Here’s something you don’t see every day.
On Monday, the leader of a country apologized for his place being so messed up.
El Salvador’s new president — Nayib Bukele — took responsibility for the drowning deaths of 25-year-old Òscar Ramirez and his 23-month-old daughter, Valeria. I previously covered the June tragedy — and President Trump’s comments — here.
In an interview published by the BBC, Nayib said it’s his government’s responsibility to make El Savador a safer place where immigration to elsewhere is “an option, not an obligation.”
His surprising remarks:
“People don’t flee their homes because they want to, people flee their homes because they feel they have to. Why? Because they don’t have a job, because they are being threatened by gangs, because they don’t have basic things like water, education, health.”
And then the kicker:
“We can blame any other country but what about our blame? What country did they flee? Did they flee the United States? They fled El Salvador. They fled our country. It is our fault.”
“Our fault” = Not words often heard in international politics.
His attitude is certainly a contrast to some in the land of the free and the home of the brave, who blame the U.S. for the plight of those elsewhere.
In fact, here’s Beto O’Rourke, goofily doing that very thing:
“[W]e’ve got to remember that they are fleeing the deadliest countries on the face of the planet today compounded by drought that was caused not by God, not by mother nature, but by us. Man-made climate change, our emissions, our excesses, our inaction in the face of the facts and the science — when it is that deadly, and when you’re unable to grow your own food to feed yourself, you have no choice but to come here.”
Beto should call Nayib — it might make him feel better to know you caused the problem, not El Salvador.
But he’s promised to, if made president, take down America’s privileged millionaires (here). Except for himself, I guess.
Back to Nayib: He’s not necessarily a Trumper — the recently-elected head honcho had a negative review of the U.S., too. Still, he took responsibility for the failings of a nation from which people are trying to flee, and of which he’s now in charge:
He went on to say that he did condemn the treatment of migrants in the US and in Mexico, but reiterated that El Salvador had to “focus on making our country better, making our country a place where nobody has to migrate.”
It’s only a start, but perhaps a leader willing to recognize the conditions prompting escape will be willing to actually improve them.
We can only hope.
The U.S. can’t fix the maladies of other nations. Nor can it stop being a beacon to which people from around the world want to come.
Nayib’s statements are — it seems to me — a step in a good direction.
But how does it seem to you? Please let us all know in the Comments section.
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