The unstoppable river of minors coming into the US has paralyzed the Biden Administration’s Latin American strategy if there ever was one. Over 1,000 minors are arriving at our Southern border unaccompanied and searching for their relatives in the US. Most come from Three central American nations( El Salvador; Honduras and Guatemala) that were rebaptized the Northern Triangle. All have been sent by their parents alone without resources in a desperate attempt to save them from dire poverty or recruitment by organized crime. So far the US response seems ate best confused and at worst truly chaotic.
Indeed, most public spokespersons indicate that the US is devoting greater resources to improve facilities to lodge this continuing human stream. This, of course, indicates to parents trying to preserve their children from malnutrition, disease and crime that it is safe to send them as the US is developing their lodging infrastructure. Others point to the fact that before undertaking any policy move it is essential to understand the root causes of the problem. This could of course take several years. No one comes with a plausible explanation of why this is happening; why the country is ill prepare to deal with the problem and how long could it take to ameliorate it. In sum one can see that this serious challenge has been left to deal with to bureaucrats.
Because it is obvious that the development is fed by at least three elements that need to be address simultaneously. These are: Lack of attention to a brewing social problem; the legacy of the Cold War and the success of organized crime in penetrating these and almost all countries in the Isthmus.
The first originates in the rent seeking culture of Latin America’s business community. This leads to lack of competition corporativist politics, frozen social mobility and inequality. As the world economy immerses itself in the digital mode of production these business culture leads to lack of innovation and preservation of production techniques that lose competitiveness every minute. Economies thus fail to grow at a pace that can absorb and nurture extensive middle classes which are the source of aggregate demand which is the growth inducing hormone in every economy from the US to China.
Second comes the legacy of the Cod war which created close links between Latin American elites and the US. The US thus has a reading of Latin America that fails to picture the ordeal the life is to most people anywhere in the region. Indeed, nowhere in the region except for Barbados, Chile, Costa Rica and Uruguay there is rule of law. Thus contracts are not respected, taxes are not paid and laws and regulations only apply to those without connections to the powerful. This creates in the people a notion of solitude and desperation and an incentive to not abide by any law anywhere.
Then comes organized crime which has grown exponentially over the past two decades surfing on the beneficial waves of the war against drugs. For at least four decades US tax payers have been financing a system that fails to produce results. Indeed, by admission of the DEA they catch one in every ten drug shipments . This means we are financing a rate of failure of 90%. Should this be the case for any other human endeavor chaos would rule in this world. Supported by artificially high margins for their products criminals amass billions of dollars every year that are invested in securing the architecture to deliver their criminal products which includes phagocytizing government institutions to secure free passage.
Lest we get serious about these root causes we will need to invest in a wall as tall as the empire State and as wide as the Great Wall of China.