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What AOC and her Critics are Missing About the Border Crisis

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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.

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Duane Angell

    July 5, 2019 at 6:42 am

    If we spent a fraction of the time and money that Trump wants to erect his wall on efforts to reduce crime and corruption in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, there wouldn’t be any caravans headed towards our border. Our hands are not clean. Our motives have not been pure. Our methods have not been entirely legal (Iran/Contra comes to mind). Our humanity towards these people has been a disgrace. Part of the solution may be to educate the people of the US, as this article tries to do.

  2. Marcus Davidson

    July 5, 2019 at 6:36 pm

    Thank you Dave. So true! Similarly, no one wants to talk about the right wing death squads in El Salvador led by the CIA’s Roberto D’aubisson who murdered thousands of Salvadoran citizens as well as Archbishop Romero and catholic nuns. For our discussion it left a country in complete economic ruin w no infrastructure where a vacuum was filled by armed gangs that took over the country. The same is true for Nicaragua and the arming of the Contras in Nicaragua. US policy is catastrophic in the region, Chile, Brazil. Venezuela and all of Central America

  3. anti_republocrat

    July 5, 2019 at 8:56 pm

    These folks, including AOC, are not stupid. They aren’t “missing” the underlying cause of the migrant crisis at ou southern border. They are “ignoring” it. Big difference. About the only politician not ignoring it is Tulsi Gabbard. She needs your $1 donation to remain in the debates. You can take action at TULSI2020.COM.

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At Least Seven Protesters Shot In Louisville As Attempt Was Made to Flip Police Vehicle

There has been riots across the nation over the death of a Minneapolis man in police custody on Monday.

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At least seven protesters have been shot in Louisville as an attempt was made to flip a police vehicle on Thursday evening.

It has been confirmed that one of them is critical, but the condition of the others is not yet known.

There has been violence, riots, looting, and arson across the nation as people protest the death of a Minneapolis man in police custody on Monday.

Rumors quickly circulated on Twitter that police had fire the shots, but the department has said that this was not true.

“There have been some arrests, but at this time we are not able to tell you how many as the situation is ongoing,” a statement from department spokeswoman Alicia Smiley to the Courier Journal said. “Information on those arrests will be available tomorrow through court records of the arrests.”

She added that police did not fire their weapons.

The Louisville protest was over a woman named Breonna Taylor who was shot by Louisville police in March during a raid at her home.

The family of Taylor has called for people to stop rioting and go home before more people get hurt.

“Louisville, thank you so much for saying Breonna’s name tonight. We are not going to stop until we get justice,” a woman says in a video tweeted by Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. “But we should stop tonight before people get hurt. Please go home, be safe and be ready to keep fighting.”

Approximately 500 people marched through the streets before getting into a standoff with police.

“Meanwhile, live video from downtown Louisville around 12:30 a.m. shows some protesters behind makeshift wooden barricades, which appeared to be made out of picnic tables spray-painted with the words “You can’t kill us all.” Police in body armor and face shields held batons and lined up around Louisville City Hall. They appeared to fire rubber bullets and deploy tear gas canisters, fogging the air and inducing coughs among the remaining members of the crowd,” ABC7 reports.

The protest was ongoing after midnight on Friday morning.

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St. Paul Police: Over 170 Businesses Damaged and Looted During Thursday Riot

Many of them are small businesses that were already struggling due to the pandemic.

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The St. Paul Police Department has announced that over 170 businesses in the city were damaged or looted during the riot on Thursday.

The rioting began early in the afternoon and continued throughout the evening.

“As Thursday turns to Friday, our officers continue to work shoulder-to-shoulder with local, state, federal and fire partners to protect St. Paul,” the department tweeted. “More than 170 businesses damaged or looted. Dozens of fires. Thankfully, no reports of serious injuries. Calm on the horizon.”

The riot began when a group of 50 or 60 people attempted to loot a Target store in the Midway neighborhood. When police arrived, they reportedly dropped their stolen goods and ran down the street where they began to destroy other shops.

Many of them are small businesses that were already struggling due to the pandemic.

“Soon after, another group of people tried to ransack a Foot Locker store on University Avenue across the street. Police again intervened, resulting in a standoff between officers and the rioters,” Fox 9 reports.

Other stores that were targeted included Foot Locker and TJ Maxx.

During the riot, rocks, bricks and bottles of alcohol were thrown at police officers and their squad cars.

When the criminals began to move towards the State Capitol, Senators and their staff were told to evacuate in the “interest of public safety.”

By afternoon, armed citizens began to protest some local businesses.

The rioters have been in response to the death of George Floyd while he was in police custody in Minneapolis on Monday. A video of him telling an officer who had his knee on his neck that he could not breathe rapidly went viral and set off chaos across the nation.

There has been rioting in Ohio, Colorado, Minnesota and Kentucky.

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Watch: Rioters Loot Minneapolis Police Department, Cut Gas Lines, Reports of Women Being Kidnapped

There are also reports that women have been kidnapped during the riot.

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All hell has broken loose in Minneapolis as rioters looted a police department before setting it on fire, chased away police officers, and reportedly kidnapped multiple women.

Rioters were caught on camera chasing away police officers who were abandoning the 3rd precinct police department before it was entered by the criminals and lit on fire.

The criminals stormed the building shortly after — smashing everything they could find, looting, and lighting various rooms on fire.

The City of Minneapolis is now pleading with people to leave the scene, as there have been reports that protesters threw propane tanks inside and have cut the gas line.

“We’re hearing unconfirmed reports that gas lines to the Third Precinct have been cut and other explosive materials are in the building,” the city tweeted from their official account. “If you are near the building, for your safety, PLEASE RETREAT in the event the building explodes.”

There have also been reports that women have been kidnapped during the riot.

Libor Jany, a reporter from the Star Tribune wrote on Twitter that “amidst all this, police are being called to investigate a possible kidnapping from the parking lot across the street from their burning station; a screaming woman was said to have been forcibly put into a vehicle that then sped away, according to scanner traffic.”

“CVS on Snelling is on Fire. Car jacking and kidnapping just occurred. They’re shooting st random cars on university. Do not leave your home. It is extremely dangerous in here,” a Twitter user from Minneapolis wrote.

The National Guard has now deployed 500 soldiers to the area and began to arrive close to midnight.

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