America the bully? Corruption in Latin America
Sometimes I wonder if the United States of America is truly founded on freedom, justice, and equality for all the way we say it is. Many times on this trek, I have found evidence that says the opposite. There is a dark side to our history. Recent examples are Nicaragua and El Salvador.
Since the 1800's, we have stuck our nose in Nicuragura's business. We put in leaders that the people hated. One of the worst was the Somoza family. They were terrible to the people and took away many of their rights. Finally, a group of people started talking about ways to get rid of this horrible government. They were called "Sandinistas" after a hero named Augusto Sandino. These Sandinistas got people to overthrow the dictators in 1979.
This was a joyous time for Nicaragua, because the Sandinista government took care of people, giving land to the poor, making people healthy, and teaching everyone to read. This is what democracy is all about! Well, because the Sandinistas believed in Marxism, our President Reagan called them communists, something he was opposed to. He gave millions of dollars to people to fight the Sandinistas in the 1980's. These fighters were called Contras (contra means "against"). Nobody in Nicuragua liked the Contras, so they had to hide in nearby Honduras. They would come into Nicuragua and raid the nearby farms and villages. They destroyed people's lives in a bloody civil war. The U.S. helped them do it. The blood they spilled is on our hands.
We did similar things in the country of El Salvador, by giving money to its military. The rich people of El Salvador controlled nearly all of the land, leaving the regular people with nothing. The U.S. wanted to keep doing business with the rich, so they supported the brutal dictators in power. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of El Salvadoran people were fleeing death-squads.
Do you know the worst part about this tragedy? The U.S. knew what was happening at the time. We didn't do anything to prevent it. If anything, we helped to make these horrible things happen. Once again, there was blood on our hands. The U.S. did this in other countries too! We did similar things in Guatemala, Honduras, Peru and Bolivia. We can't allow our greed to cause other people in this world to suffer any longer. We have the power to create change in our society and in our world. Let's do it!
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