The President of Honduras dropped in on Washington a week or so ago to share his thoughts with US lawmakers on the recent tsunami of teens arriving at our southern border from his country. His remarks were enlightening, and eerily familiar.
First, he allowed as to how our “ambiguous” immigration policies, and some carelessness on the part of our President in his comments regarding “undocumented” visitors, were largely seen by his citizens as an open invitation to walk right in and and sit themselves down. We have heard this before from many, many observers, and were unsurprised that he made mention of it.
Second, and equally expected, he noted that drug and gang violence had turned most of the non-rural regions of Honduras into a hellish landscape, providing citizens with a strong incentive to relocate, preferably to a place where there were good hospitals, free housing and some modicum of civil peace.
Third, and by now almost inevitably, he sadly pointed out that the people at fault for this development were not indigenous druglords or gangbangers, but rather the American consumer, whose otherworldly lust for illegal intoxicants had clearly fostered this environment. (He exempted by omission European consumption of meth, coke and left-handed cigarettes, presumably because Spain shares no common borders with Mexico.)
We had heard all these things before, actually, some months ago when President Obama attended a symposium on drug crime in Venezuela. The most noteworthy outcome of this colloquium was a scandal involving US Secret Service agents passing out in hotel hallways and stiffing the local hookers after — well — stiffing the local hookers. In fact, so familiar is this catechism that we knew precisely what conclusion the President of Honduras would arrive at long before he actually divulged his solution.
Because, as Chris Rock once pointed out, “that train is never late!”
Said the President:
Yes. The President suggested that the investment of a mere $2 billion, distributed among Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador might still the waves of youngsters currently waltzing across our borders. Interestingly, this was precisely the amount mentioned by a plenum of Latin American leaders after the Venezuelan caucus, where we were assured by these worthies, many of them with straight faces, that these funds would be spent on drug interdiction, education and the building of hospitals.
Were we a more cynical nation, we might detect a more cynical dynamic behind these migrations. Some may even wonder how tens of thousands of kids could make it through the 1100 mile journey from Honduras to the Mexico/Texas border by themselves — with no quiet assistance and support from governments eager to persuade their northern neighbor to come up with the boodle. It certainly does make one wonder how this exodus gathered such momentum so quickly, and its curious confluence with the slashing of US aid to these countries.
We say, “No.” That couldn’t be. No government could be so callous and so cruel as to use its children as pawns in a blackmail scheme. And shame on anyone who thinks so.