The ‘Caravan’ and the spirit of Thanksgiving
The U.S. could make a gesture of real 'thanksgiving' in the form of welcoming the Central American families at the border.
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Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, that most American of holidays, and naturally people are looking forward to a heart-warming celebration with loved ones, enjoying delicious food gathered around the family table. Beautiful.
Meanwhile, thousands of desperately poor Central American families –many with small children--that fled their countries to seek refuge from violence and hopelessness in the world’s most powerful nation, have no delicious food, family table or anything else to be grateful for.
Vilified and threatened by president Donald Trump, who has maliciously called them “an invasion,” they have also been mistreated, insulted and rejected by some Mexicans--not that many for sure -along the way, and their wish for a second chance in life and a safe future for their children is, to say the least, fraught with uncertainty.
Everybody knows, one hopes, that Trump’s decision to send 12,000 troops to the southern border was nothing but a cynical attempt to manipulate reality for electoral purposes. The cost to taxpayers, the majority of whom never wanted such a maneuver, is staggering. Even worse, such action is also illegal, as Truthout has made clear:
“Trump’s decision to deploy the military to the border to enforce US immigration law against thousands of migrants from Central America — who have undertaken the perilous journey over 1,000 miles through Mexico to the US border in order to apply for asylum — is an unlawful order.”
As Gerry Condon, president of Veterans for Peace, told Truthout, “Sending troops to the US border with Mexico is as immoral and illegal as sending them to invade and occupy foreign lands. Donald Trump is carrying out a racist war against asylum seekers who are fleeing extreme violence, which in turn is caused by decades of US support for repressive regimes in Central America.”
This Thanksgiving, while surrounded by the love of family and the comforts of home, keep in mind the Central American children, mothers and fathers. They have not embarked on such a dangerous journey to take advantage of the generosity of the rich neighbors at the other side of the border, but to save their lives and legally seek asylum in the U.S., something to which they have a right.
And keep in mind that given the enormous cost to Central America of many years of exploitation, U.S. military interventions, support for corrupt regimes, as well as an illegal drug trade that has exacerbated violence even more against the people of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, for the U.S. to do the right thing and take in the refugee families would not really be a charitable act. Actually, it would amount to barely a down payment on the gigantic economic and, more important, moral debt this country owes the Central American region and its people.
Paying that debt, that would be the real Thanksgiving spirit.