Our 'Banana Republics'

This was a predecessor company of the Boston-based United Fruit Co., which did a lot of business in Central America.

This was a predecessor company of the Boston-based United Fruit Co., which did a lot of business in Central America.

From Robert Whitcomb’s “Digital Diary,’’ in GoLocal24.com

On the immigration “crisis’’ approaching our southern border, some context: As Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times noted the other day:

“More than 1.4 million foreigners emigrate to the United States each year. If, say, half the caravan { around 5,000 people} reaches the border, and half of those people actually enter the U.S., they would represent less than one-tenth of 1 percent of this year’s immigrants.’’

Despite Trump’s tough-guy approach, unauthorized crossings of our southern border are up slightly this year from last and the number of families crossing together as a unit hit a monthly record last month: more than 16,500 people. That’s how bad things are in much of Central America. (Still, U.S. has about 328 million people.)

The pictures of the desperate marchers are of course dramatic, and being heavily used by the orange man in the Oval Office and his propaganda arm – Fox “News’’.

The Democrats, not being “reality TV’’ experts, are slow on the uptake on the caravan. No, they don’t favor “open borders’’. But mostly because they don’t have the presidency, they lack the opportunity to present a clear position that the public will listen to.

Of course, they should clearly ask the marchers to go back home, but perhaps with the hope for some of them that the U.S. government, which has been controlled by the Republican Party for the majority of time since 2001, might finally come up with a coherent, pragmatic and fair immigration policy that would let them legally enter the country.

Congress, meanwhile, should block Trump threats to cut off aid to Central America, a cutoff that would only increase the lawlessness and poverty that drives these desperate-people north. And they should remind Americans that we are indirectly the cause of much of the trouble. Consider our insatiable demand for drugs, which in turns spawns corruption and gangs in Central America, and that much of the illegal-alien problem can be blamed on U.S. business’s love of cheap labor. A lot of Republican businessmen have loved having low-paid illegal-alien workers.

Also note that many of Central America’s woes can be traced back to the socio-economic-environmental damage done by their past status as heavily exploited economic colonies of the United States. For years such American companies as the old Boston-based United Fruit Co. basically ran these little nations, protected by the U.S. government.

American companies profited from very stratified social classes, a very large impoverished working class and a plutocracy, composed of the business, political and military elites, with whom U.S. firms and government officials worked closely. The dictatorships pushed, in return for kickbacks, the exploitation of large-scale plantation agriculture, especially of course bananas. Thus, “Banana Republics.’’

In any event, the Democrats (and Republicans) should emphasize that the marchers must go through the ordinary orderly process demanded of asylum seekers at our borders. Given the numbers in the current caravan, this will require additional personnel at the southern border, probably including military.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer ought to jointly and repeatedly affirm the above.