Problems at borders are nothing new. As an immigration lawyer, this is essentially my job – dealing with peoples’ problems at the border, including the literal border, or airports and the problems of people trying to get permission from U.S. consulates to enter the United States or people in the United States who want to remain here.
In the news are two border struggles. One is about the provision of humanitarian aid to Venezuela by the United States. The “American” story is that Venezuela is run by an evil and corrupt (and Socialist) regime, and the United States must lead the way in toppling it, and while we’re at it, we want to give aid to help the long-suffering people of Venezuela. Venezuela, and its despotic leader, Nicolas Maduro, so the story goes, are blocking this aid because he does not want to admit his country is in desperate straits. This American perspective is reflected in our media such as here and here.
How ironic. Is it really Donald Trump leading the world in the morally excellent effort to depose a despot? This from a man, who as James Surowiecki pointed out in a tweet about this Trump tweet from yesterday:
MEXICO HAS AGREED TO IMMEDIATELY BEGIN BUYING LARGE QUANTITIES OF AGRICULTURAL PRODUCT FROM OUR GREAT PATRIOT FARMERS!
has taken to sounding like one of his favorite despots, Kim Jong Un.
As for the other side of the story, Venezuela accepts foreign aid as discussed here and here. What the Venezuelans did not want is aid from the United States without coordination with the government of Venezuela, wary of the the way foreign aid is used as a policy tool by the United States which has a stated goal of overthrowing the government of Venezuela, as discussed here and here.
A “wise statesman” said that a nation without borders is not a nation. That is the principle the Maduro government is defending.
Meanwhile, in Arizona, a humanitarian aid worker, Scott Warren, who worked for an organization, No More Deaths, that provides water, food, clothes, shelter, and medical aid to people crossing from Mexico through the Sonoran desert was arrested and charged with alien smuggling. The government’s position is that Mr. Warren’s intention was to “thwart the Border Patrol at every possible turn” and help illegal border crossings.
Here, too, a government is in pursuit of its sovereign right to protect its border.
Is the Venezuelan government right to want to protect its sovereignty over what goes on at its borders and what and who comes into its country? Does it matter that a lot of what it has done over the past couple of decades has been deplorable?
Is the United States government right to want to protect its sovereignty over what goes on at its borders and what and who comes into its country? Does it matter that a lot of what it has done over the past couple of decades has been deplorable?
As Linda Richman would say, “Talk amongst yourselves.”
Posted June 9, 2019.