The history: In our name, the United States foreign policy of the 1950s overthrew Guatemala’s duly elected President Jacobo Arbenz in favor of the United Fruit Company’s practice of enhancing stockholder profits over paying living wages to the banana workers. (“Bitter Fruits” by Stephen C. Schlesinger, Stephen Kinzer)

In our name, the 1980s Reagan administration waged a “covert” war in Nicaragua against (Contras) the Sandinistas. Our policies included millions of taxpayer dollars supporting El Salvador, whose government sponsored death squads including the military’s participation in the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero (Google: Major Roberto D’Aubuisson). Our government also sent “military advisors” and funding to Guatemala, a country practicing genocide against the Maya peoples. President Rios Montt ordered 440 villages be burned to the ground in search of subversives (trialinternational.org). I volunteered as a translator for refugees crossing from Texas to Canada on the 1980s Overground Railroad. I personally know their stories.

In our name, the present U.S. administration is labeling these human-beings as rapists, drug dealers and economic immigrants seeking to take our jobs. Not true. Our own former government policies planted the seeds via intervention, support of internal civil wars, unequal economics for corporate gain and massive human rights violations. We are reaping the harvest of those policies. People are still fleeing from the residue of history.

The present: In our name, we are now locking up Central American families at our borders. Separating children from parents. “Huddled masses” sleeping on cement. Denied water, hygiene, legal help.

We are planting new seeds. Traumatized children. Parental angst. Uneducated youth. Disgruntled hopelessness. Internal combustion throughout the Americas. Yes, Americas.

This has to stop now. With us.

Time to say: Not in our name.

Send the message out. Stop now.

Jan Kurtz

Fort Ripley