Article by Richard Cowan
Vice President Kamala Harris’ first international trip to Mexico via Guatemala was delayed for a few hours because her plane was forced to return to Joint Base Andrews due to technical problems about 30 minutes after it took off. Maybe that was an omen…
A little history...
This August 13 will be the 500th anniversary of the Spanish conquest of the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan, now Mexico City. The Aztecs had conquered central Mexico in the 1300s and had established one of the (literally) bloodiest regimes in human history. Human sacrifice was essentially the state religion.
Nonetheless, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador recently demanded that Spain and the Vatican apologize for the Conquest. They declined.
The Mexican dictator, Porfirio Díaz, famously said, “Poor Mexico, so far from God, so close to the United States." That was over 100 years ago, but it is still a convenient way for Mexican politicians to pass the blame, like demanding that Spain apologize for liberating central Mexico from the Aztec empire.
Unfortunately, extreme violence is a frequently recurring part of Mexican history. In their recent elections, over 100 politicians were murdered.
This time the violence was a bit “over the top.”
Nonetheless, Mexico’s endemic corruption continues with impunity.
See The impunity of Alberto Reyes Vaca, the Mexican army general who was fond of drug ballads. The former commander of the Special Forces Corps installed a bar at his barracks, used soldiers as waiters at private parties and charged the bill to the military budget
But Mexico is relatively peaceful and prosperous compared to its southern neighbors. So Harris’ first stop was not Mexico City, but Guatemala City, but then it got weird.
Harris was greeted by protesters in Guatemala with professionally printed signs telling her “Trump won” and “go home” — as the country’s president blamed President Biden for this year’s “migrant crisis.”
Consider the context. The “Border Crisis” does not begin in Guatemala or even with its southern neighbors, Honduras or El Salvador.
All of them have been devastated by multiple hurricanes, and -- of course the Drug War.
Of course, the very Trumpian New York Post was delighted and ran the headline, “Guatemala’s prez blames Biden for border crisis as protesters tell Kamala Harris ‘Trump won’”
But how and why would protesters in Guatemala have professionally printed posters baiting Biden? Other signs actually attacked Harris for not having children. Not exactly the kind of greeting that one might expect under the circumstances.
It is easy to understand why these people would want to flee to the United States. Hurricanes and endemic poverty and the Drug War are reasons enough, but they are also fleeing the violence related to their national political and ethnic divisions.
For example: “The Guatemalan Civil War” was a civil war in Guatemala fought from 1960 to 1996 between the government of Guatemala and various leftist rebel groups, which were primarily supported by ethnic Maya indigenous peoples and Ladino peasants…”
So it is easy to understand “Central American migrant caravans” except for just how they really work.
Just how do thousands of the poorest people in the world march over 1,300 miles (maybe up to 2,500 to California) from Guatemala City to the US border?
Who organized them? Who paid for their food and other expenses? The same people paid for the Trump posters? Just asking…
And why would they blame Biden when there was a huge caravan right before the 2018 midterm elections? As the Examiner explained, “President Trump has repeatedly blamed Democratic lawmakers for enticing migrants to travel to the U.S. without having applied for asylum at a U.S. consulate in one's home country ahead of time. He said the new caravan is a result of lawmakers not fixing "loopholes" that allow the majority of families and children smuggled north to avoid prosecution and to be released from federal custody shortly after being apprehended.”
“Trump said aid to Central American countries would now be cut off or curtailed after they failed to rein in their own people.”
So Biden is to blame, and Trump is their hero? Just asking…
Richard Cowan is a former NORML National Director and author of Is The Hemp CBD Industry Sustainable?