Child separation crisis background: Who caused the misery south of the border?

Child separation crisis background: Who caused the misery south of the border?

Originally published by Salon

In our interconnected world, nothing happens in a vacuum — certainly not in the backyard of the United States. So while the eyes of the world are on the Trump administration’s inhumane policies regarding migrants and their children, it is worth taking a step back to figure out why so many people from Central American countries are risking their lives to seek refuge and a better future in the US.

As he made clear from the moment he announced his run for the presidency, Donald Trump would have Americans believe that these migrants are a bunch of criminals and only a wall would keep them out. That played so well with GOP primary voters afraid of “the other” that it helped earn Trump the Republican nomination and eventually swept him into office. The president said as much this week in a speech to a business group.

“Remember I made that speech and I was badly criticized?” Trump said. “‘Oh it’s so terrible, what he said.’ Turned out I was 100 percent right. That’s why I got elected.”

To the president and many Americans, “securing the border” against migrants is a national security issue and helps keep drugs out. That is why it is particularly ironic that other US actions in the name of national security destabilized much of Central America and also helped fuel the drug trade.

For decades, the United States has helped train and prop up brutal right-wing dictators in the region that are friendly to US interests, which in many cases means the interest of US businesses — all at the expense of local democracy. The means for achieving that have been both covert and overt.


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