U.S. House Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made headlines this week after her visit to migrant detention facilities at the U.S.-Mexico border. AOC pointed out the bad conditions at the facilities, and recently sparked an outcry when she referred to them as “concentration camps.”
Whether you want stricter immigration laws or open borders, there is no denying that the situation on our southern border is a humanitarian crisis. Nobody is wishing death or suffering on these migrants, but what both AOC and her critics are missing in this latest show of political theater is the root cause of the migration problem: U.S. intervention in Latin America.
Most Americans are aware of the role the U.S. government has played in Latin America to uphold its business interests and stop the spread of communism during the cold war. But U.S. politicians seem to be blissfully unaware of the impact that recent U.S. intervention has had on the region and how it directly impacted migrants in these detention facilities.
One of the more recent successful U.S. backed coups in Latin America was in Honduras, under the watch of then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. With guns drawn on June 28th 2009, Honduran special forces escorted democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya from his house and onto a plane to Costa Rica.
A cable sent to Washington dated July 24th 2009 from the U.S. embassy in Honduras read, “The Embassy perspective is that there is no doubt that the military, Supreme Court and National Congress conspired on June 28 in what constituted an illegal and unconstitutional coup against the Executive Branch.” However, Clinton’s State Department refused to suspend U.S. aid to Honduras, which is required when a democratically-elected government is overthrown.
During a 2016 interview with Democracy Now’s Juan Gonzalez, Clinton agreed with his framing of the situation in Honduras since 2009 when he said, “There’s been a few hundred-people killed by government forces. There’s been all these children fleeing, and mothers, from Honduras over the border into the United States.”
But when Gonzalez asked about the role Clinton played in the coup, she denied the assessment of those in the embassy in 2009, “The Legislature—or the national Legislature in Honduras and the national judiciary actually followed the law in removing President Zelaya.” She went on, “If the United States government declares a coup, you immediately have to shut off all aid, including humanitarian aid.”
Although some of the aid to Honduras may be humanitarian, a lot goes to the military and government. According to the USAID website, the top implementing aid partner for Honduras in 2009 was the “U.S. Government – Department of Defense,” meaning the Pentagon was more involved in Honduras than any other U.S. agency the year of the coup.
On Sunday, a 30-year old Honduran man, Alexis Balderramos-Torres, died in ICE custody at a detention facility in Houston. His cause of death is unknown at this time, but blowback from Hillary Clinton’s coup and “humanitarian aid” could have driven him to make his fateful journey.
Venezuela has become a target for regime change within the Trump administration since he first came into office. President Trump made comments like, “We have many options for Venezuela, including a possible military option if necessary,” early on in his presidency.
Unlike the CIA covert style regime change most common in Latin America, the Trump administration’s attempt to oust President Nicolas Maduro has been right out in the open. On January 23rd 2019, opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself president of Venezuela after a phone call from Vice President Mike Pence.
Both Trump and Pence quickly voiced their support for Guaido. National Security Advisor John Bolton even said on Fox Business News that, “It will make a big difference to the United States economically if we could have American oil companies invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela.”
Maduro’s opposition argues the 2017 elections were illegitimate, a narrative the U.S. state department and mainstream media both accept. Whether or not Maduro was elected legitimately is a debate for the Venezuelan people to have, nobody else. The economy under Maduro has taken a serious crash, rising inflation, lower oil prices, price control and U.S. sanctions all play their part in the dire economic situation.
Since 2017, Trump has increased crippling economic sanctions, making it impossible for the failing Venezuelan economy to recover. The Center for Economic and Policy Research had determined U.S. sanctions were responsible for the deaths of 40,000 Venezuelans in a report they released in April. There is a refugee crisis coming out of Venezuela and Trump’s policy of economic strangulation has done nothing but add fuel to the fire.
When AOC was asked about the situation in Venezuela, the congresswomen said, “I defer to caucus leadership on how we navigate this.” Speaker of the house, Nancy Pelosi, has expressed her support for Guaido and encouraged the ouster of Maduro. Unfortunately, while AOC is busy using terms like “concentration camps” and taking dramatic photos in front of chain-link fences, she has not found the time to fight the policies that are actually responsible for the crisis.
If the Trump administration continues its support for Guaido and continues its economic warfare on the people of Venezuela, more and more refugees will be fleeing the country. If a civil war is sparked between Juan Guaido’s opposition and the Pro-Maduro military, it could lead to a long brutal war and the United States will see a refugee crisis similar to the one in Europe after the outbreak of the Syrian civil war. This is the reality both Trump and AOC need to come to terms with.
High School Football Players Suspended for Carrying Thin Blue, Thin Red Line Flags Before 9/11 Game
High School football players in Florida have been suspended from their team for carrying Thin Blue Line and Thin Red Line flags during their football game on 9/11 to honor the first responders who died during the attack on the World Trade Center.
One of the young men on the Little Miami High School football team is the son of a police officer, another, the son of a firefighter.
“Were you trying to make some kind of a political statement here?” a Local 12 reporter asked Brady Williams, a senior cornerback, who carried the Thin Blue Line flag.
Two Little Miami football players pay the price for civil disobedience. They were told not to carry onto the field thin blue line and thin red line flags at their 9/11 game. They did anyway. The school has now suspended them from the team indefinitely. #ThinBlueLine #ThinRedLine pic.twitter.com/19y9GAvaxr
— David Winter (@DavidWinterTV) September 14, 2020
“No,” he answered quickly. “Not at all. I was just doing it to honor the people that lost their lives 19 years ago.”
Jarad Bentley, whose father is a firefighter, carried the Thin Red Line flag.
“I was all for it,” he said. “Because my dad is a firefighter, and if it had been him killed on 9/11, I would have wanted someone to do it for him.”
The young men had asked the school for permission to carry the flags on to the field before the game, and the school refused. They were told that if they did, there would be consequences.
Still, the boys did it anyways.
“Listen,” Williams said. “I don’t care what my consequences are. So long as my message gets across, I’ll be happy.”
Local 12 reports that “Williams and Bentley heard from the athletic director Monday afternoon and received an indefinite suspension.” The station said that they had called the superintendent about the boys a few hours prior.
Superintendent Gregory Power claimed that they denied the boys’ request because they don’t want to “set a precedent” for “political” flags being carried out on the field.
“We did not want to place ourselves in a circumstance where another family might want a different flag to come out of the tunnel, one that may be [one that] many other families may not agree with from a political perspective,” Power claimed.
DC Police Helicopter Hit With Lasers By Rioters Forced to Make Emergency Landing — Crew Member Hospitalized
One of the crew members had to be hospitalized due to vision loss in one eye.
A DC Metropolitan Police helicopter had to make an emergency landing on Saturday night as it was hit by laser pointers shined at it by rioters.
A law enforcement source tells the District Herald that one of the crew members had to be hospitalized due to vision loss in one eye.
Rioters were also shining the blinding lasers in the eyes of officers on the ground.
In July, it was revealed that federal officers in Portland may have been permanently blinded by the lasers, that are becoming increasingly common at the riots.
“When officers responded to put out these fires, glass bottles were thrown and lasers – which can cause permanent blindness – were shined in their eyes,” Federal Protective Service (FPS) Deputy Director of Operations Richard Cline said at a press conference at the time. “We have three officers who currently have eye injuries and they may not recover sight in those eyes from those laser attacks.”
There were multiple helicopters circling throughout the area all evening to keep track of the rioters.
— Wyatt Reed (@wyattreed13) August 30, 2020
Rioters from all over the nation, including many familiar faces from the Portland riots, have been causing chaos throughout the city for several days.
Whoa the remaining window of that BLM van has just been smashed in by police officers as they move the crowd further back through BLM Plaza in DC pic.twitter.com/lOOx9Je6tu
— Shelby Talcott (@ShelbyTalcott) August 30, 2020
The riot escalated when the militants began to throw bricks at police officers.
Domestic terrorists are now threatening the White House and police lives… pic.twitter.com/DC7DWtXc7T
— Raheem Kassam (@RaheemKassam) August 30, 2020
Earlier in the evening, a speaker in the newly named “Black Lives Matter Plaza” asserted that “I’m at the point where I’m going to put the police in a f*cking grave. I’m at the point where I want to burn the f*cking White House down!”
There were multiple arrests for assaulting police officers, but it seems as though rioters are being quickly caught and released the next day by the US Attorney’s Office.
The riot in DC is currently ongoing and the District Herald will be continuing to provide updates as the situation progresses.
BREAKING: Member of Patriot Prayer Fatally Shot in Portland
The rioters also attacked the founder of Patriot Prayer, Joey Gibson.
A member of the Pro-Trump organization Patriot Prayer has been shot and killed in Portland amidst the riots.
Early reports on social media had claimed that a black male was shot by a “Trump supporter,” but that was not the case.
The victim was a white male who was reportedly wearing a hat with the Patriot Prayer insignia on it.
“A Patriot with camouflage gear with infidel and thin blue line patches, was shot and killed during pro-Trump car caravan through downtown Portland at around 8:45pm,” independent reporter Andrew Duncomb tweeted.
A Patriot with camouflage gear with infidel and thin blue line patches, was shot and killed during pro-Trump car caravan through downtown Portland at around 8:45pm.
— Black Rebel (Andrew Duncomb) (@SpaceForceUSA_) August 30, 2020
“Just heard that the man killed is affiliated with my group. Just had drinks with him last Saturday,” Duncomb added.
Speaking to the District Herald, Duncomb said that “all I got to say right now is he was a good Patriot and this news has hit my group of friends pretty hard. It’s time for Trump to hear our cries and clean up Portland. We will not let them kill us anymore.”
Duncomb added, “shame on Ted Wheeler and Kate Brown. His blood is on their hands. They allowed this violence to happen for over three months. How many people need to die before the elected officials will do their job to protect its citizens?”
Warning Graphic: Here's the only angle of the shooting in Portland that I have found so far. pic.twitter.com/CXPGplYzNb
— Brett MacDonald (@TweetBrettMac) August 30, 2020
(Real) Medics tried to save the shooting victim in downtown Portland. It is a white male contrary to what antifa journalists and accounts said about it being a black victim. pic.twitter.com/jzE2ffqN73
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) August 30, 2020
Following the fatal shooting, rioters also surrounded and assaulted Patriot Prayer founder Joey Gibson. When Gibson retreated into a gas station, rioters broke the windows and threatened the owner.
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) August 30, 2020
— Darth Crypto – The Sith Jew (@ToolFree2point0) August 30, 2020
The shooting victim’s name has not yet been released, though it is known, to allow time for the family to be notified.
Duncomb, clearly outraged, tweeted a call for patriotic Americans to come to Portland on September 19 to stand against the rioters.
— Black Rebel (Andrew Duncomb) (@SpaceForceUSA_) August 30, 2020
The situation in Portland is ongoing. The District Herald will be providing updates as they become available.