The big news story this week will be the migrant caravan of 5,000 people moving north from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
If they weren’t shitholes, the citizens of those countries wouldn’t be trying to leave.
Well, most aren’t – Guatemala has 17 million people; Honduras has 9 million; and El Salvador has 6 million.
Still, these countries are the bottom of the barrel. In Honduras, for instance, over half the country lives in poverty and a third of the people there can’t find enough work. On top of this, there are so few secondary schools in the country that most students drop out after primary school.
In 2014, Honduras had the highest murder rate in the world. This is because of drugs. The MS-13 and the 18th Street Gang are the main groups behind this violence.
Most gang violence in Honduras is perpetrated by young men between the ages of 15 and 34. So incompetent is the justice system in this country that just 4% of murder cases result in a conviction.
The drug and gang violence situation in Honduras got a lot worse after the US cutoff anti-drug support to the country in 2009. Much of the drug situation in the country originally came about following the 1978 “cocaine coup” that saw presidential leadership change. Following that, the CIA supported the new president, even though it was known that the entire Honduran government was involved in the drug trade.
So Honduras is a shithole country, and the US had a big part in bringing that about.
The 5,000-person caravan moving north toward our border is simply a culmination of decades of failed policies in Central America, policies that were often made worse by the US stance toward the region.
Now Trump wants to cut off aid to countries like Honduras, which will probably just make the situation worse, resulting in further caravans of people trying to flee north.
And what will they do when they get here?
Most don’t speak any English, have no education past grade school, have no 21st-century skills that will help our workforce, and will rely on taxpayer support for months if not years if they actually do get into the US.
What a mess.
So who’s to blame for this mess?
I think the answer is obvious – us.
The main issue is drugs, and Americans just can’t stop doing them.
While just around 1% of the population uses cocaine, that’s enough to ensure countries like Honduras remain in perpetual poverty, their only real commodity being cocaine.
The only other thing that Honduras produces that people want are coffee and bananas, and to a lesser extent, shrimp, lobster, olive oil and clothes. The leading trade partner for the country is the US, which accounts for 41% of their trade.
The US is unable to curb its desire for drugs like cocaine, and that means places like Honduras will continue to produce it and ship it north. Capitalism in action. Sadly, our government supports the politicians in Honduras that in turn support the drug trade.
Because the drug is illegal, you’re going to have a lot of violence surrounding it.
Hence people feel unsafe. Coupled with their inability to get a job, most have no reason to stay in their country. So they head north, toward the US and a ‘better life.’
This problem will continue for years, with either huge caravans coming or just smaller groups of people.
Until the US decides to make some changes – both the government and the people living here – nothing will change.
I fully expect the migrant caravan to reach the US border, and I’m sure many of these people will get into the US. Most probably won’t, however.
But more caravans will come, because those shithole countries show no signs of improving anytime soon.
Yep, what a mess.
“Crime in Honduras.” Wikipedia. Retrieved 22 October 2018. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_in_Honduras
Gomez, Alan. “Migrant caravan keeps marching north, Trump keeps warning them to stop.” USA Today. 22 October 2018. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2018/10/22/president-trump-warns-migrant-caravan-mexico-vows-cut-u-s-aid/1725854002/
“Why is Honduras Poor?” Borgen Project. 19 July 2017. https://borgenproject.org/why-is-honduras-poor/