Monday, April 27, 2015

Distribuyendo las responsabilidades/Assigning Responsibility

La historia de las intervenciones de los Estados Unidos en Honduras lleva decenios
[English below]

Distribuyendo las responsabilidades
Por Elvira Arellano, La Opinión
2 de abril, 2015

Cuando mi hijo hace algo que no debe, le miro y le pregunto si acepta la responsabilidad. Me dice “sí, mamá, acepto la responsabilidad”.

Cuando un policía le pega un tiro a un afronorteamericano o a un latino que no porta armas, hemos aprendido que asignar la responsabilidad toma tiempo. Aun cuando se determina que el oficial tiene la responsabilidad, hay más preguntas. ¿Acaso ha existido un patrón de racismo y violencia excesiva en aquella corporación policial? ¿Tal vez la capacitación de los oficiales era de baja calidad?

Pero cuando cientos de hombres, mujeres y niños hondureños resultan mutilados mientras que viajan encima de “la Bestia” en un intento desesperado para reunificarse con sus familias en los Estados, asignar la responsabilidad es un poco más complejo.[...]

Lea el artículo completo:

Assigning Responsibility
By Elvira Arellano
April 2, 2015

When my son does something wrong I can look him in the eyes and ask him if he is responsible. He will tell me. Yes, mother. I am responsible.

When a police officer shoots an unarmed African American or Latino we have learned it takes time to assign responsibility. Even when the officer is found to be responsible there remain questions. Was there a pattern of racism and excessive violence in the police department? Was there poor training?

Yet when hundreds of men, women and children are mutilated while traveling from Honduras north on “La Bestia”, on top of the train, in a desperate effort to be reunited with their families in the United States, it is more difficult to assign responsibility.

Many of these Honduranos are gathered at the U.S. border, seeking attention to their condition – and still seeking to return to their families in the United States.

Who is responsible for their injuries? We can blame the Mexican authorities for failure to protect them on their journey – and there is no doubt in my mind that they have some responsibility. We can blame to Honduran authorities for the conditions of violence and poverty that drive so many men, women and children to make the journey north. Certainly that government shares in the responsibility. Some blame the travelers themselves. “They are responsible for the risks that they took.”

Yet when looking to assign responsibility the United States government is never mentioned. That failure to assign responsibity to the U.S. has been a real obstacle in our battle to stop the deportations and it is now even more of a problem as we fight for the return of family members who have been deported.

The history of U.S. intervention in Honduras is decades long. The history of the United Fruit Company’s exploitation of the Honduran economy is decades long. As late as 2009, the U.S. was reported to have supported a military coup against a democratically elected government. Certainly, the U.S. quickly supported the military government. The country was in chaos. The military moved to destroy the opposition causing more chaos.

So doesn’t the U.S. bear responsibility for those who left the poverty and violence of Honduras, came to this country with their families and were later deported and separated from those that depended on them?

The myth that the undocumented came to this country to “pursue the American Dream” has covered up the truth of U.s. policies that have created a forced migration. From the beginning of our struggle, the failure to assign responsibility has made it more difficult to stop the deportations and separation of families. We have been faced with an arrogant government that cast blame on everybody but themselves and demonized the victims of the forced migration.

It is not too late. Moreover, the millions of people who have come from Mexico and Central America who are here now know the conditions that forced them to journey north – and many understand clearly the role of the U.s. government for the poverty and violence in their country.

We will never really solve the “immigration crisis” until we address U.S. government and corporate policies in Latin America. Just as we will never stop police murder and racial profiling by giving sensitivity training to police officers, so we will never solve the terrible things that happen to the migrant families until we address the responsibility for decades of forced migration.

That task is the responsibility of our community, the responsibility of our community for our people.

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