Julio Gonzalez, M.D., J.D.
The past two months have seen the formation of as many as four caravans of Central American citizens intent on walking to the United States in search of a new life. The group, which initially numbered a few more than a hundred, swelled to over fourteen thousand according to some reports. The sea of people has battled overwhelming heat, dehydration, poor nutrition, and exhaustion just to get the opportunity to cross the American border.
We have heard much from media outlets about the source of their motivation. The recited answer is that the evacuees are in search of better living conditions. They desire the job opportunities available in the United States that they will never find in their native homes of Honduras, Mexico, and Guatemala.
We have also heard of the coordination and assistance provided by Pueblos Sin Fronteras, an organization indirectly funded by the likes of George Soros, in facilitating the transit of the migrants. And there have also been reports that countries like Venezuela have actually provided a conduit for the funds.
But in point of fact, it must take more than just incredible funding to get people to undertake a greater than 1000 miles journey in the tropics without a guarantee of food and water and with no likelihood of returning. The uncertain promise of opportunity is likely to be insufficient to motivate most. Even the despair in which they live may not be enough.
If these factors are insufficient to get someone to walk across Mexico to get to the United States, then what will? An interesting article sheds light on the level of despair afflicting these individuals. According to The Wall Street Journal, the real reason these people are fleeing Central America is because of gang violence.
Over the past decade, particularly in places like El Salvador, an expansive network of extremely violent and destructive gangs have inculcated themselves into Central American society resulting in the destruction of its political and economic fabric.
Two competing, highly violent factions, one being MS-13, and the other Barrio 18, have spread its tentacles throughout the area to prey upon neighborhood residents and intimidate them into submission.
As opposed to other gangs, Robbie Whelan of The Wall Street Journalexplains, these no longer feed off drug trafficking. Instead, they extort money from area residents and businesses to the tune of $600,000 a month in the case of MS-13 alone.
The result is the highest homicide rate in the world in El Salvador. And Latin America, an area accounting for 8% of the world's population, contributes a third of the world's homicides.
Most recognize the complexity and difficulty of the challenges affecting Central America, but in many cases it seems, the situation is truly one of life and death. On the flip side, there's no reason to believe that many of those promoting evil within the region haven't hitched a ride with the caravan seeking to expand its reach.
That is, of course, President Trump and our troops can stop them.
Dr. Julio Gonzalez is an orthopaedic surgeon and lawyer living in Venice, Florida. He is the author of The Federalist Pages and serves in the Florida House of Representatives. He can be reached through www.thefederalistpages.com to arrange a lecture or book signing.