By Grahame Russell, Rights Action, July 1, 2022
No focus on, no blame put on global nation state system and global capitalist, neoliberal economic system
Forced migrants and refugees from Central America are again in the news. Most of the victims of the gruesome tractor-trailer death in Texas are from Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala.
In widespread media coverage (New York Times, CNN, CBS, NBC, CBC, Globe & Mail, Global News, etc.) blame is put on “human traffickers”, or the “climate crisis” and “gang violence” in countries like Guatemala and Honduras.
There is no focus on, no blame put on the global nation state system and the global capitalist, neoliberal economic system that create and re-create the very conditions that force people to flee home and country in the first place.
This news cycle will soon die out. That will be that, … except for the devastating ripple effects through the families of the victims.
Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of impoverished Central Americans and Mexicans are attempting, right now, to cross northern Mexico into the US.
News flash: There is no plausible way the Central America-Mexico-US forced migrancy and refugee flight situation will end anytime soon.
The most challenging aspect of this on-going forced migrancy/ refugee flight situation is to understand that this is not “a crisis”.
We live in an interconnected global nation state and global capitalist, neoliberal system that was built on and that is dependent on inequality of wealth and power between rich-powerful countries and exploited-dominated countries, and between the richer, ‘privileged’ sectors of society and the impoverished, exploited sectors.
This unjust, unequal and violent global human order has been written about and analyzed by many people around the world, going back generations.
Rights Action recommends this recent interview with author Mark Bittman about his book: “Animal, Vegetable, Junk: A History of Food, from Sustainable to Suicidal”
“Agriculture has had a dark side: It’s sparked disputes over land ownership, water use and the extraction of resources; it’s driven exploitation and injustice, slavery and war. It’s even, paradoxically enough, created disease and famine.”
And we recommend “Rich countries drained $152Trillion from the global South since 1960. Imperialism never ended, it just changed form”, by Jason Hickel, Dylan Sullivan and Huzaifa Zoomkawala.
“[Global north countries] – and here we mean the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Japan, Korea, and the rich economies of Europe - have a monopoly on decision-making in the World Bank and IMF, they hold most of the bargaining power in the World Trade Organization. They use their power as creditors to dictate economic policy in debtor nations, and they control 97 percent of the world’s patents. [Global north countries] and corporations leverage this power to cheapen the prices of labour and resources in the global South, which allows them to achieve a net appropriation through trade.”
Though not mentioned, Guatemala and Honduras fit directly into the narrative and analysis set out in these articles.
The global north – particularly the US, Canada and certain European community countries, together with the World Bank, IMF and our global companies and investment banks – have long supported military interventions and coups in Honduras and Guatemala, so as to keep in place, or put back in place exploitative, corrupt and repressive regimes whose primary purpose is to ensure the richest lands, water sources and mineral resources are available for producers of bananas and pineapples, coffee and cattle, sugar products and African palm, mineral resources and hydro-electric dam energy.
Most of the land and environmental defense, human rights and justices struggles that Rights Action supports in Guatemala and Honduras are linked directly to the harms, land theft and violence created by this global political and economic order.
Most forced migrants and refugees fleeing home and country, generation after generation, are escaping the violence, corruption and impoverishment of this global political, economic order.
Even as one works for short term solutions to the desperate needs of the current forced migrancy and refugee situation, we must do the long-term education, political activism and legal accountability work, to fundamentally change and transform how this unjust, unequal global economic and political system works.