Published on Dec 19, 2018
https://democracynow.org – As public outrage grows over the death of Jakelin Caal Maquín, a 7-year-old indigenous Guatemalan girl who died in Border Patrol custody, we discuss U.S. policy in Central America with Greg Grandin, prize-winning author and professor of Latin American history at New York University. Searching for answers after Jakelin’s death, Grandin points to border militarization policies dating back to the Clinton administration and the closure of safer urban routes to the U.S. border. He also links the displacement of Jakelin’s family to the U.S.-backed coup in Guatemala in 1954 and economic policies that destroyed subsistence agriculture in her region. Grandin’s latest piece in The Nation, co-authored with Elizabeth Oglesby, is titled “Who Killed Jakelin Caal Maquín at the US Border?”
Whatever it is, people are talking about it.
Earlier this month, Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the New York Democrat, participated in a sit-in at House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s Capitol Hill office organized by a group of young people with the Sunrise Movement. Ocasio-Cortez didn’t high-five protesters because she’s against Pelosi—she says she is backing Pelosi to become the next Speaker of the House—as much as she was there to advocate for what the sit-in was demanding.
Those protestors were demanding something called the Green New Deal—a proposal, backed by Ocasio-Cortez, for Congress to comprehensively tackle climate change and, at the same time, the country’s income inequality, which is the worst it’s been since the years before the Roosevelt administration implemented the original New Deal.
Climate change and income inequality might seem unrelated. But it’s important that any nationwide economy-boosting program boost the right kind of economy—that is, one that doesn’t depend on polluting the air and water. It’s also going to be hard to persuade the average American that climate change is our most urgent nationwide priority if their social media feed is a constant stream of GoFundMe campaigns for their friends’ medical bills, or they have to sit down and breathe into a paper bag every time they think about whether they can retire before dying first.