By Robert Gibbs, U.S. Correspondent, 05 February 2019, www.thecommunists.net
War rages on the Southern Border. Class war. In addition to the recent scandal of family separation introduced by the now resigned Attorney General, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions (Jefferson Davis was the President of the Confederacy and P.G.T. Beauregard was one of his Civil War generals), an even darker dimension of America’s experimentation with fascist methodologies is the recent, January 18 conviction of four women volunteers who left water in the Arizona Cabeza Prieta desert bordering Mexico for crossing migrant workers and their children. Being a good Samaritan is now against the law.
The crime that the four members of a volunteer organization, No More Deaths, committed? Entering the protected nature reserve without a permit and littering.
Peak daytime temperatures at the time of their summer 2017 arrest were routinely 110 degrees Fahrenheit. It is estimated that 7,000 migrants have died of heat stroke making the journey through the wilderness area when they run out of water.
The women: Natalie Hoffman, Oona Holcomb, Madeline Huse and Zaachila Orozco-McCormick – remain to be sentenced and are facing up to six months in jail. Anyone who directly shelters migrants could be looking at decades of jail time and recent additional arrests have been made.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Bernardo Velasco rendered his verdict saying that the women violated “the national decision to maintain the (Cabeza Prieta) Refuge in its pristine nature.” The judge reportedly ignored the fact that part of the “pristine nature preserve” are numerous human, skeletal remains.
Video of U.S. Border Patrol agents emptying jugs of water left by the four women for migrants frequently facing life and death conditions on their perilous journey is available at https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/01/20/they-left-food-water-migrants-desert-now-they-might-go-prison/?utm_term=.a05af5ea956a.
The volunteer activity is not restricted to Arizona. Virtually every section of the border stretching from California in the west to Texas in the east has both volunteer organizations and lone individuals who take it upon themselves to place water and even erect flagpoles that are then despoiled and torn down by Border Patrol agents and racist vigilantes.
The famous invocation at the base of the Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” does not apply, in the words of President Trump, if you come from what he considers to be a “shithole country”.
This has not kept the Trump Corporation from turning a blind eye to hiring undocumented workers to make the beds, clean the toilets, and cut the grass at Donald Trump’s numerous private golf courses and other holdings throughout the United States. Over a dozen of these low wage employees at Trump's golf clubs in Westchester County, N.Y. and Bedminster, N.J. recently resigned their positions in protest. Some of them had reportedly worked at the clubs for almost 15 years.
It should be noted that one of the “shithole countries” that Mr. Trump called out by name, Haiti, played a signal role in the development of the United States. This took place in 1803 when the Haitian Revolution under the leadership of Dessalines defeated Napoleon’s attempt to reintroduce slavery into the island republic. The former slaves defeated an expeditionary force of 40,000 led by Napoleon’s brother-in-law. The French had plans to supply reestablished slave sugar plantations with food to be grown in their North American colony, Louisiana.
The first successful slave rebellion (1791) in world history had deprived France of the colonial jewel whose riches had built Versailles (and indeed partially funded French intervention on behalf of the American Revolution).
The Haitian Revolution’s successful defense in 1803 immediately opened the door to Napoleon selling the Louisiana Territory to the United States government. This, in turn, permitted US expansion across the entire North American continent in the years to come. Immediately related to this was Spain’s follow-on agreement to forfeit its Gulf Coast colonies in the area of Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida.
At that time the US Army numbered a few thousand. The French army, by comparison? Counting citizens available for call up – around two million. The US government was in no position to seize Louisiana or, then, Florida.
How did Haiti, in turn, become a “shithole country”? Poverty in Haiti is directly related to a threatened French embargo and the related, punishing billions of dollars of “reparations” the Haitians were forced to pay for the liberation of slave “property” that lasted from 1825 until 1947. In addition there were repeated US military occupations that supported and maintained local, criminal client regimes including the infamous Duvalier family that did American bidding.
The flow of migrants from Central America and Mexico into the United States has been driven by the inability of these largely agricultural workers to compete in their home areas with imports of cheap American corn as a result of NAFTA. The economic dislocations have been compounded by the severe political conditions arising directly from CIA intrigue beginning with the overthrow of the democratically elected president of Guatemala, Jacobo Arbenz, in 1954.
The criminalization of efforts to prevent these poor migrants from dying in their desert crossings is merely a new chapter in a long history of regional, imperialist oppression.