The border crisis of 59,000 Central American children—soon to be 90,000 in this fiscal year—like climate change, is “man-made”. More specifically, it could be marked as “Made in the USA”.
After years of depleting the resources of Central America through direct foreign investment (extracting resources and labor at the lowest rates possible), structural adjustment policies that have created astronomical national debts per capita in countries like El Salvador via the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, the approval of the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) to enhance profiteering by multinational corporations, and the overthrow of democratically elected governments fighting for national sovereignty (e.g. the US complicity in the overthrow of Manuel Zelaya in Honduras), the chickens have come home to roost.
All international data indicate that the vast majority of children in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador live below the poverty line. Honduras, the murder capital of the world, has a per capita income of about $250 per month. After decades of exploitation, war, and structural adjustment policies, the new government El Salvador has been able to reduce unemployment only from 62% to 50% in the last five years (partly by creating cooperatives to produce school supplies for children); 50,000 gangs are in jail and 150,000 are on the streets.
Children lack basic human necessities, educational opportunity, and most fundamentally, physical security in their neighborhoods. Preyed upon by human traffickers, gang members, and cartel operatives, these children are doing what every child on planet earth seeks to do: find refuge where they can eat, learn, and be safe.