Thursday, July 19, 2018

The Wrong Way to Address the Venezuelan Emigration Crisis

Latin American diplomats say that given its immigration policy, the U.S. has no moral authority to call for Latin America to do more with regard to Venezuelan migrants. Fair enough. But they take it one troubling step further.

Mimicking the Trump administration, some countries have already taken steps to tighten their border controls as the public has begun complaining to elected officials about extra competition for jobs.
Fernando Carrera, the foreign minister of Guatemala in 2013 and 2014, understands the diplomatic complaints, but said it will not change the reality that governments must deal with incoming Venezuelan migrants. 
“Even if in diplomatic circles, leaders say to Washington we will not accept more people if you don’t accept more of our nationals or you don’t have the moral conviction to tell us we should accept more people while you’re not accepting,” Carrera said. “The practicality is the flow of Venezuelans to Brazil, Peru and Colombia will continue.”
In other words, if you don't do anything, we won't either. That's simply awful.

Further, Latin America wants the U.S. to coordinate a response. This reflects a persistent theme that tends not to get sufficient attention, which is that in times of crisis Latin America looks to the U.S. Despite all the rhetoric about unity (of which there is little) and autonomy, or even freedom from the empire, Latin America does not come together effectively in times of crisis. This was painfully obvious during the Honduran coup crisis in 2009, when even Hugo Chávez was publicly asking Barack Obama to do something.

And in all things, mimicking the Trump administration is a bad idea. Don't do it.


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