go... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SilentBrook, Evan Stevens

      ...always easy to blame the VICTIMS, and the parents ARE victims here, too.

    •  JR Hawks, IT Professional, gagme, you're all sick. (4+ / 0-)

      If you or anyone would uproot yourself or children of yours to experience such uncertainty and deprivation, and do it for any reason other than immediate safety of life ("life and death"), I'd say you're nuts. But NOT to do that, in the face of threat of death, I'd say you are reprehensible.

      If I've misinterpreted your position, by all means tell me your story in rebuttal.

      Poverty is not an accident. Like slavery and apartheid, it is man-made and can be removed by the actions of human beings. —Nelson Mandela

      by kaliope on Tue Jul 22, 2014 at 11:42:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  They sent them north with the only basic necessity (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Garveys Ghost, Evan Stevens

      They sent them north with the only basic necessity they had on-hand...

      Life

      The Right to Lifers should be all over rescuing these kids, unless their anti-abortion reasons are disingenuous.

    •  children running for their lives (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Evan Stevens

      Your attitude reminds me of what was said to justify refusal to land in the US and Canada and everywhere else to a ship full of Jewish children during the Holocaust.  They were sent back to their death in Europe.

      Cartels have become all powerful in Central America.  They have become so thanks to the US insatiable appetite for drugs and the US war on drugs.  These cartels are now killing children.

      Parents have to be desperate to send their kids off on such a dangerous voyage, just like Jewish parents (or people labelled officially as "Jews" because just one of their great grand parents was suspected of having been Jewish) did.  

      Incidentally whatever necessities parents in Central America equipped their children with would have been stolen on the way (look up the long and dangerous journey those kids had to take).  

      Compare your attitude to that of Turkish and Jordanian folks who have taken in Syrian refugees.  Turkey is said to have spent already one billion and a half on them.  Have you read of any protest by Turks?  No.

      I am so ashamed of my fellow Americans.....(including you and your ignorant comment -- ignorance is no excuse because the situation those kids and their families find themselves in is all over the media)

       

    •  JRHawks, how do you know they didn't? What are ... (0+ / 0-)

      JRHawks, how do you know they didn't? What are the odds on traveling 1000 miles without getting ripped off?

    •  It is a measure (0+ / 0-)

      of their desperation.

    •  Before we Judge, we should know the facts... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gentle Giant

      I am still haunted by memories of events in that same place long ago... I started college really young and as part of my anthropology curriculum I would go during the summer to stay in a remote village. I happened to be in a group going to Chajul, in Guatemala. Loved it, people were so friendly and generous that would share with you even though they had so little. I made good friends and decided to continue going even though by then I was by myself. Things started to change as soon as a military garrison was placed in the neighboring town. By then Bush Senior went into power and reestablished the military aid, with new advisers to the Guatemalan military eager to regain the ground lost due to "stupid pacifist Carter" (not my words) so they went full force.
      My last two visits were troubling. The conversations around the fire were almost whispers trying to find out where to go for safety. By then, access was very restricted. Suddenly my friend asked if I could take her son with me. He was not yet three. A part of me felt that's crazy, someone asking that. I knew how she had wanted that child so badly, finally her first baby to survive after two stillbirths. This baby was the center of their life for both parents, have never seen anyone more loving of their child. Seemed like something they had given much thought to.
       But I was twenty, not wanting to commit, at the moment it just seemed to me a better idea to find a place for the family to go to. Things seemed stable enough, although tense, and it was a time when we thought that if you stay out of the conflict, minding your own business, you will be left alone (I mean not dragged into it). Two months later I was returning with what I thought were good news, that had found someone who would take them in as house help. I got to the last place with bus service:"modern" Nebaj (had electricity and running water in the downtown area and was connected to the world through telegraph service, no phones, certainly no cell phones). When i got there I was warned not to go any further. When I said why I needed to go they just said it was useless anyway since I wouldn't find them: the town was empty of all eight thousand residents and whoever was in there was shot on sight. (The excuse was that the army was sponsoring modernization by installing sewer pipes and potable water, so they needed the people out of the way.) I still met twice with some people I knew from there who because of their connection to the church (evangelical) were able to travel. They were not able to find my friends, and I pray they made it. They could not have been placed in the refugee camp (I was told) since that was only for evangelicals. They most likely ran up the mountains and into Mexico (I was told) as the majority did. Then they could have made it to Chiapas but many did not make it. By the way all those who fled were not even carrying for basic necessities and were not buying a bus ticket to the border, but running across hills of thick forests with small children.
      The peace accord changed things a lot: the three years following it when U.N. peacekeepers and observers were there, were really peaceful. The military elite forces, the Kaibiles, trained at Fort Bening, Georgia (not sure if I got the name right) were permitted to keep their weapons. Many of those paramilitary Civil defense patrols also kept their weapons and if you don't like Zimmerman, you certainly would not have liked them around. The guerrilla were pardoned only if they turned in any and all weapons they had and registered their address for control.  Many (there are exceptions) of those Kaibiles were hired imediately by the Carteles to train their young members in all the techiques and tactics taught to them in the U.S. They have been good pupils and know when to apply the lessons of terror. The top command is missing, of course, and that is why the violence is more disorganized and ruthless, but you reap what you sow.
      By the way, those people loved their little town and their life of subsistence farming and did not even like to travel beyond Nebaj. I am certain if they had a genie grant an only wish, they would wish to have their town restored to their pre-violence state, and not to find themselves in the U.S. so I agree: help that country restore peace and you lower immigration. Another thing: restore their arable land, many have been marginalized out of their land. You would need magic for that since mountaintop removal mining by a Canadian company is well on its way and other massive "modernization" projects like oil extraction.
      If these kids are being kept just for the show of a trial when their fate is decided, is just wrong. (I mean, hope they get judges who actually consider issues like: who will ensure that they are returning them to safety. The words "we want our children back" came from someone who is as trustworthy as a rattlesnake, so at least the U.S. embassy there should ensure they are given to their parents.  

    •  Yeah, they should've outfitted their kids (0+ / 0-)

      like turtles, so they could carry their houses on their backs all the way north to the Rio Grande.  What's wrong with them, schlepping their kids off without so much as a scute or a plastron?

    •  There poor and desperate tbat is the point (0+ / 0-)

      "I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country."Thomas Jefferson, 1812.

      by truth is on the left on Tue Jul 29, 2014 at 01:25:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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