When hope is a crime. The death of more than 50 people trapped in an abandoned trailer on the outskirts of one of the first Hispanic cities in the United States marks the rubicon in which we all lose humanity.
The news, of course, went around the world. The breaking news showed a swarm of patrol cars and ambulances with their torrent of emergency lights in front of the box of a truck from which the bodies were lowered, one by one, of men, women and children who committed the crime of wanting to enter “illegally” ” to the country.
Just like the barges sinking in the icy waters of the Mediterranean with a crowd of poor Africans trying to escape the war. Just like the caravans of Central Americans who collide with Mexican soldiers fleeing the criminal violence of their countries of origin. Like the dead babies on a Syrian beach or on the banks of the Rio Grande, the news shakes us all. But only for the few moments of a couple of media cycles.
The fact, as painful as it is to admit, is that the American establishment has reached such a point in objectifying its immigrants that we all know what will happen after this new tragedy: nothing, absolutely nothing. In the great nation of immigration, nationalist extremisms have imposed their hatred and xenophobia on those who seek the same American Dream from which this country was born.
304 years ago, during its foundation, San Antonio was a small Mexican town. Then –Remember The Alamo–, by the grace of an armed invasion, half of Mexico became, overnight, the Southwest region of the United States.
Victims of what experts call “a consensual crime,” the dozens of people who lost their lives had paid a lot of money to the miserable people who hid them in the truck in which they allegedly crossed the border with Mexico and then traveled further 160 miles of a nightmare of infernal heat, dehydration, and suffocation.
The miracle that little more than a dozen immigrants have survived could add a couple of cycles to the media circus that this case will become. Their moving stories, however, will hardly manage to have enough impact to alter the extreme polarization suffered by the US political system itself and its contagion among broad social groups.
Reduced to the condition of “bad men” and “rapists” who, as a political flag, brought the apprentice tyrant to the White House or to an insulting condition of “anonymous heroes” when it comes to showing off remittances, today’s immigrants are the Jews the last century. Easy victims for the machinery of hate and death.
Although the governments involved – the United States, Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, etc. – are legally and politically responsible for what happened, it would be naive to suppose that they paid a high price for the loss of so many lives. They will no doubt try to blame criminal gangs resorting to violence and corruption on both sides of the borders, which will simply increase their crossing fees. If anything, the truck driver will be arrested and sent to prison.
But as has happened time and time again throughout history, the death of innocents – even thousands or millions of them – is often of little consequence to those at the top of power. The San Antonio massacre represents a point of no return, a crossroads, a decisive moment before which our lack of response degrades us all.