Friday, April 5, 2019

Horrors! He's going to El Salvador???
California Governor Gavin Newsom under attack again for seeking to be an informed public official

El Salvador. When an American such as Donald Trump talks about stopping aid to El Salvador and decrying Salvadorean immigration, he/she is likely to be unaware of the fact that as far back as 1931 U.S. government policy has ranged from tacitly-accepting-to-actively-supporting brutal dictatorships and the slaughtering of tens of thousands of Salvadoreans.

Whether it
  • was La Matanza (The Massacre) of 1932 in which tens of thousands of peasants died in the ensuing chaos on the orders of former General President Maximiliano Hernández Martínez who led a coup d'état in December 1931; or
  • was the Salvadoran Civil War (1979–1992) that killed more than 75,000 people financed by the U.S. through military aid ($1–2 million per day to the government of El Salvador during the Carter and Reagan administrations) and directly managed (in 1983, US officers took over positions in the top levels of the Salvadoran military making critical decisions and running the war on the "rebels") that killed more than 75,000 people and included the deliberate terrorizing and targeting of civilians by death squads, the recruitment of child soldiers and other human rights violations (the Salvadoran Army's US-trained Atlacatl Battalion was responsible for the El Mozote massacre where more than 800 civilians were murdered, over half of them children, the El Calabozo massacre, and the murder of Jesuit scholars on the campus of José Simeón Cañas Central American University; or
  • is the current situation resulting in large numbers of migrants Trump is using as political pawns in his reelection campaign, a situation which is the direct result of the Clinton Administration cutting off all aid and deporting back to El Salvador thousands of Salvadorans with criminal records after the January 1992 Chapultepec Peace Accords, all resulting in powerful criminal gangs dominating a country with extremely limited economic resources in which farms and businesses had been destroyed.

It is Trump's Deplorables attitude that represents a good reason to support the idea of Calexit. But then Californian's let you down.

Recently Los Angeles Times political columnist George Skelton wrote a story with this headline - Forget the trip to El Salvador, Newsom needs to focus on California’s problems.

Too frequently it's just potential political suicide for a U.S. politician to want to have adequate information to formulate intelligent policy to address a problem. It seems 21st Century Americans want their politicians to be as ignorant and uninformed as Donald Trump, which is as ignorant and uninformed as they are.

So let's get the facts straight. If you missed the significant story this past week relevant to El Salvador, it is represented by this headline - Trump plans to cut U.S. aid to 3 Central American countries in fight over U.S.-bound migrants. The "3 Central American countries" are Guatemala, Honduras and, of course, El Salvador.

If you examine the chart on the right you'll learn that there are 5.6 millions folks in the U.S. including the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, who identify their heritage as Puerto Rican - Hispanic but not even close to Central American.

You'll also might be surprised to learn that there are 5.6 million folks in the U.S. who identify their heritage as Central American and no part of Central America is in the U.S.

Of those Central Americans, 2.3 million identify their heritage as Salvadoran, 680,000 of whom live in California. The total population of El Salvador is 6.4 million, so the U.S. Salvadoran heritage population is equal to 36% of the population of El Salvador, and California's is 11%.

You can, of course, choose to be as ignorant as you want about the "immigrant crisis" but you do end up looking as dumb as Fox News. As you can see Trump's favorite network indicated that Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador are "Mexican Countries" apparently unaware that each of them and Mexico are separate countries. Trump's Deplorables think that stupidity is fine.

 On November 6, 2018, California voters selected Gavin Newsom to become their next Governor. A few weeks later, as Governor-elect, Newsom was in Mexico for the inauguration of newly-elected Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez-Obrado (known as AMLO).

Among other subjects, they discussed the immigration problems, the caravans, their significant impacts on California, and Trump’s approach. According to the Governor's chief spokesman and Director of Public Affairs Nathan Click:

    [AMLO} said, you should actually go to Central America and see what’s happening to get a bigger sense of the issues that all of us are facing,
    At the suggestion of the incoming Mexican presidency, Newsom concluded that the beleaguered nation — ground zero for many of key immigration concerns — would be a good place to start.
    ...Nearly half of the Salvadorean immigrants in the U.S. live in California, and their story is essential to our state story.
    California is proudly a state of refuge ... and he is offering assistance to those at the border.
    It would be a failure of our leadership not to seek a bigger picture of what’s happening there.

Newsom leaves for San Salvador, the capital of El Salvador, on April 7, returning on April 10. He will meet with top officials of the country, U.N. experts, and immigration experts.

He will be accompanied by Deputy Press Secretary Jesse Melgar.

    The twist: Melgar’s dad arrived in the U.S. in 1980 as a young undocumented immigrant and refugee from the civil war in El Salvador. He applied for citizenship under Ronald Reagan’s amnesty program, became a naturalized citizen — and “today, his son is working for the governor of California,’’ Melgar says.

In the article linked above Los Angeles Times political columnist George Skelton said the trip made Newsom look like “an ambitious rookie governor trying to play world leader.” John Cox, the Republican candidate for Governor who lost to Newsom, called Newsom "Governor Grandstand."

Of course, former Governor's Gray Davis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Jerry Brown also traveled to Mexico. Schwarzenegger visited troops at the U.S. Army Garrison-Yongsan, South Korea, and traveled to Japan, China, and Russia and Brown traveled to China and Europe, both pursuing California's trade and climate policies.

It's understandable folks in the Rust Belt might not be aware that in California there are Californios (descended from the Spanish-speaking community which has existed in California since 1542) plus the remainder of the Hispanic population - the state's largest population group - whose ancestors are from Mexico and the Central American countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua ( Los Angeles has the United States' largest Central American community, as well as the largest Mexican American community since the 1910s and 1920s).

We also have a border with Mexico. Plus California and all those countries have Pacific Ocean beaches.

As AMLO recommended it is a good idea for our Governor to get a personal feel for the basis for the immigration surge so that our state, at least, can develop humane policies to deal with the problems it creates.

But, of course, critics think Newsom should spend those four days, so very early in his four-year term, doing something else.

Sometimes it's hard to remember this chart:

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