Prosperity & Security For Who?

Unaccompanied youth ride trains on the journey to the US/Mexico border.

Unaccompanied youth ride trains on the journey to the US/Mexico border.

Miami, FL – Wed 6/14, Thurs 6/15 & Fri 6/16 – The Conference on Prosperity and Security takes place at Coral Gables, Florida International University, and US Southern Command.

Vice President, Mike Pence; Homeland Security Secretary, John Kelly; Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson; Treasury of State, Steven Mnuchin; and Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross are visiting Miami to discuss “prosperity and security” in Central America.

The Conference on Prosperity and Security is convened by the US and Mexico to meet with the presidents of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala – a region known as the Northern Triangle. Joining them are representatives from the Inter-American Development Bank, the US Chamber of Commerce, Coca Cola, GE, Walmart and Monsanto.

This meeting builds on the Alliance for Prosperity, a 2014 program, started after thousands of unaccompanied children were turning up at the US/Mexico border. The program claims to curb Central American migration through economic development and improved security.

The reality is that this conference is for the interests of capitalist enterprises within and outside the region, utilizing police training and militarization as solutions to crisis.

"You don't sell water. You Protect it & Defend it."

“You don’t sell water. You Protect it & Defend it.”

Imperialism is the natural expansion of capitalism. The constant need for growth and increased profits sends capitalists beyond national boundaries in search of new markets and lower production costs.

Under the guise of economic development, USAID, Inter-American Development Bank, IMF, and the World Bank work in conjunction with imperialist governments (US, Canada, Europe, etc) and multinational corporations to dominate countries into the global economy. They destroy local economies and subsistence cultures with tactics like land grabs, privatization and grain dumping. Military force and political manipulation are also used.

Based on its “comparative advantages,” countries are assigned a role in the global economy. Caribbean and Central American countries are generally utilized for agri-business, privatization and extraction of natural resources, tourism, and cheap labor.

Loans are given for new “economic development,” creating large debts. Countries are “encouraged” to break up organized labor, provide tax holidays, and gut all forms of regulation to attract foreign investors.

For example, “ the centerpiece of the Alliance for Prosperity involves tax breaks for corporate investors and new pipelines, highways, and power lines to speed resource extraction and streamline the process of import, assembly, and export at low-wage maquilas.” (Paley, D. The Nation).

Dependency is also a fundamental relationship in imperialism. Once their national economies are destroyed, countries like Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador depend on imperialist countries and companies. For example, once farmers are forced to quit saving seeds and to shift to Monsanto crops, they are saddled in debt and cannot grow produce without purchasing all of the inputs from Monsanto – seeds, fertilizer, pesticides, and machinery.

Central Americans continue to cross the US border. They continue to fight against the theft and privatization of their water. Farmers continue to lose land and livelihoods to foreign investors and agri-business. Workers continue to fight against low wages and exploitation in maquilas/sweatshops. Students activists fight for basic rights.

Resistance to these imperialist efforts is met with severe violence and repression. In 2016, Honduran social activist, Berta Cáceres was murdered for her resistance efforts against water privatization and a hydro-electric damn project.

Imperialism & policies that come out of this conference cause “illegal” immigration. We cannot address immigration, if we don’t confront imperialism.

Many of us live in Miami due to the effects of imperialism in our home countries.

As students and progressives in the US, we must understand the global relations of imperialism. They move the entire world around us, from the clothing on our backs, the food on our plates, to the ideas we have about the world.

It’s not a coincidence that the Friday portion of this conference is held at Florida International University (FIU).

FIU, and universities in general, also play a role in imperialism. They serve as the think-tanks of imperialist theories and policies. The Gordon Institute for Public Policy partners with US Southern Command to train future strategists, politicians, and advocates of imperialist policies and military dominance towards Central America, South America and the Caribbean. The wealth accumulated to build and name libraries, dorms, dining halls, and campus museums is directly linked to imperialism.

In the US, we consume cheap goods and enjoy a degree of relative wealth because of imperialism. But we are not given a choice in the matter. Don’t get lost in guilt. Don’t scour the Internet or thrift stores for guilt free products.

Take a stand against imperialism. Let’s build organizations in our schools, workplaces, and neighborhoods to work in solidarity with people’s struggles here in the US, and internationally.

Let’s build a movement to fight against the capitalist system that dominates the entire world for the benefit of a few.


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