We get an replace from South Texas, the place eight individuals had been killed and at the very least 10 extra injured Sunday in Brownsville after a driver rammed his SUV into a bunch of individuals close to a shelter for migrants. The incident comes simply days earlier than the Trump-era Title 42 coverage is about to run out and extra migrants are anticipated to hunt asylum on the southern U.S. border. “I can solely describe it as a hate crime. It was motivated by hate,” Jennifer Harbury, a longtime human rights lawyer and activist with the Indignant Tias and Abuelas, says of the car-ramming assault. She additionally talks concerning the historical past of U.S. interventions in Central America that destabilized the area.
It is a rush transcript. Copy will not be in its remaining kind.
AMY GOODMAN: We start immediately’s present within the South Texas metropolis of Brownsville alongside the U.S. border with Mexico, the place eight individuals had been killed and at the very least 10 extra injured Sunday after an SUV drove into a bunch of individuals exterior a migrant shelter. Individuals say the motive force is Hispanic and is in custody however shouldn’t be cooperating with their investigation into his motive. Many of the males killed had been Venezuelan and had arrived within the U.S. days earlier, their identities nonetheless being decided by Customs and Border Patrol. One survivor mentioned the motive force was shouting obscenities and yelled that immigrants had been invading the US as he plowed into the group of males. It is a witness.
WITNESS: [translated] We hope they are going to get well, as a result of they’ve households distant who depend on them. We crossed mountains, marched and handed migration. It was an extended strategy to come right here, and we fought exhausting.
AMY GOODMAN: This comes because the variety of individuals coming to the border to hunt asylum is anticipated to proceed to rise because the Trump-era Title 42 coverage ends Thursday. A coalition of greater than 240 rights teams is looking for the Biden administration to not use immigrant jails to deal with the anticipated enhance.
Simply final month, two dozen tents had been set on hearth in a makeshift migrant camp in Matamoros, Mexico, throughout the border from Brownsville. And in March, a hearth killed 40 males at a Mexican immigration jail in Ciudad Juárez, throughout the border from El Paso, Texas.
For extra, we go to Weslaco, not removed from Brownsville, Texas. We’re joined by Jennifer Harbury, longtime human rights lawyer alongside the U.S.-Mexico border, activist with the Indignant Tias and Abuelas, who help asylum seekers within the space. Jennifer’s late husband, Efraín Bámaca Velásquez, was a Mayan guerrilla and comandante in Guatemala who was disappeared after he was captured by the Guatemalan military within the ’80s. After an extended marketing campaign, she discovered there was U.S. CIA involvement within the cover-up of her husband’s homicide and torture. She can also be the creator of Fact, Torture, and the American Means: The Historical past and Penalties of U.S. Involvement in Torture.
Jennifer Harbury, welcome again to Democracy Now! Are you able to inform us concerning the Bishop Enrique San Pedro Ozanam Heart and the individuals killed exterior.
JENNIFER HARBURY: Properly, Amy, good morning to you, to start with. And I’m glad to be again.
All of us right here which have been working so intently with the migrant group since 2017, many people, are heartbroken immediately. This definitely is a — I can solely describe it as a hate crime. It was motivated by hate, that has been, in fact, fomented for a very long time by the appropriate wing, and particularly in the course of the Trump administration.
These individuals had made it from Venezuela and different international locations, all the best way throughout Mexico, which is a horrific journey, and managed to make it to the border. I work on the Reynosa facet, Matamoros facet, and have since 2017. And I might say near 100% of the individuals I’ve interviewed have suffered both a rape, a vicious assault, a kidnapping, or worse, on the best way north.
For these individuals to have fled Venezuela, made all of it the best way north, waited their flip, crossed legally throughout the bridge with the brand new app on their cellphone, spent the night time at a shelter, after which had been at a bus cease to go to the airport so they may reunite with their households ultimately and look forward to the courts to determine on their immigration standing — for them to be plowed down by a vicious American spurred on by hate, it’s killing all of us, to be sincere, all of us which have seen what they’ve been by means of. We’ve held their kids. We’ve held their palms when their kids have died, after they’ve tried to inform their tales. These are such horrific backgrounds that almost all of us are fairly traumatized, too. And to have them needlessly and irrationally mowed down, actually, with an SUV, I simply — I’m at lack of phrases.
AMY GOODMAN: I wished to ask you concerning the remark of the ACLU of Texas noting the crash adopted weeks of escalating anti-immigrant coverage that has been made by Texas lawmakers, and whereas the Biden administration considers imposing a brand new ban on the appropriate to hunt asylum in the US when the Trump-era Title 42 ends on Thursday. In an announcement, the ACLU wrote, “President Biden, Texas Gov. Abbott, and different elected officers proceed to unfold worry about immigration as a substitute of treating the wants of individuals crossing the border as a humanitarian matter.” Are you able to discuss concerning the context that is all occurring in?
JENNIFER HARBURY: Sure. Definitely, there’s been a ridiculous quantity of fearmongering and villainization, politically impressed, in opposition to migrants from the beginnings of the brand new migrant waves, you understand, definitely beginning in 2017, however even earlier than. Bear in mind? “They’re all rapists and murderers.”
The truth is, a majority of them are households. The compelled recruitment age by gangs in most of Central America — in case your little boy is between 8 and 10, they’re going to come back for him. One mom mentioned no, and so they chopped the kid’s fingers off with an ax to persuade her. What we now have to grasp, these individuals are not coming right here to purchase a flowery fridge. That is an unimaginable migration north out of desperation to save lots of the lives of their kids, whether or not from political violence or from cartel violence, which is now uncontrolled. I notice that for Reynosa and Matamoros and most of Tamaulipas, the US Division of State has declared it a class 4 insecurity. That makes it the identical as Iraq and Afghanistan. After we inform individuals to attend in Mexico or return the place you got here from, we’re saying, “Why don’t you simply sit down and watch your kids drop lifeless?”
We want to consider that. We want to consider it not simply legally, however we want to consider that by way of our nationwide identification. That is us, a nation of immigrants however for the Native People. We’re telling these individuals they need to sit and watch their kids die? Why?
AMY GOODMAN: , Jennifer, you had been answerable for the discharge of that well-known audio —
JENNIFER HARBURY: Yeah, the crying infants.
AMY GOODMAN: — of infants crying in 2018.
JENNIFER HARBURY: Yeah, I’m laughing solely as a result of it felt good to launch that, however I feel individuals must see and listen to the fact. I watched a brief video clip final night time of the scene, when individuals had been nonetheless mendacity on the bottom, actually bleeding to dying final night time in entrance of Ozanam. And evidently, it made me in poor health. I haven’t recovered but. But it surely was not the blood and the unimaginable scene of cadavers mendacity helter-skelter the place they’d been thrown by means of the air by the van. The worst was the soundtrack accompanied by a shadow of a person holding his palms to his head and screaming for his brother: ”No, no, mano! No, hermano! No, manito!” “No, no, my brother! No, no!” However the tone of utter despair. They had been nearly to achieve security with their households, and now the younger man is lifeless.
I feel most individuals wish to learn statistics. They like dry press articles. In the event that they — I invite any of them to come back down right here. Individuals are just about scared to come back down right here now that there was the capturing in Matamoros. However that’s an hourly actuality for the entire migrants. Sometime historical past goes to point out who the migrants actually had been, and the truth that we knew completely properly who they actually had been. After which everybody goes to ask us, our kids and our grandchildren, “Why did you flip a chilly shoulder to them?” It is a time for an ethical and historic choice by all international locations. There is a gigantic migration for a lot of, many causes, together with local weather but in addition together with wild political and cartel violence.
If all of us actually need to assist with the migration challenge, the very first thing we must always do is take the earnings out of the drug commerce. A Colombian priest at an occasion 20 years in the past in San Francisco mentioned, “I understand how unpopular a suggestion that is, however the one strategy to cease the violence that’s killing us in Colombia now, and having it cross all the best way to the doorstep and into your cities — the one means is to legalize medicine, take the revenue out, and put the cash into rehab facilities and faculties and job coaching. It’s important to do it now, earlier than it’s too late.” Properly, we clearly misplaced the drug struggle. It’s time to legalize, as a lot as that’s horrifying to so many people. However as with every different sort of narcotic or prohibited substance, individuals will get it. Now it’s with fentanyl and with males with AR-15s on the playground, actually. Perhaps it’s time for us to get up and get that shut down. Whereas we’re at it, assume just a little bit about what we’re speaking about once we discuss leisure or social gathering medicine.
AMY GOODMAN: And, Jennifer Harbury, the explanation I launched you the best way I did, going again in your historical past, what, 40 years — it’s exhausting to imagine, 40, 30 years, concerning the killing of your husband, Everardo. And it turned out, due to your quite a few starvation strikes, virtually dying in Guatemala, that it was revealed in U.S. paperwork that he was killed by CIA-backed informants who murdered him, within the Guatemalan army. Are you able to hint the trajectory of U.S. help for right-wing regimes and dying squads in Central America to what we’re seeing immediately, and finish with Could eleventh, Thursday? President Biden is sending over 1,500 troops to the border. Your ideas?
JENNIFER HARBURY: Properly, clearly, we don’t want extra weapons. The one individuals they’re getting used on is, you understand, five-feet-tall ladies with infants, and younger males who’re attempting to refuse to work with — you understand, for the drug cartels.
The trajectory is that this. The USA authorities backed — in the course of the soiled wars of the ’80s, they backed the governments that had been principally oligarchy, massive plantation homeowners and right-wingers, as a result of our investments and monetary pursuits squared with theirs. Because of this, we despatched within the CIA and, de facto, many extra components of our safety forces into, for instance, Guatemala, and we labored hand in glove with the dying squads. That might be the army dying squads that had been working for the Guatemalan authorities and that carried out a marketing campaign of genocide all through Guatemala the entire ’80s and the entire ’90s and used torture and terror as a every day method. That’s documented in “Memoria del Silencio,” the United Nations Fact Fee report, that held Guatemala accountable as a authorities for 94% of the struggle crimes which had occurred. The URNG forces had been discovered answerable for 3%.
After the struggle ended, most of these high-level army officers, who had been so properly educated in torture, terror and corruption, nonetheless wanted an excellent revenue, and so they had been out of a job. And the CIA wasn’t hiring as a lot anymore. The CIA, by the best way, had paid $40,000 to one in every of my husband’s torturers the identical month that he was seen being tortured by that colonel, Colonel Julio Roberto Alpírez. Sure, we knew individuals had been being tortured. We knew the place the torture facilities had been. And we paid cash to get extra info. We conspired, aided and embedded in torture and homicide and disappearances.
So, after the struggle, the place would they go? Properly, they’d been, for a small charge, helping Colombian drug lords for a really very long time, together with Mr. Alpírez. So, they had been properly educated in that, too. They fashioned their very own cartels, among the best recognized being the Zeta Cartel, which is working up right here in northern Mexico alongside the border, as properly. They usually educated them in torture methods and the usage of terror. And that, in fact, is extraordinarily useful. So, all of these individuals now so terrorize the overall inhabitants that they’re operating northwards as refugees to our border, and all of us are villainizing them as some sort of monsters for attempting to do precisely what our personal grandparents did — in my case, my very own father operating from the Holocaust along with his mother and father. So, they’re operating from a monster that we created. We might assist reduce that present drawback if as a substitute of giving large quantities of cash to a corrupt authorities and watching all of it circulation again to the identical drug lords, the identical army items, and so forth., and so forth., if we might, for instance, enable the DEA to arrest and take folks that had been as soon as CIA companions.
Alpírez can also be recognized to have aided and abetted the homicide of a U.S. citizen named Michael DeVine. After the uproar in my husband’s case, everybody was pointing at him and speaking about what to do. The DEA has him on a corrupt officer listing, however as a substitute of being arrested, the CIA introduced him to the US secretly along with his whole household and saved him in a protected place not removed from their headquarters. Once I tried to come back ahead and file a Torture Sufferer Safety Act case in opposition to him up there, evidently, he was tipped off by our personal authorities and fled again all the way down to Guatemala, the place he’s now attempting to place me in jail if I transfer ahead with the case.
AMY GOODMAN: Jennifer, we simply have 20 seconds.
JENNIFER HARBURY: So, sure — all proper.
AMY GOODMAN: So, that going by means of to Thursday, the day that Title 42 lapses.
JENNIFER HARBURY: We won’t see a unique storm or flood of individuals. There could also be a flood, however that’s as a result of many individuals have left their dwelling international locations, and so they’re hiding out wherever they’ll. In the event that they know there’s an opportunity, if they arrive to Matamoros or Brownsville or Juárez, that they’ll be in a horrible hazard however they’ll at the very least get on the cellphone and prepare for a date, they’re going to attempt. Going again or staying the place they’re or saying in Reynosa for any size of time or Matamoros is a dying sentence, however they’re going to attempt. It is a large wave of determined civilians attempting to flee an not possible scenario. The actual query right here shouldn’t be “How can we cease them?” The actual query is “How can we all, as a world group, work collectively and take them in and cease the bonfire that’s destroying all of them?”
AMY GOODMAN: Jennifer Harbury, I need to thanks a lot for being with us, longtime human rights activist and lawyer based mostly within the Rio Grande Valley, Texas, alongside the U.S.-Mexico border. Thanks a lot for being with us. I do know you’re going off to a vigil in honor of the individuals killed and injured.
Subsequent up, we have a look at the coronation of King Charles III and requires him to pay reparations and apologize for Britain’s legacy of genocide and colonization. Again in 30 seconds.
Not everybody pays for the information. However when you can, we want your help.
Truthout is broadly learn amongst individuals with decrease incomes and amongst younger people who find themselves mired in debt. Our web site is learn at public libraries, amongst individuals with out web entry of their very own. Individuals print out our articles and ship them to relations in jail — we obtain letters from behind bars commonly thanking us for our protection. Our tales are emailed and shared round communities, sparking grassroots mobilization.
We’re dedicated to protecting all Truthout articles free and obtainable to the general public. However in an effort to do this, we want those that can afford to contribute to our work to take action.
We’ll by no means require you to present, however we are able to ask you from the underside of our hearts: Will you donate what you’ll be able to, so we are able to proceed offering journalism within the service of justice and fact?