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[OP-ED] Back to the past

Decisions of courts and governors put against the wall achieved rights and vulnerable sectors.

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Many Latin Americans believe that development is found beyond their borders, in North America, Europe and Asia. It is not in vain that the migratory wave is growing hand in hand with the deepening of social and economic gaps.

Millions of dollars arrive from these countries on account of remittances sent by those who left to achieve a better life and improve the lives of those who stayed behind. In 2022, Latin American countries received US$142.325 billion, the highest figure in history. Of that, 80% came from the United States. Mexico received 41%, far behind Guatemala, the second in the ranking, with a figure close to 15%.

It is a symptom of the situation in these countries. But not everything is negative when compared to what is happening in the United States, where, in the midst of political polarization, some politicians are promoting xenophobic and racist positions in order to gain votes from those who are stuck in another century.

This includes decisions such as the censorship of books, the banning of abortion, the reversal of affirmative action in educational institutions, the deepening of racism and the attack on illegal immigrants, among other measures. Even the death penalty in some states is contrary to what happens in most countries of the world.

In conclusion, in the United States they are dangerously reversing the achievements of previous times, which could end in a social explosion of serious dimensions.

In Colombia, certain measures have been established, at least on paper, that demonstrate progress in areas such as the decriminalization of abortion, the legalization of same-sex marriage, the establishment of a minimum dose for the consumption of psychoactive substances, and the protection of migrants by the State. These measures are considered irreversible....... The banning of books is unthinkable and the option of the death penalty or life imprisonment is deemed unconstitutional.

The 1991 Constitution in force in Colombia expanded the range of rights and ended restrictions on citizens’ rights, opening the way to participation. There are also judicial channels to prevent the violation of rights. Yes, there are many difficulties and violations of these rights, but they do not come from institutions that operate outside the law.

Returning to the United States, the current political dispute between Republicans and Democrats to define who will be the rivals in the next presidential elections may leave in its wake more effective and institutional violations of rights.

The Republicans will seek by all means to encourage xenophobia, racism and all kinds of discriminatory extremism so that there is not the slightest risk of being confused with the Democrats. It is either black or white, there is no choice of grays. Therefore, what is at stake are the rights and the future of the vulnerable sectors of society. Illegal migrants, African-Americans, Latinos, the LGBTIQ+ community, women and their rights, children and the possibility of an unrestricted education....

Many extremists who want to live in a savage past are rubbing their hands with the ideas of characters like Donald Trump and the governors of Florida, Ron DeSantis, and Texas, Greg Abbott. They are incendiary without limits and legitimized to implement decisions that further divide society. The key to them is that there is no middle ground option. “You are either with me or against me,” is their political strategy.

The serious thing is that this polarization is being replicated in other countries and the bad example could spread dangerously towards a return to the deplorable past.

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  • xenophobia
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