In the wake of revelations about a far-right conspiracy in Germany to expel migrants and “non-assimilated citizens”, progressive sections in Germany have launched militant anti-far-right demonstrations across the country, raising the banner “Together Against the Right,” in defense of democracy and against fascism. From January 19 to January 22, more than 1.4 million people, including leftists, trade unionists, youth-students groups, and various other anti-fascist groups hit the streets in more than a hundred cities across Germany, protesting the xenophobic maneuvers and political schemings of far-right groups, including the Alternative for Germany (AfD).
For three weeks, members of NDN Collective’s Policy and Advocacy, Regional Deep Dive program, NDN Fund, Communications, Tactical Media, and Creative Resistance Teams, have been on the ground in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Our second week of being on the ground began with the official opening of the United Nations 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) and opening of the International Indigenous Peoples’ Pavilion. It was also filled with panels and discussions with panels, side events, participating in actions to uplift the Indigenous caucus’ priorities, and tracking negotiations and meeting with government officials.
Despite the enormous damage caused by U.S. intervention, Nicaragua’s economy has improved dramatically under the rule of Daniel Ortega, a leader of Nicaragua’s 1979 socialist Sandinista revolution who has been in power since 2007. Nicaraguan Finance Minister Iván Acosta gave an interview detailing how Nicaragua fits the broader pattern by which sanctions negatively impact working class people and the poor while doing little to affect a change in government policy. U.S. sanctions have been applied against Nicaragua based on the false claim that Ortega committed grave human rights abuses, when his government largely reacted with restraint to the violent political uprising in 2018 which caused Nicaragua’s GDP to decline by over 4%.
Migration is not a new phenomenon. For centuries, the world’s population has moved from one place to another with a common motivation: the search for a better future. However, in recent decades, the numbers have soared dramatically and dangerously, especially in Latin America and the Caribbean, spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic, lack of opportunity, poverty, violence, climate change, and, especially, the rise of unilateral sanctions by great powers against their “rival” nations, which are almost always at an economic disadvantage. Dialogue on this issue cannot be postponed. The humanitarian crisis on the US-Mexico border is growing by the day.
Ellis Island was once the border of New York City, a gated drawbridge for millions of immigrants to what would become their new homeland. But today, when New York’s border is at the Rio Grande, that checkpoint is beyond its control. From the perspective of necessity, prudence and even justice, cities must expand their policies of welcome to match their extended borders. Months have passed since Mayor Eric Adams declared that there was “no more room at the inn” for asylum seekers arriving in the city. Invoking, perhaps inadvertently, a Biblical metaphor, the mayor suggested that New York City’s shelter system was at capacity.
When Cornelia Ernst and her delegation arrived at the Rosso border station on a scorching February day, it wasn’t the bustling artisanal marketplace, the thick smog from trucks waiting to cross, or the vibrantly painted pirogues bobbing in the Senegal River that caught their eye. It was the slender black briefcase on the table before the station chief. When the official unlatched the hard plastic carrier, proudly unveiling dozens of cables meticulously arranged beside a touchscreen tablet, soft gasps filled the room. Called the Universal Forensic Extraction Device (UFED), the machine is a data-extraction tool capable of retrieving call logs, photos, GPS locations and WhatsApp messages from any phone.
In the 1980s, when Sendy Soto and her family left Guatemala for the United States in search of a better life, they followed in a long American immigrant tradition by making Chicago’s Logan Square their home. There, among her Mexican, Central American, Polish and other immigrant neighbors, Soto was instilled with a sense of community and a desire to help and work with Chicago’s growing migrant population. A 2020 report from the Vera Institute of Justice showed that 1.7 million migrants reside in Chicago, about 18% of the population, and 842,000 are at risk of deportation.
On the heels of last week’s North America Trilateral Summit, from which not much changed within the migratory system, today’s episode will focus on migration as a for-profit industry which has turned migrating humans into commodities. Our guest Adrienne Pine is co-editor of the book Asylum for Sale: Profit and Protest in the Migration Industry published by PM Press in November 2020. Here is brief description: Through essays, artworks, photographs, infographics, and illustrations, Asylum for Sale: Profit and Protest in the Migration Industry regards the global asylum regime as an industry characterized by profit-making activity: brokers who facilitate border crossings for a fee; contractors and firms that erect walls, fences, and watchtowers while lobbying governments for bigger “security” budgets; corporations running private detention centers and “managing” deportations; private lawyers charging exorbitant fees; “expert” witnesses; and NGO staff establishing careers while placing asylum seekers into new regimes of monitored vulnerability. Humanity is not for sale, and no one is illegal.
After two years of Joe Biden’s presidency, four times as many undocumented migrants are trying to cross the border into the United States, and he’s getting desperate to explain away the increase. In September, the administration discovered a new narrative: that migrants are fleeing “communism.” The White House ignores that fact that in the fiscal year just ended, migrants coming from the three countries he labels “communist” formed less than a third of the total: of the 2.7 million people “encountered” at the border, only a fifth came from Cuba, Nicaragua or Venezuela. Half of all migrants still come from the four countries closest to Texas: Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. If Biden blames migration on “repression” he has an excuse for renewed attacks on governments his administration demonises.
An encore broadcast with journalist, author, activist and educator Roberto Alvarenga Lovato. Roberto Lovato is the author of Unforgetting (Harper Collins), a “groundbreaking” memoir the New York Times picked as an “Editor’s Choice.” Newsweek listed Lovato’s memoir as a “must read” 2020 book which the Los Angeles Times listed as one of its 20 Best Books of 2020. Unforgetting was also shortlisted for the 2022 William Saroyan International Prize for Writing. Lovato, a Visiting Assistant Professor of English at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, is also a journalist whose work has appeared in the New York Times, the Boston Globe, Guernica, Le Monde Diplomatique, La Opinion, Der Spiegel and other national and international media outlets.
Why are more Nicaraguans heading north to the United States looking for jobs? Until July 2020, numbers were tiny. But in the last 1½ years numbers have increased sharply. Suddenly this has become a story, and government detractors argue, with little evidence, that people are fleeing political repression. “They’d rather die than return to Nicaragua,” is a typical headline. Manuel Orozco, a Nicaraguan based in Washington who strongly opposes the Sandinista government, told The Hill that “Nicaragua’s dictatorship is criminalizing democracy and fueling migration to the U.S.” Then, on September 20, this became the official explanation when White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre said Nicaraguans are “fleeing political persecution and communism.”
Migration has become one of the many heroic ways in which the Venezuelan people have resisted the US blockade. I would know, my own family left as their living conditions deteriorated more and more under Washington’s economic terrorism. My family’s migration story, hoping to find new opportunities in a foreign land, is not unique. Many Venezuelans left their homes in recent years looking for a respite from the countless hardships caused by US sanctions. These non-military tools have turned out to be quite deadly as they were designed to inflict pain and coerce whole populations into pursuing regime change. The “maximum pressure” campaign against Venezuela began with Trump in 2017 after Obama laid the ground for sanctions when he awarded us the grand title of “unusual and extraordinary threat” in 2015. Biden carries the murderous torch today.
Managua, Nicaragua - Two years ago, COHA reported on the manufactured “refugee” crisis around Nicaraguans living in Costa Rica. Now the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is saying that “102,000 people fled Nicaragua and sought asylum in Costa Rica” in 2021. As this article shows, this statement is inaccurate, adding further to the myth that Nicaragua is suffering a refugee crisis. On June 20, a group called “SOSNicaragua” which is based in Costa Rica, held a conference to mark World Refugee Day. Called “Breaking down walls, building hope,” it was addressed by the head of the Costa Rican government’s Refugee Unit, Esther Núñez. She confirmed that, since 2018, Costa Rica had received 175,055 applications for asylum, the majority from Nicaragua.
The Black Experience in the Americas has always been, by circumstance, design and by purpose, inextricably tied to the land and to forms of Resistance expressed through different peoples in different territories throughout the Americas. Climate change affects communities and regions differently, even within the same country, depending on their cultural, economic, environmental, political and social context. But climate change also affects people differently within these same communities and regions depending on their race and genders, both at an individual and collective level. For Black communities, an underspoken issue that is usually left out of organizing spaces related to climate change is migration.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, and his Russian counterpart and key ally, Vladimir Putin, have come in for much criticism from the Western media since coverage of the crisis began, with both leaders being accused of ‘orchestrating’ the current situation, allegedly in a bid to destabilise the EU, and also as a retaliatory measure taken by Minsk in response to EU sanctions imposed as a result of it successfully repelling a Western-backed colour revolution launched against it last August following the re-election of Lukashenko – again, the warmongers who actually created the refugee crisis in the first place via their colour revolutions and ‘humanitarian’ interventions, have come in for virtually little to no criticism from the Western MSM amidst the coverage of the current crisis, their ire seemingly reserved for Lukashenko and Putin instead.