Across the United States, a conversation about a caravan of over 1,500 people from Honduras is on the lips of nearly every American and is saturated in our national media. The workers from Honduras are heading to the United States through Mexico via Guatemala. Both sides of the imperialist coin that is the American political establishment have been taking this humanitarian crisis for their own electoral purposes. The caravan of asylum-seeking migrants is no accident, but a result of U.S. foreign policy from both sides of the aisle, that seeks profit over humanity. Before taking a look at the inhuman and fascistic rhetoric of the current administration against these migrants, it is important to understand why these people are risking their lives to cross the border. In order to do this, we must go back to the Obama Administration and Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State.
In 2009, a coup against the democratically-elected president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, was carried out. Before the coup, Zelaya’s government had made fast moves toward left-wing policies. Zelaya’s government had raised the national minimum wage, provided free school lunches for school children, nutritional assistance for young children, created scholarships for higher education, and created pension funds for senior citizens. While the country’s wealthy and military were stirred by these policies, the final straw was with the motion by Zelaya to form a new assembly to change the constitution and fundamental law of the country away from the constitution established by U.S.-backed military dictator Policarpo Paz Garcia in the 1980’s.
Honduran General Romeo Vásquez led a military coup against the Zelaya government. General Vásquez had graduated from the notorious School of Americas, a U.S. military establishment created to vet and train contras, guerrillas, and official agents of American imperialism. The U.S. did not just serve a passive role in this coup by supplying the schooling for its leader but, directly was involved. The night before the coup U.S. officials met with coup leaders. After the coup was held, the international community called for the return of Zelaya. According to various emails from Hilary Clinton and the State Department, the goal of the U.S. was to back the coup, help it remain stable, and ignore the call for Zelaya’s return. In her autobiography, Hard Choices, Clinton outright says, “In the subsequent days [after the coup] I spoke with my counterparts around the hemisphere, including Secretary Espinosa in Mexico. We strategized on a plan to restore order in Honduras and ensure that free and fair elections could be held quickly and legitimately, which would render the question of Zelaya moot.”
But the elections and even day-to-day life in Honduras have been anything but free and fair. Bloodshed now spread across the country. Thousands have been killed by the military junta that controls the country with U.S. support. Violence and censorship now rule the country. Since the coup, Honduras now has one of the highest murder rates in the world. Trade union leaders and workers are high targets for the junta. Journalists disappear every day. Every kind of activist, from electoral to environmental has been slain by the U.S.-supported junta. Government subsidies and services have been slashed leaving many in the country in unemployment and destitute poverty. The first time many tried to flee during to the United States following the coup, Clinton and the Obama government denied them entry and asylum.
The Trump Administration has responded so far in a predictable way. It has painted the caravan of victims of U.S. foreign policy as an invading force. The administration and right-wing talking heads have labeled this group of migrant workers looking for asylum thugs, gangsters, rapists, and drug peddlers, all with the goal to attack the American way of life. Trump, after formally declaring himself a nationalist, has already threatened to take away aid from the country, an action that would only to worsen the conditions behind the migration. The Republican Party is attempting to profit from the humanitarian crisis by puffing its chest against these foreigners, declaring themselves yet again the border guardians of American freedom.
In reality, the migrants are poor workers and their families, fleeing the violence of the U.S.-supported military dictatorship in Honduras, seek only a stable life where they may work and raise their children in peace. Yet, the imperialist U.S. refuses to take responsibility for its actions across the globe and in doing so only victimizes the Honduran people again.
It is up to the workers in the U.S. to not fall for reactionary propaganda against the caravan of migrants. The workers of the U.S. must stand in solidarity with these migrant workers—to oppose racist rhetoric against working people who only wish for a job, to feed and clothe their family, to live in peace, and to live a happy life. This is what all workers want. If American workers turn their backs on these migrant workers, the American working class turns its back on itself. The Trump government has been attacking American workers since its establishment. The government has been celebrating militarism for years. How long before American workers find themselves targeted by a reactionary militant government? To stand now with migrant workers is not just to push justice for the international working class, but to work to prevent such a crisis from coming to America’s working class.
International solidarity between all workers!