Monday, May 25, 2009

The Western Hemisphere's Sudan

The refugee crises [in Ecuador] spawned by ongoing conflict in neighboring Colombia has left millions displaced, making the nation second only to Sudan in nations with the most internal refugees. Rural farmers and families are frequently intimidated by guerrilla and paramilitary groups, who send them fleeing amid death threats, forced recruitment, the demand of unaffordable taxes, persecution for political organizing, land seizures and intolerable violence in their villages and towns.

- from today's Miami Herald.

One sad thing about this article (in addition to the overwhelmingly sad situation in Ecuador) is that there is nothing said about the situation in Colombia that generated this migration. The article begins with a story of a family who fled Colombia when "[a]rmed men entered their home, murdered [a brother] and threatened to kill the rest of the family if they did not vacate the town within 48 hours." Given the bias of the Miami Herald, my guess is that the "armed men" would be the guerillas and not the Army. My bias as to the Herald is that if the armed men were from the Army, then that would have been specifically reported.

On the other hand, the reporter could have decided not to inject the Colombian political situation into the matter of considering the desperate situation of the immigrants. Thus, she could have been writing in good faith. However, I would consider the story so incomplete without referring to the problems in Colombia that it verges on not the whole truth and, therefore, a journalistic failure.

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