Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Border

A breeding ground
for interference, corruption and xenophobia

Granma Internacional by Nidia Diaz

LAST weekend Barack Obama, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, gave the green light to reinforcing security on the southern border of the United States with 1,500 new agents and a further $600 million dollars, supposedly to combat the trafficking of drugs and weapons as well as illegal immigration. In a few words, to throw more fuel on the fire of xenophobia and racism at a time when the conservative ultra-right is asking for new sacrifices to be placed at the electoral altar.

This is how it has always been. At election time, Democrats and Republicans, that perfectly squared duo, recharge their batteries to see who will win more voters in the wake of a barrage of publicity criminalizing immigrants and blaming them for the economic chaos in a country in which banks and bankers are centrally responsible for the crisis.

Meanwhile, Obama is making people believe that the solution to the problems affecting the close to 12 million undocumented immigrants is still a priority of his mandate. This time something more than thirty pieces of silver were responsible for the first African-American U.S. president in the history of the empire betraying the dreams of millions who believed in him.

Like Christ, the undocumented are being crucified along the huge U.S.-Mexican border, while the real terrorists, the arms and drugs traffickers, are continuing to operate with impunity in the same measure that U.S. laws allow them to acquire not only conventional weapons, but more sophisticated ones such as those used by any modern army and as demand grows within the United States. And so an easy life for those who really generate and provoke corruption and violence in this immense extension that separates one nation from the other and which, moreover, serves as a communication route to amplify those evils within Middle America.

It was worth nothing that federal judge Susan Bolton temporarily eliminated—just 24 hours before its implementation—the most discriminatory aspects of the controversial Law SB1070. With every good intention, what she has done is to slightly postpone the great wave of violence which would increase what are already in themselves uncontrollable actions against the undocumented, because we are not convinced that the reinforced militarization of the Mexican-U.S. border is solely against immigrants, those who, expelled from their country by lack of opportunity are, in most cases, paying the corrupt coyotes of the "American dream" with their lives.

In any event an article in the Mexican daily La Jornada calls for reflection by stating that "this legislation (SB1070) is only a strident and rabid declaration of an operation that is silently expelling thousands of undocumented workers, increasing terror in Mexican communities in the United States.

Another of the many press commentaries published these days assures that "…under this administration (Obama’s), the number of raids and mass deportations has increased, the separation of families has continued, and the kidnapping of children of deported families has increased. Sadly this pernicious White House policy has received the support of the major political parties (Democrat and Republican), extremist right-wing organizations (the Tea Party, Concerned Citizens of the United States), the media (Fox), which have all promoted the fallacious association between illegal immigration and the terrorism and criminal violence of Mexican drug cartels."

In the border area, all of this is sufficient reason for men of the ilk of Joe Arpaio, sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, to spew out more than his usual anti-immigrant, racist and xenophobic phobias, in the hope that Governor Jan Brewer wins this fight and can "cleanse" the state of the 450,000-plus undocumented in the first place and then, do not doubt it, go for the 30% of Hispanics who live there.

In Arpaio’s county, raids are daily routine in a species of hunting worse than Hitler’s troop raids against the Jews, in spite of the fact that this same "cowboy," known as the "iron sheriff" or the "illegals hunter," is the son of immigrants.

According to press sources, in his favorite hobby, the feared racist not only employs systematic violations of the rights of his co-citizens, but skillfully arranges things to embezzle public funds with those who, without doubt, have guaranteed his reelection to office for four terms.

And that is not all: the stink of corruption has followed him from the period when he was converted from a simple police officer to a special DEA agent and rose to division director in Arizona.

The print media relates that "one of the most publicized acts of the "iron sheriff" is, without any doubt, a jail of army tents that he has installed in Phoenix, whose main 'clients' are undocumented Mexicans, who he forces to wear pink clothes,

including underwear.
"Whether the color is a fixation or mere coincidence, it is a fact that Arpaio has not only forced detainees to wear pink, but has also made them march through the streets in chains as though they were dangerous killers, when the only thing that they have done is to illegally enter the United States."

And as a demonstration of the fact that militarization of the alleged fight against violence and drug trafficking is the cover of the big business of corruption on one side of the border and on the other that of interference from the United States, the Arizona’s Department of Public Safety has revealed that while violent crime has gone down across the whole state, this has not been the case in the jurisdiction of Arpaio, Maricopa County; on the contrary, there it has increased by 58%.

Well, history repeats itself. Before it was the Ku Klux Klan and now "immigrant hunting," both with the common denominator of racism and "ethnic cleansing" of non-whites in U.S. territory.

A sad contradiction at a time when the presidency of that nation is occupied by an African American who insists that "the security of the southern border has been my main priority since I took office," that border which, as I read a few days ago, "is that space which reveals the differences, that places a price on dreams or on nightmares."

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