It seems the usual suspects have mostly dropped their war drums and quieted their war chants about re-occupying Iraq. Also known as trying to injure the White House. Maybe a better, more genuine discussion would be what the US and the rest of the world is willing to do about improving the dire situation in Central America. As things stand now, thousands of mothers and children are being duped and intimidated into a death defying run for safety in the US. Here’s some of what is motivating them:
NBC News — Honduras’ homicide rate was 90 slayings per 100,000 people in 2012, the worst in the world and six times the global average. The U.S. State Department warns that a corrupt and toothless police force means “criminals operate with a high-degree of impunity throughout Honduras.” Crushing poverty underlies the violence. Nearly two-thirds of the population lives below the poverty line, according to UNICEF. One in three infants is malnourished, and children in rural areas get an average of four years of schooling.
For many families, the only escape is over the porous border with Guatemala. There are only 22 police officers — with a single vehicle at their disposal — to patrol 43 miles of the border, which they say is full of “blind spots.” The children are hustled over the line and then into Mexico, and finally to the U.S., which has been struggling to cope with the surge in unaccompanied minors since October.
Honduras and its neighbors are completely collapsing in the face of widespread corruption and narco-terrorism. One result here in the US is refuge-style camps are springing up, some full of young children and young mothers. They will grow in number if we don’t change the way we deal with this influx. We could join many parts of the world, where relatively well off and utterly destitute families live in close proximity, with the latter in large concentrations of refugee camps, managed outdoor tent-prisons basically, without any of the rights or dwindling resources dedicated to the very poor and most vulnerable legal citizens in the US. If war refugees can’t stay here and have no home to go back to, they end up in no man’s land, with no legal status subsisting in tents and barracks, at best. Imagine how that would work years in the future, with no political representation for a group already scape-goated and hated by a wide, ugly swath of Americans.
If a case can be made to occupy a country, maybe Honduras is a good place to start making it. I’m not saying we should do that. I’d have to be sold, big time, on why it might improve the situation and not turn into a disaster falling squarely on US shoulders. But on the plus side, it would be an actual humanitarian effort with potential benefits for all concerned, the country/population is smaller than Iraq and much closer, Honduras and its neighbors are ecological and archeological treasure troves; the nation could easily descend into a state of mass genocide if we do not act soon, it’s not far away from total chaos now. If it wasn’t just the US, if other nations were willing to shoulder a share of the cost and risks, that would certainly sweeten the formidable prospect of a US-led occupation and reconstruction of a foreign country.
Obviously that would be a Herculean political lift and it won’t be seriously proposed by anyone with influence. Unless and until the crisis on the border reaches a sustained fever pitch of suffering or violence.