Today’s Refugee Crisis Is Blowback From US Dirty Wars in Central America

In our special broadcast from the US-Mexico border, we speak to human rights lawyer Jennifer Harbury, who has lived here in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas for over 40 years and has been active in the response to the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy. Her husband, Efraín Bámaca Velásquez, was a Mayan comandante and guerrilla who was disappeared after he was captured by the Guatemalan army in the 1980s. After a long campaign, she found there was US involvement in the cover-up of her husband’s murder and torture. Now she continues to work with people fleeing violence in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re broadcasting from Brownsville, Texas, ahead of a mass protest later today at the federal courthouse that’s right behind us, that’s calling on the Trump administration to end the “zero tolerance” policy, which has separated more than 2,000 children from their parents, who have been charged with a crime for crossing the border. In a minute, we’ll be joined by the person who helped draw attention to this crisis when she shared audio with ProPublica of some of the disappeared children in a CBP, a Customs and Border Protection, facility. The children are estimated to be between the ages of 4 and 10, and can be heard crying “Mami!” “Papi!” This is an excerpt. A warning: The audio is disturbing.

CHILD: [crying] Papá! Papá! Papá! Papá! Papá! Papá!

AMY GOODMAN: The person who made that recording asked not to be identified, for fear of retaliation. And they were able to share it with the help of our next guest, Jennifer Harbury, who is a human rights lawyer, well-known activist. She has lived here in the Rio Grande Valley for over 40 years, has been active in the response to the “zero tolerance” policy. Her husband, Efraín Bámaca Velásquez, was a Mayan comandante guerrilla in the highlands of Guatemala. He was disappeared after he was captured by the army in the 1980s. After a long campaign, that she…

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