31 July 2014 AD
Cause & Effect – Stuff You Should Know
Concerning a seemingly endless flood of Central American refugees, illegal aliens – PEOPLE – flooding over our southern border, angry, fearful Americans say, “Send them all back to where they came from.” Easier said than done.
Standing atop overpasses to wave banners and signs protesting this human tragedy makes us feel good, but does it affect the situation? As with all problems, if one does not know the cause, one cannot affect change.
I hear and read comments about how wonderful life is in Central America. Idyllic vacation resorts don’t expose the ugly underbelly of Central American life.
Now also we would not have you ignorant, brethren… – 1 Thessalonians 4:13
Why do we call them ‘Banana Republics’?
Consider this excerpt from the book Banana: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World
Author: Dan Koeppel
Publisher: Hudson Street Press
Copyright 2008 by Dan Koeppel
pages xiii-xiv, 63-64
“[Bananas] are the world’s largest fruit crop and the fourth-largest product grown overall after wheat, rice, and corn. … In Central America, [American banana companies] built and toppled nations: a struggle to control the banana crop led to the overthrow of Guatemala’s first democratically elected government in the 1950s, which in turn gave birth to the Mayan genocide of the 1980s. In the 1960s, banana companies — trying to regain plantations nationalized by Fidel Castro — allowed the CIA to use their freighters as part of the failed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba. … Eli Black, the chairman of Chiquita, threw himself out of the window of a Manhattan skyscraper in 1974 after his company’s political machinations were exposed. …
“On August 12, , Spain surrendered [Cuba in the Spanish-American War] and the United States gained control over the island, opening a naval base at Guantanamo Bay. Over the next thirty-five years; the U.S. military intervened in Latin America twenty-eight times: in Mexico, in Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Cuba in the Caribbean; and in Panama, Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Costa Rica and El Salvador, in Central America. The biggest consequence of those incursions was to make the region safe for bananas. One of the first businesses to enter Cuba was United Fruit. The banana and sugar plantations it established would eventually encompass 300,000 acres. An 1899 article in the Los Angeles Times described Latin America as ‘Uncle Sam’s New Fruit Garden’, offering readers insight into ‘How bananas, pineapples, and coconuts can be turned into fortunes.’ …
“[But the U.S.] public knew little about events like the 1912 U.S. invasion of Honduras, which granted United Fruit broad rights to build railroads and grow bananas in the country. They weren’t aware that, in 1918 alone, U.S. military forces put down banana workers’ strikes in Panama, Columbia and Guatemala. For every direct intervention, there were two or three softer ones, accomplished by proxy through local armies and police forces controlled by friendly governments. One of the few observers to take note of the situation was Count Vay de Vaya of Hungary, who … upon returning from a visit to Latin America, described the banana as ‘a weapon of conquest.’ “
Meet the ‘Enemy’
Corrupt U.S. foreign policies have led to the plunder of Central American nations for well over 100 years. As a nation, we have sown to the wind and now reap the whirlwind. Societies wallowing in poverty and crime are the consequence of outrageous injustice foisted upon Central American laborers by means of crony capitalism funded by U.S. tax dollars.
Reality is often difficult to accept. We prefer to believe we, as Americans, are victims. Sadly, this is not the case. Which political party should we hold responsible? Answer: All of them. Over the last 100+ years of our republic, Democrat and Republican governments have perpetuated disastrous foreign policy in Central America.
Definitions of ‘banana republic’:
In political science, the term banana republic is a pejorative descriptor for a servile dictatorship that abets or supports, for kickbacks, the exploitation of large-scale plantation agriculture, especially banana cultivation. (Wikipedia)
Only now is our Congress coming to grips with failed foreign policy. In recent years our government negotiated and demanded reparations to displaced Guatemalans whose land was seized without compensation and whose citizens were massacred by their own government to build a hydroelectric dam. After the Guatemalan government’s failure to live up to its promise of reparations, the U.S. Senate withheld ‘military aid’, a move that angered that banana republic’s president.
Life for the common person in Central America is a living hell and ‘fingerprints’ of our federal government and U.S. companies doing business there are all over the crime scene.
- Guatemala’s Chixoy dam: where development and terror intersect (The Guardian)
- Guatemalan president spars with US over Chixoy Dam reparations (The Tico Times)
Dissent at Home and Abroad – Human rights defenders in Guatemala are facing the worst environment since the civil war (Foreign Policy in Focus, April 2014)
We as a nation are not guiltless in this massive migration of Central American immigrants, refugees. Yes, our lawless president exacerbates and aggravates the situation. However, because we as a nation are culpable for perpetuating the misery of Central American nations, we owe it to them and to us to work to deal humanely, expeditiously and justly with illegal aliens now living among us.
Yelling and cussing, waving flags and banners – these actions may make us feel better for the moment, but such protests contribute nothing toward resolving the mess we are in today.
Yes, we must elect Republican lawmakers to counter a lawless president. Yes, we must collectively and separately demand accountability of our elected officials. And, yes, we must collectively and individually take personal responsibility to inform ourselves as we educate our fellow citizens.