There is no genuine dispute that President Obama is responsible for the sudden mass influx into the U.S. of adolescent immigrants from Central America. Dreams of sanctuary under the DREAM Act and via Obama’s pen convinced Central American families to hand their children over to coyote networks that would take them across Mexico and the Rio Grande.
But Michael Gonzalez of the Heritage Foundation, writing in the National Interest, shows that Obama bears responsibility for the mass influx for this additional reason: his policies towards Central America have helped produce the hellish conditions in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador that cause so many to flee.
How has Obama done this? By supporting leftist criminals who are driving these nations into ruin and despair and by failing to support alternative leaders. Why has Obama done this? Probably because the leftist leaders promulgate the liberationist cant that Obama holds so dear.
Gonzalez provides a country-by-country analysis. He starts with Honduras.
Power Line readers may recall that only six months after Obama took office, the Honduran Congress and the Supreme Court issued a warrant for the arrest of President Manuel Zelaya and asked the Armed Forces to physically remove him from the country. Zelaya had close ties to Hugo Chavez and, indeed, nearly every anti-American actor in the region.
As we argued at the time, the removal of Zelaya was proper and legal because he was unlawfully trying to set himself up as a dictator for life.
However, Obama and Secretary of State Clinton labeled Zelaya’s removal a military coup. They terminated a broad range of assistance programs toward the impoverished country and conspired to have Honduras expelled from the OAS. They also suspended joint military operations, largely in the form of counter-narcotics assistance.
Predictably, as Gonzalez notes, drug trafficking organizations quickly filled the security vacuum. Now, Honduras is the transit point for an estimated 79 percent of northbound South American drug flights. And it has the highest murder rate in the world — 90.4 per 100,000 inhabitants. No wonder parents want their children to come to America.
El Salvador ranks number four on the world’s murder rate list. There too, the Obama administration has effectively placed the U.S. on the side of destructive, criminal, left-wing, anti-American leaders.
The administration laid the groundwork by selecting ultra left-winger Mari Carmen Aponte to be our ambassador to El Salvador. Aponte never lifted a finger to bring attention to the ties between the drug gangs and Salvador Sánchez Cerén, who was elected president of El Salvador in February of this year by a margin of 50.1 to 49.9.
Sánchez Cerén is a former Marxist guerrilla leader who has admitted to taking part in brutal killings. He is fiercely anti-American. In fact, on September 11, 2001, he led a mob down San Salvador streets and burned the American flag in celebration of the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.
Moreover, his FMLN party has well known links to MS-13 and Calle 18. And Sanchez Cerén’s close ally, José Luis Merino, is the well-documented connection between the FMLN, the FARC (the Colombian drug and terror group).
Aponte should have stated the concerns about Sanchez Cerén’s drug connections during the election which, as noted, was decided by the slenderest of margins. Instead, she insisted that the U.S. play no role and stated that she looked forward to working with whatever government is elected.
Note the contrast between this neutrality, which benefited an anti-American with close links to drug cartels, and Obama’s strong tilt towards Zelaya in Honduras.
Obama’s policy towards Guatemala has been similarly sympathetic to the anti-Americans and unmindful of regional security issues. Gonzalez provides the details.
Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton came of age at a time when Latin American leftism was chic. These days, Latin American leftism is less about ideology than about corruption and criminality. The fruit of that corruption and criminality, and the Obama administration policies that have enabled it, are showing up by the tens of thousands at our border.
Latin American leftists have outgrown Che Guevara. Have Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton?