2005-12-25

The Gringan Wall...

Last weekend I read an article by Jorge Carrillo Olea in La Jornada. (The full article in Spanish is here)

It speaks about the big wall that USA intends to build along its border with Mexico. The author notes that Ronald Reagan (Bush's political grandfather, we could say), became famous (among other things...) for asking Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin wall... The article also reflects on the uselessness of other big walls throughout history (Chinese, Hadrian's, Israeli...)

Well, this just adds to the contradictions that the USA is used to do. Claiming to be the "land of the free", in the 50's people became blacklisted if they were suspected communists... speak about freedom of speech... They invaded Irak against the U.N. security council, with the excuse to overthrow a tyrant that did torture and other horrible things... I am not saying this is not true, but the USA does the same and worse things in Irak, Guantanamo, etc... that's called hypocresy in my ranch (Mexico City)...

The thing is that last year more immigrants died trying to cross the border than U.S. soldiers in Irak... of course, you can imagine who didn't make the headlines... Building a wall will not solve the problem. The problem lies on one hand on the inability of the Mexican government (lead by technocrats bred in U.S. universities) to produce employment for the population, especially in the agricultural sector. There is almost no support to peasants, compared to the generous U.S. subsidies. More than half of the food consumed in Mexico is imported, mainly from U.S.A. The ironic thing is that a great deal of that food is harvested by Mexicans, only that the profit stays in the northern side of the border. Another issue is that last year the main income of Mexico turned out to be: not oil, not tourism, but money sent from immigrants in USA to their families... With such a big dependency of the country itself on immigrants, it is obvious to see that a wall will not stop half a million Mexicans that each year cross the border. On the other side of the border, U.S.A. is in its own right to try to keep workplaces for its citizens (works that nobody else would care to do, you might say (or as our president Fox put it, "not even black people would do" (no offense intended, it is a manner of speaking in Mexico...))). But that doesn't give anybody the right to discriminate people that cross the border risking their lives not because they like it in the other side, but because there is no other option left to feed their families. There is the demand for mexican workers, otherwise they wouldn't go there. The fact that they keep going back is that they do find jobs. If there is a demand, supply will find a way. Building a wall is just shameful for both sides: the discriminated and the discriminating. Limiting human rights of immigrants (such as health, education for their children, driving licenses) will not stop them from coming, because they had no other choice to begin with, if they had to leave home and family behind. In Australia it's much simpler. If you want to immigrate there, good, do things by the book, and everything will go fine. Stay illegally, and you are breaking their law, they'll put you in a concentration camp in the middle of the desert. Rough measures, indeed, but people know what they are risking. Both economies of Mexico and USA depend greatly on immigrants (otherwise who would send money home? Otherwise who would do the harvesting and manufacturing?). So USA knows they cannot really stop immigrants from coming, it would harm their economy. All the measures they take (including immigrant hunting) are not to stop the problem, but to save appearances. Why not to accept the problem, respect one another, and set the rules of the game clearly? Hipocresy, I say...

Note: Why "Gringan" wall? In Mexico the term "gringo" was used for foreginer. But recently this has been restricted only to people from the USA. Why? Because it seems many people (including the guys who named the country) didn't realize that America is a continent, not a country. So, if you say Americans, you need to include people from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, and the majority does not live in the USA. It is too cumbersome to call them "Unitedstatians" or something like that, so gringos has been kept for short... If we want to be posh, we can say our "northern neighbours", but in a conversation the interlocutor needs to know a) that you are a Mexican. b) a bit of Geography. So, that's why "gringo" is the most used word...



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