Thousands of migrant workers and their families from Honduras have marched through Guatemala into Mexico, a river of people flooding the roads. They are bound for what they hope could be a better life in the U.S.
President Trump has threatened to call up the military and close the U.S. southern border against them. Closing a border is usually the last act a nation takes before declaring war.
But the U.S. has already declared 21st century war on migrants. It began under the Obama administration and is now being implemented even more cruelly and outrageously under Trump. Has it really been forgotten that ALL the people in this country, other than the Indigenous peoples and the Africans dragged here in chains, are im/migrants or are descended from im/migrants?
For over a century, U.S. capitalists have been waging brutal, devastating economic war on Honduras and other Central American countries in order to extract billions of dollars in profit from their land and their labor.
The Honduran migrants are simply fleeing the blows of poverty, violence and death that U.S. aggression has dealt their country.
Early in the 20th century, U.S. corporations like United Fruit grabbed thousands of acres of Indigenous lands in Central America and exploited the labor of Indigenous peoples. That economic occupation left a deadly legacy of poverty, illnesses from exposure to agricultural chemicals, tuberculosis, respiratory crises, infertility, cancer and death.
When Honduran workers resisted, as 40,000 did in the General Strike of 1954, there was always the threat of U.S. intervention. That was during the administration of Dwight D. Eisenhower. The U.S. secretary of state was John Foster Dulles, whose law firm represented the United Fruit Co. His brother, Allen Dulles, was director of the CIA as well as a United Fruit board member.
The current destabilization of Honduras came in 2009, again under the protection of the U.S. Manuel Zelaya, a relatively progressive president, introduced economic reforms that increased the minimum wage by 80 percent and decreased poverty by 10 percent. He was quickly deposed in a violent coup.
Where did the coup come from? Honduran Gen. Romeo Vásquez Velásquez, who graduated from the notorious School of the Americas, the U.S. Army training program better known as the School of the Assassins.
A horrific wave of assassinations and murders followed the 2009 coup. The U.S. corporate media refer to this as a period of “violence,” without explaining that the violence came from the reactionary government put in place by collaborators with U.S. imperialism.
Many have heard of Berta Cáceres, the Indigenous Honduran environmental activist murdered there in March of 2016. But she is only one of literally thousands — including Indigenous activists, peasant leaders, trade unionists, journalists, environmentalists, judges, opposition political candidates, LGBTQ and women’s advocates, human rights activists and others — who have been killed by right-wing death squads for the sin of demanding basic human rights, like a living wage.
U.S. officials — most significantly then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — were influential in guaranteeing power to the murderous junta and preventing Zelaya’s return to office, which was demanded by the Honduran people in massive nonviolent protests.
Hondurans are continuing to fight for their country. In May 2017 over 2,000 campesinxs took over 10 farms belonging to the Tela Railroad Co., a subsidiary of the former United Fruit, now known as Chiquita Brands International.
They are continuing to struggle as they march across borders, aiming for a U.S. that has taken so much from them. They are coming to demand a future they can survive in.
It is our responsibility in the U.S. to fight our utmost to stop the deadly interventions carried out by the corporate establishment that runs this country and support the self-determination of Honduras — and all other countries. It is the right thing to do. But in addition the brutal impoverishment of workers in other countries eventually means lower real wages here, too.
It is our responsibility to fight to open the southern border to the Honduran migrants.
Imperialism respects no borders in its interventions all over the globe. Profits squeezed from workers and farmers around the world have fattened the billionaires here, who then try to pit us against other working people in other countries. We have a common enemy: U.S. imperialist exploiters.
There must be no borders in the workers’ struggle.