Human Smuggling “Crackdown” a Drop in an Ocean of Policy Failure

Homeland Security Arrests 192 Coyotes, Confiscates 0.009% of $6.6 Billion Industry

On Tuesday, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reported that they had arrested 192 human smugglers and seized US$625,000 in illicit profits from the smuggling business on the Texas-Mexico border. This tactic is part of efforts to curb immigration to the United States, in the wake of the child-migrant crisis, which has further polarized rhetoric about immigration and prevented any productive response.


“DHS Secretary Johnson announces 192 criminal arrests in ongoing #ICE operation to combat human smuggling.” (@wwwicegov)

For the DHS to brag about capturing human traffickers is hypocritical at best. It is the United States’ own prohibitive migration policies and complicity in exacerbating the effects of the drug war that have resulted in the upsurge of human trafficking. This “crackdown” barely addresses this problem, and will do nothing to change the inhumane legal immigration process. Coupled with the vicious drug war, this process forces thousands of people to cross the border in life-threatening, criminal conditions.

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Earth to Paternalists of Latin America: The People Know Best

Grown Adults Need Not Be Infantilized by the State

EspañolThe constitutions of Latin-American countries, almost without exception, begin with a sentence exalting the nation-state or highlighting the patriarchal role of the elected representatives. “We the representatives of the people of Costa Rica…,” “The Congress of the Republic of Venezuela…,” “The Constituent Congress (of Peru) invoking God Almighty…,” “The sovereign nation and its government (of the Dominican Republic)…,” “We the deputies (of Honduras)…,” “Bolivia, free, independent, sovereign…,” “The Panamanian Nation…,” “The Oriental Republic of Uruguay is the political association….”

Generally, the constitutions then go on to mandate, in insufferable paternalistic detail, what values the citizenry and the state ought to uphold. For example, Article 8 of the Bolivian constitution dictates that “Each person has the following fundamental duties: (b) To work … in socially useful activities. (c) To attend at least primary school, (e) To assist, feed, and educate his/her children … and to assist ones parents when they are sick … (g) To cooperate with the state and the community….” All laudable aspirations, but do we need to be ordered to do this by the constitution?

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10 Things I Would Do If I Led an Independent Puerto Rico

Secession Can Work, and This Is How

Recently, I had a brief conversation with a Puerto Rican statehood supporter in the comments section of a local newspaper. He pointed out that if the route toward independence was the way I have described it previously here at the PanAm Post, then he would see it as a viable option. This was very telling.

Previously and over a long period of deliberation and reflection, I changed my position from supporting US statehood for Puerto Rico to supporting its independence. However, I did so with great disdain for the current leadership of the Puerto Rican independence movement. They are socialists, if not outright communists.

One need not look any further than Venezuela, or any other socialist or communist republics in Latin America, to witness how such independence would bring great peril. However, nearly all of this has been self-inflicted, through bad policies and corrupt politicians.

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New Tax for Ecuadorians Protects Few at the Expense of Many

Special Interests Revel as Internet Shoppers Pay More

President Rafael Correa of Ecuador

President Rafael Correa of Ecuador. (Wikimedia)

EspañolA new tax burden is set to join Ecuador’s already long list of trade restrictions. The Committee of Foreign Trade (Comex) announced in recent days that all online purchases will be taxed with a US$42 levy per pack, for those packages included in the “4 x 4 postal system,” (which allows shipments up to four kilograms or US$400). Books and Medicines will keep their tax-exempt status.

Until now, shipments through this system, created to simplify customs and taxes, were only charged a 5 percent tax (ISD) on foreign currency outflow. Now, in addition to the tax, the Comex-promoted reform will limit each person’s shipments per year to five or a cap of $1,200. In other words, an Ecuadorian will be allowed to purchase online only five times per year or until he reaches the $1,200 limit.

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Open Immigration: It’s the Economy, Stupid

Migrants Make the United States, the World More Productive

EspañolA hidden economy lies beneath the immigration debate in the United States, and nobody is paying attention.

Thousands of migrant workers are part of the heart of the US economy. Despite the usual portrayal of immigrants as “taking our jobs,” they are an often-ignored wheel of the economy. Vice News’ documentary The Worst Job In New York: Immigrant America tells the story about an unauthorized worker at a dairy farm and shows his struggle against immigration policy and the fear of deportation. This is the story of millions of immigrants.

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Food Shortages Arrive in Panama, Right on Cue

Varela Has Even Labeled the Regulated Products, So People Know What to Hoard

EspañolPresident Juan Carlos Varela of Panama was warned a thousand times that implementing emergency price controls after taking power was not a good idea. Panama is so close to Venezuela; to repeat its experience with price controls ignores reality.

As a new resident, I can confirm that we have already started to see empty shelves in Panamanian supermarkets. We are not talking about a situation as bad as Venezuela’s, where you will need to stand in line for hours to purchase a product, but the situation in Panama serves as evidence that common sense regarding market behavior is never wrong.

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Le combat entre les grandes entreprises et les libertariens au sein du Parti républicain

Le lobby des affaires veut protéger ses intérêts, au détriment de la population

Les Républicains ne se cédant pas aux quatre volontés des grandes entreprises (Big Business) semblent avoir touché le gros lot.

Le mois dernier, elles ont perdu lors des primaires en Virginie. En effet, le leader de la Chambre des Représentants (Chambre) Eric Cantor a perdu contre David Brat, un inconnu chouchou du Tea Party. Ce dernier a critiqué Cantor pour ses liens avec le monde des affaires et a promis ceci : « Je vais me battre pour mettre fin au capitalisme de copinage (crony capitalism) qui n’avantage que les riches et puissants. »

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The Moral Universe Is with Oswaldo Payá, Harold Cepero

Their Nonviolent Legacy Will Live On, and Justice Will Be Served

EspañolI have not lost faith. I’m not in despair, because I know that there is a moral order. I haven’t lost faith, because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
~ Martin Luther King Jr.
Ebenezer Baptist Church, April 30, 1967.


Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas and Harold Cepero Escalante. (Cuban Exile Quarter)

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Let’s Not Pay Our Debts Because … “I Choose Argentina”

That's Right, It Makes Sense to Me Too

EspañolThis month, Argentineans celebrated the anniversary of independence from Spain. A group of pro-President Kirchner musicians, social activists, and actors took the occasion to release a video against the vulture funds (those that hold Argentinean debt) and spread it across social media networks. The central message of was “#YoElijoArgentina – No a los Buitres” (I choose Argentina, not the vultures).

The cast of celebrities attack the holdouts (who’s holding out again?) with heavy-handed rhetoric. They label them as speculators who have never invested in the country’s growth, as powerful economic interests that bought debt bonds after the “biggest default in the country’s history.” They added that “the Argentineans” — I hope to leave myself out of this category — do not want anymore crises that put “our” economic growth in danger.

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EPA Clean-Power Plan? The Market Has It Covered

Environmental Protection Regulations Useless at Best

About a month ago, the Obama Administration published its Clean Power Plan, which aims at cutting carbon emissions from the electric power sector by 30 percent below the 2005 levels. In addition, the plan aims at reducing pollution that creates soot and smog by over 25 percent by the year 2030.

Environmental Protection Agency

Environmental Protection Agency. (Wikimedia)

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) argues that these reductions will lead to public health and climate benefits worth an estimated US$55 billion to $93 billion in 2030, while also maintaining an affordable and reliable energy system. The EPA claims the plan’s implementation will prevent 2,700 to 6,600 premature deaths and 140,000 to 150,000 asthma attacks in children. Despite these laudable goals, there is one question that is worth asking: are these claims realistic?

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