Migrant children and adolescents as cannon fodder

Translated  by Marvin Najarro 

In 2014, Obama came out with his eleven sheep to give a press conference as a matter of urgency; it was early in the summer. He spoke of a crisis of migrant children traveling alone to the United States in search of their parents or fleeing violence in their home countries. Of course, there was no talk of institutionalized violence; he referred to maras (gangs) as criminal cliques. The “crisis” as he called it, is more than 20 years old, and has had an urgent character ever since.

It follows the creation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which involves Mexico, the United States and Canada (1991). Next takes place the implementation of Free Trade Agreement among the United States, Central America and the Dominican Republic (2004). From here we go to the Plan Mérida or Plan Mexico (2008) –a replica of Plan Colombia. To conclude, they create the Plan Alliance for Prosperity of the Northern Triangle of Central America in 2015.

The Spanish-language media in the United States spread the news like gun gunpowder, and in less than two days the alerts were in place, and special programs were made in newspapers, magazines, radios and television. They traveled to the border between Mexico and the United States, others more ambitious traveled to the northern triangle of Central America and even got into to the kitchens of the poor neighborhoods homes; the goal was to score points out of the permanent tragedy of those children.

This is how we watched interviews and reports of children and teenagers crossing the Rio Bravo or venturing into the desert between Sonora and Arizona. Maximizing this tragedy was the denunciation made by Obama, the so-called crisis, and so under the pretext that those children were in danger, the militarization of the borders, from the United States southern border down to Honduras’, has been in effect.

Between 2014 and 2015, the Southern Border Plan in Mexico and the Maya-Chortí Plan in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras were implemented. The pretext, to address organized crime, which involved kidnapping, abusing and murdering of migrants in transit, and drug trafficking. But the fundamental objective was to undermine the region, due to the creation of the Nicaragua Canal.

The media frenzy with the crisis of migrant children lasted one month. After that it was swept under the rug, the United States government and those of Mexico and the northern triangle of Central America had what they wanted.

In 2014, when the crisis broke out, according to Obama, a support program was created, under which those children arriving in the United States could apply for asylum. There were thousands of them making the journey -as they have been doing for 20 years- and few were granted asylum, most of them were deported. A few days ago the Trump administration canceled the program and now these children will be deported without delay.

It’s not the Trump administration, it’s the system. Last year at a UN meeting, the governments of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador sent their delegate to say that children and adolescents traveling alone to the United States did not do so because in their countries they were in danger of death, but because of the ambition of wealth and the American Dream. With this they were laying the groundwork for the cancellation of that program, which would have happened anyway, no matter who the president was.

They achieved their goal; the region has been militarized, with this the same governments that behave with impunity are in charge of the kidnapping, raping and murdering of migrants in transit, under the pretext of combating human trafficking and drug trafficking. But not only that, they implemented the same script of the Plan Colombia in the region to continue with ecocides, social cleansing, negotiations with transnational corporations -mining-, and institutionalized violence. The disadvantaged?  The same as they’ve always been. The forced migrations will continue, and these children and adolescents who in the last 3 years have hoped to seek asylum in the United States will be left to their own fate, so that organized crime, in collusion with governments, continue to use them as cannon fodder.

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Ilka Oliva Corado @ilkaolivacorado contacto@cronicasdeunainquilina.com

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