Donald Trump rages at all those Latin American refugees flooding his country's southern border. But the United States, Jonathan Manthorpe writes, is merely reaping what it has sown:
For generations, successive United States administrations have imposed their will on the countries of Latin America with callous disregard for the outcomes. They have sat astride their ideological high horses and ousted elected left-wing Latin American governments with no thought of the consequences. They have backed military coups and supported rapacious juntas in power. They have sponsored civil wars, the effects of which have left indelible wounds in several Latin American countries. They have aided and abetted authoritarian regimes in merciless crackdowns on rebellious populations.
They’ve also been influenced by the wishes of U.S. multi-national companies, even when those were unacceptably exploitative. They have foisted hardline free-market economic models on societies where the concepts are alien or where the policies reinforce the power of local aristocracies.
This has particularly been the case in Central America, where the vast majority of migrants are coming from these days:
Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland last week joined an international chorus of governments and organizations calling for an end to a government crackdown on mass protests by political opponents in Nicaragua. About 200 unarmed civilians have been killed by security forces and paramilitary groups since the government of President Daniel Ortega launched the counterattack two months ago.
Freeland said the situation “is now posing serious risks to the security of the region.” Others are predicting the street violence could cascade into civil war. Nearby, there are only semi-functional governments in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. The seeds of current turmoil in these countries were sown in the 1970s and 1980s when the U.S. backed authoritarian and military responses to social unrest. Street gangs have carved out local fiefdoms to fill the vacuum left by inadequate and predatory administrations in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. The gangs have fashioned crude economies based on protection rackets, drug dealing and human trafficking.
But violence holds the whole shambles together. Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador have among the highest murder rates in the world. Killings in El Salvador are at a rate of 103 people among every 100,000 inhabitants. This is higher than any country except Syria, where there is an all-out civil war. The ratio is a bit better in Honduras and Guatemala, but not much.
And what does Donald Trump do? He does what he has done throughout his whole life -- he plays Pontius Pilate, washing his and his country's hands of all responsibility. However, what the Americans have created is now tearing them apart. They are screaming at each other, throwing their fellow citizens out of restaurants and drowning in lies.
And, by the time Trump is finished, the United States may well be just another banana republic.
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