Migration crisis

Top officials of 11 Latin American and Caribbean governments met October 22 in Chiapas, Mexico to deal with the flood of migrants heading to the United States. There was agreement that US interventions in their region fuel migration. A report from Chicago, released two days earlier and discussed here, concluded similarly.

The goal of the meeting called by Mexican president Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador was to form a regional block tasked with finding solutions. Presidents on hand, besides AMLO, were Xiomara Castro of Honduras, Miguel Diaz-Canel of Cuba, Gustavo Petro of Colombia, and Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela.

The joint statement emerging from the meeting outlined baseline assumptions: “The main structural causes of migration have political, economic, and social origins, to which the negative effects of climate change are added.”

“Unilateral, coercive policies from the outside are by nature indiscriminate; they affect entire populations adversely.”

The statement concluded with an agreement covering 14 points, among them: further development of an action plan, mutual cooperation, attention to commercial relationships, demands put on destination countries, respect for human rights, protection of vulnerable populations, the special case of Haiti, and a plea that the Cuban and US governments “comprehensively discuss their bilateral relations.”

AMLO declared that “unilateral measures and sanctions imposed against countries in the region, particularly Venezuela and Cuba, contribute to instigating migration,” also that the US government has to “dialogue with us.”

The Great Cities Institute, a research center at the University of Illinois at Chicago, on Oct 20 released a report prepared by journalist Juan Gonzalez. It analyzes recently-imposed economic sanctions and US assaults over many years against regional governments.

The report concludes that “US foreign policy toward Latin America …[and] sanctions directed at Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua, have played a major role in crippling the economies of those three nations, thus fueling for the past two years an unprecedented wave of migrants and asylum seekers from those countries that have appeared at our borders.”

Undocumented Mexican immigrants are shown to have represented 70 per cent of all undocumented immigrants in 2008 but only 46 per cent in 2021. It appears that, later on, most unauthorized migrants entering the United States came from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador.

Then Venezuelans “apprehended at the border” increased from 4,500 in 2020 to “more than 265,000 in the first 11 months FY 2023.” There were 3,164 undocumented Nicaraguans crossing the border in 2020 and 131,831 two years later. 14,000 Cubans crossed in 2020; 184,00 did so in 2023. In fact, “more Cubans have sought to enter the U.S. during the past two years than at any time in U.S. history.”

The report indicates that the three countries supplying these migrants “have been targeted by Washington for regime change through economic sanctions, a form of financial warfare that has only made life worse for their citizens.”

Note is taken of Venezuela’s GDP falling 74 per cent over eight years and of $31 billion in oil revenues lost between 2017 and 2020. Venezuela must import most of the pharmaceuticals, medical supplies, and food it needs, according to the report.

Excerpted: ‘How to Ease the Migration Crisis: End US Economic Sanctions’. Courtesy: Counterpunch.org


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