“There are decades where nothing happens, and there are weeks where decades happen.” — Vladimir Lenin
Between 1973 and 1990 scores of people were disappeared by the US supported fascist regime of Augusto Pinochet in Chile. They were incarcerated, tortured and thousands were murdered. In fact, the official total of those killed by the regime is just over 40,000. But some critics suggest it was much higher. Pinochet was able to do all of this with the blessing of the CIA who assisted him in the coup against the elected President, Salvador Allende, and in his reign of terror afterward in Chile. The painful lessons of the Pinochet years has often been obscured under neoliberal historical revisionism, but with what is currently unfolding in cities like Portland, Oregon, it is urgent to revisit them.
In the second installment of this two-part episode, Abby Martin continues her investigation of the hidden war on the U.S.-Mexico border, looking at the root causes of the epidemic of migrant deaths. The Empire Files documents an inflated, paramilitary Border Patrol, the devastating impacts of NAFTA, how the U.S. Empire benefits from immigrant labor and what can change the equation.
Along the southern border of the United States is a graveyard, where hundreds upon hundreds of human remains are waiting to be found in the sand. They are teenagers, mothers and spouses walking the only path available to them—away from poverty and violence: towards their families, the only place safer and easier to eat. In Part 1 of this two-part series, Abby Martin reveals a catastrophe at the Empire’s gates; not only a shockingly high body count, but a humanitarian crisis manufactured by the U.S. government. Sinister tactics, a for-profit prison pipeline, and a court system that looks more like a slave auction than a trial await those who survive.
In his important book, Border Wars (MIT Press, 2011) Tom Barry writes:
I found that the border security push has injected new life into the war on drugs by reconfiguring those failed policies as vital components of national security. Immigration control, too, has been swallowed by the security paradigm. Instead of reforming the economic incentives that make illegal immigration inevitable, the United States has been stuffing non-threatening people into for-profit prisons. Counter-terrorism, the ostensible purpose of these undertakings, is an excuse for sheriffs to absorb federal subsidies. And the lack of a coherent border policy provides a vacuum in which reactionary populism and nationalism have flourished at the local, state and federal levels.