As we all know, there are a lot of people from Central and South America seeking asylum at our southern border. However, I haven’t really seen much information regarding the reasons why they’re seeking asylum. We’ve all heard about the gangs, etc. but not the reasons why these countries are falling apart. Since I’m an information seeker, I decided to look into one of these countries and let you know why there are so many problems there. My first pick was Honduras since this was the country that caught my eye.
In my reading I found out that in the early 1900’s U.S. banana companies set up shop in Honduras, bribed government officials, gained control of over 1 million acres of land and sent the resulting money and crops to the U.S. This buy-up of land converted Honduras into a one-crop economy, setting the entire nation up for massive poverty. At the same time, U.S. military was used to prevent any uprising against the corporations by the citizens of Honduras, while the banana companies gained monetary control of the country. By the time Regan was president, Honduras was often referred to as “U.S.S. Honduras”. Honduras was also used as a place to train the Contras of Nicaragua, which in turn increased the U.S. military presence in Honduras. This militarized Honduran society and brought about a crack down of any and all resistance to the government, thus squashing democracy. The U.S. was also instrumental in disrupting the coffee trade under the policy of “globalization”, which led to the destabilization of this industry.
All this has led to an increase in military, a loss of human rights, and many human rights violations. When the citizens elected Manuel Zelaya, a progressive president in 2006, his promise of reforms upset the ruling oligarchy, who then staged a military coup to overthrow the elected government. Poverty is a huge problem, with drug lords and a corrupt government, police and military working together. The U.S. is also at fault for militarily supporting this coup against the wishes of the 35-member Organization of American States.
So, this is a quick over-view of the problems in Honduras. From what I have seen, the other countries from which asylum-seekers are coming have a history with the U.S. that is much the same. Clearly, the fault is not with the people who have walked thousands of miles seeking asylum. I’ve left some links below for your education. Once again, nothing happens in a vacuum, and we need to look at the history of a problem before we start assigning blame.