Democracy, like the conquests of rights, are not permanent conditions. They are dynamic. They depend on the political power exercised by citizens. They are strengthened or weakened by action and omission. Indifference kills them. Demagogy blurs them.
Civil society, led by human rights groups, has made itself felt more strongly this week. The resounding repudiation of the public opinion to the separation of migrant children from their families, turned the presidential plan to punish those who, desperate, enter the country without due process in search of asylum and opportunities to live with dignity.
Confusion reigns over the attention to these families, which is still far from due process. There are many alternatives. Proposals range from social workers to electronic supervision. Meanwhile, hermeticism prevails. Neither lawmakers nor journalists have gained free access to the more than 2,300 children that were sent to more than a dozen states without their parents. It is estimated that the damage they have already suffered is irreparable. Reuniting separated families will be difficult and will even take years.
Meanwhile, there are documents that show the Navy plans to build detention centers for hundreds of thousands of people in remote bases.
Amidst the absurd, civil society voices remind us that these inhuman scenes have been repeated in other dark periods, in the United States and in the world. Still, in the current migratory drama on the coasts of Europe.
Immigration is a complex problem. It comes from the hearts of countries with governments unable to offer fair and safe conditions. In Africa, like on this side of the world, people flee from countries suffering colonialism and exploitation. Rich countries that now close borders are co-responsible for them.
A worrying rhetoric of hate that repeats allegations plagued by falsehoods joins these measures. Prejudices and fears shake ideologies.
But in each period there have also been events that shed light on these times. Those infamous episodes of human history, have been defeated by the reason that comes from compassion. Barbarism has been overcome by the practice of ethics. In every injustice, voices, actions and solutions have raised and achieved changes.
Today in the United States, thousands of citizens are demanding and working for the urgent reunification of children separated from their parents. For a humane and fair treatment to immigrants. Surveys indicate that the majority rejects what is happening.
This week, the presidential ambivalence shows that, in a democracy, united citizens have the strength to change the political course. Before the discourse of contempt that arises, constant vigilance is necessary. Prejudice, always unfounded, also advances in gaining followers. It is anchored in physical, ethnic, sexual, religious differences, among many others. Also in fears, ignorance and misinformation. Surveys confirm that hundreds of thousands favor punishing immigrants.
Therefore, a complex political, social and rights puzzle remains to be solved. The dilemma is global. The solution, moral. Respect for fundamental rights, as well as clean and open governments, are imperative. So is the fair social and economic development that retains citizens instead of pushing them into exodus.
Puerto Rico can not lower its guard because it is not exempt. Here, too, democracy is weakened by insult and disrespect before the lack of arguments. Here like there, it is urgent to reject prejudice and the violation of rights. Silence and looking away before injustice is complicity.
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