Above photo: The ‘Wall of Crosses’ along the U.S.-Mexico border in Nogales. Jonathan McIntosh/cc/flickr.
“How can we keep Donald Trump talking about immigration?” Sam Nunberg asked Roger Stone in 2016 when both were Republican campaign advisers. “Let’s get him to talk about how he’s going to build a wall,” they decided.
The tycoon adopted this message as his own, and this became the line connecting him with his base. In auditoriums all over the country, Trump was greeted with cries of “Build the wall.” “If things are getting a little boring, if people are thinking about leaving, I just tell people, ‘We’re going to build the wall,’ and they go crazy,” the then-candidate acknowledged to the editorial board of the New York Times exactly four years ago.
Once in the White House, he made the wall a national cause and a recurrent election theme. Last Tuesday, he made a stop in San Luis, Arizona, to visit the wall on the Mexican border and celebrate the construction of 200 miles (322 km) of wall – a barrier of steel posts 3 times longer than the Berlin Wall – built since he arrived at the White House.
The great paradox of this fencing is that it establishes the isolation of the United States in a physical as well as a conceptual and psychological way. It shows us all the mental instability of a society apprehensive enough that it has ended up erecting a barbed barrier against itself. The bad management of the epidemiological crisis in a country that represents 5 percent of the world’s population but 26 percent of those infected with COVID-19 and 25.8 of the world’s COVID-19 deaths, has erected a wall higher and more heavily armored than the one at the Mexican border. To top it off, the President of the U.S. has announced that they will do less testing in order to avoid having higher statistics. This is an argument as infantile as that of an obese person who decides not to weigh himself in order not to get fatter. Except in this case, we are speaking of a criminal act.
The New York Times disclosed yesterday that the European Union has prepared a preliminary draft of its new border regulations, outlining who can visit after July 1, and that this list depends on how the countries of origin of the prospective travelers are dealing with the new coronavirus. People from the U.S., at this point, will be excluded. “This viewpoint is a severe blow for U.S. prestige in the world and a rejection of the management of the virus in the U.S. on the part of President Trump,” the Times added. Among the acceptable travelers for the European Union are those from Cuba, the country against which the U.S. began to build economic, financial, and military walls beginning in the 1960s, continuing with a new sanction each week since Trump entered the White House. In other words, the United States has closed itself off, and the world is closed to it, while Cuba has been open to international collaboration against the challenge of the coronavirus, and is welcomed everywhere in the world in this effort.
The European Union has said that the criterion for creating the list of “acceptable countries” has been deliberately kept as scientific and nonpolitical as possible. On the island of Cuba, they have been able to stop the epidemic cold, with just one new case of infection found several days ago, no deaths, and the gradual resumption of activities in all provinces other than Havana; most other provinces have had more than 30 days without a reported case. This was achieved by a system of public health that has asserted its core of solidarity and its position as a world power in this pandemic.
The right-wing opposition in Mexico should take note and cease harassing the Cuban medical brigade, out of an instinct of self-preservation, and even with the additional incentive of someday being able to take their summer vacations in Venice or Paris. In their contemptible efforts to extend Trump’s wall against Cuba to the Central American border and to embarrass the government requests for help to detain the pandemic, they have taken up a position to the right of the European Union, subordinated science to the most mean-spirited policies, and are clinging to a world-view like a grade-Z version of Orson Wells, in which they confuse the Cuban medical brigades with the Martian invasion. Please, don’t start believing the story that Cuba is the Red Planet, sending spies disguised as doctors. This strange path, never imagined by Marx or Lenin, of a sort of “Workers of the World, heal yourselves” is as much fantasy as the beliefs of Trump that his wall has saved them from coronavirus and will open forever the doors of a world just for white people.
Translation Resumen Latinoamericano, North America bureau.