Wednesday, July 16, 2014


The images of children sleeping on cement floors on the U. S. side of our boarder with Mexico tore my heart out. What were even worse were the images of American people waving American flags and carrying signs saying the children are illegal and we should have activated the U.S. Army to keep them from even crossing the boarder. The signs knowingly declare they are illegal, dirty, criminal, diseased, drug addicted, and worse, by adding xenophobia on to xenophobia; some protestors even claimed the children were Muslims. I could not reconcile any of this with my image of America as the land of the free and home of the brave, the land of immigrants, and land of equal opportunity. I listen to the news coming out of Washington where our lawmakes refuse to take up immigration issues while they spew out a continuous line of invectives against members of the opposite political party line. Of course, there are many opinions that fall in between these extremes but the question is why people’s opinions generally pile up on one end or the other of this spectrum of beliefs. None of this computes; therefore, begs explanation. While pondering this, my mind wondered to the question of why are homeless children on our boarders.

The children are from Honduras, Guatemala, and Salvador and not the usual Mexicans we see crossing the boarders looking for work or a better life. These young children must be fleeing some unbearable evil to risk their life to travel all those dangerous miles. As a young many years ago, while walking down a street with friends in Steamers Point, Aden, we heard the strange sound of collective human anguish. On investigation, we found ourselves looking through bars at a dirt-floored cell filled with a collection of rag tag humanity: children, adult, and aged. I had never seen or even dreamed of such depravity. I felt a wave of nausea. What I did understand was that for those people, anything, no matter how bad, was better that this. When I saw the pictures of the children on the floor of that cell in the United States, my thought returned to Aden, a country we now know as Yemen.

To understand why the children are where they are evolves understanding those three countries. However, the histories of those three Central American countries are complex and to confusing to try to describe them individually. I will center my attention on one incident in Honduras and their deposed president, a man named Mel Zeyala and the U.S. led corruption of Honduran election in 2009. Strangely enough, the discussion extends to Senators Jim DeMint and Jessie Helms, and the textile industry in the South East of the Untied States and exposes Republican political philosophy and how it drives foreign policy. The story includes such diverse people and things as Veterinarian Martin Hines and brown lung disease (Byssinosis) in North Carolina.

In 1968 it was discovered that exposure to cotton dust in textile factories cause respirator distress leading to death. Dr, Hines, as N.C. State Epidemiologist, labored to see that textile mill owners worked on advancing technology to detect and purify air and eventually pure air was required in textile mills; the cost of purifying air was high. As a result, textile mills move to Central America where wages are low and workers health was not an issue, and the right-wing military control the governments; Honduras was no exception.
In the United States, in our ignorance, we “enjoy” the benefits by having cheap prices but textile company executives benefit more by having bigger profits. This is the same tired old story we have heard about for years, from not just Central America but the entire world. My point is that it is an outgrowth of our capitalistic, free enterprise system, which results in American foreign policy, which right-wing conservative business ethics has controlled since we became a country—a companies bottom line controls all else.

Some notable exceptions developed including Fidel Castro in Cuba, Cesar Chavez in Venezuela, and then President Zelaya in Guatemala. Everyone knows the extremes of a communist economy do not work. Everyone also knows that in the United States we have socio-capitalism: social security, health care, public education, etc, which has produced a society the envy of the world. We also know that Republicans hate anything that smacks of socialism; we see evidence of their hate hear it every day and the displays on the boarder are no exception. We also know that they hate having a foreign government that is not beholden to the United States. Small governments have to stand in fear of our government toppling their government if they do not do whatever we say, which was the basis of our foreign policy—what I call the Reagan policy—like respect for a guy with an assault rifle standing at a classroom door. In contrast, Obama has silently been trying to build a foreign policy based on mutual respect and not military domination and has paid with their hate. I read a book by Charles Krauthammer, currently the intellectual leader of the conservative movement. He explains their justification of this disgusting policy in detail in part four of his book, Thing That Matter.

In 2009, Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC), who resigned from the Senate, was then a member of the foreign relations committee like Jessie Helms (R-NC), both senators from states controlled textile company executives. Mysteriously, he arranged to travel to Honduras during all the political turmoil in that country. Senator John Kerry, at that time was chair of that committee, blocked his travel by blocking the use of a State Department plane. Aided by McConnell, the Republican leader of the Senate, DeMint went to the Defense Department who gave him a military plane after he blocked presidential appointments, a trick he learned from Jessie Helms. Soon afterwards, the Honduran military deposed the elected President Zelaya, a friend of Chavez and Castro and a man hated by the industrialist supporters of DeMint. Zelaya was a man who had changed the working conditions in Honduras, and had installed labor unions and workers rights in the textile factories, etc.

Honduras is the murder capital of the world. Wayne LaPierre of the NRA says we are the safest if everyone has a gun, but Honduras proves him wrong. As a citizen of neighboring Belize, I know Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula, Honduras and know, for a fact, LaPierre is wrong—dead wrong. As a liberal, I also understand why the people living in Honduras, like living in a prison cell in Steamers Point, are so miserable that anything is better—even death. It is something Charles Krauthammer and Jim DeMint are innately not capable of knowing even while watching so called American patriots waving flags and looking at children sleeping on a cement floor in boarder towns in Texas.  

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