I’ve been watching and reading the news, trying to find any kind of factual material about the “Migrant Caravan,” but other than breathless accounts of the sheer size of crowd, there isn’t much out there.
The Los Angeles Times sent a reporter down to southern Mexico who wrote touching anecdotal accounts of the desperate people, primarily women, he spoke to, but anecdotal accounts do not qualify as facts.
Fox News published anecdotal accounts of young men eager for work in America, many of whom had been previously deported multiple times. They also ran photographs of young women with children, some just toddlers in diapers. But one of their news programs also reported seeing young men wearing T-shirts emblazoned with the words “Trump is the devil,” and noted accurately that the young men in the caravan greatly outnumber the women and children. Again, neither anecdotal accounts nor isolated incidents qualify as real information.
However, in every shot of the endless line that stretches beyond the capability of any camera to capture it in its entirety, you see men carrying Honduran flags and Guatemalan flags and El Salvadoran flags, sometimes waving them on poles, sometime flags so large they must be carried by two or three men walking abreast. That intrigues me. It also raises many questions.
The US sent almost two-billion dollars in foreign aid to Latin America and the Caribbean in 2017. “Foreign aid” includes a wide variety of programs, from military aid or training and narcotics control to economic support, development assistance, and health programs. In the cases of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, military and narcotics law enforcement aid together constitute a fraction of the amount sent for the other programs.
My first question is, why are we sending that money, if it clearly isn’t helping the people of those countries? (I don’t do twitter, but I understand President Trump asked much the same thing yesterday.)
My next question is what kind of oversight is there over how those governments actually spend that money? Clearly it isn’t helping the people it is meant to help, so do we actually know how much, if any, is being used for its intended purpose(s)? I don’t wish to sound cynical and suspicious, but American aid has been known to end up lining private pockets before, from time to time, and all three of those countries are notorious for their corruption.
And then, most importantly, who sponsored these people and their march? I don’t for an instant believe they all just spontaneously had the same idea, any more than I believed Barack and Hillary’s claim that Benghazi was randomly caused by a group of young men out for a walk. The Wall Street Journal indicated the march was backed by the organization “People Without Borders,” but that organization’s website opens with a bold-print statement vehemently denying any association with the caravan. So who got the migrants going?
And who is supporting them en route? The news accounts reported trucks handing out food and water and toilet paper, but think for a moment of the logistics of feeding, watering, sheltering, and providing other ancillary necessities to 7000+, 10,000+, 14,000+ (it depends which totally honest, well-researched and fact driven news source you choose to believe) ill-equipped people. Who is paying for it? Clearly no one with America’s best interests at heart. And it’s debatable that it was started with the best interests of the poor marchers at heart: at least one person has already died, others have had to be hospitalized, and they haven’t even gotten into drug cartel country yet where the real fun will begin. Let’s be very clear: there is a humanitarian crisis brewing here which America will be called upon to mitigate, and we will, but saving lives is very different from fomenting trouble and encouraging people to risk the lives America will have to save.
Finally, if you were a desperate migrant and really, really wanted to come to America and make a better life for yourself here; if you were so frantic to escape the poverty and lack of opportunity and the violence in your homeland that you would walk between 1400 and 2400 miles (depending on which route they take), why the hell would you wave flags glorifying the memory of the country you’re trying so hard to escape? During the Cold War, I don’t recall any of the young men and women who risked their lives to escape the communist bloc carrying the East German flag, say, as they clambered over the wall. My great-grandparents didn’t display an Irish flag once they and their seven sons finally had a one-room cabin in front of which to display anything. Waving the flag of the country you’re fleeing is not likely to inspire welcoming open arms in the country you’re fleeing to.