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Episode 172 - Dr. William Wipfler: Human Rights and Torture (part 2 of 2)

Monday, August 03, 2015, 8:34:18 AM

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In this episode, Dr. William Wipfler continues his discussion of human rights by exploring the assumptions and root causes that drive immigration to the United States. He describes who is coming and why, and the unintended consequences of U.S. policy for this complex challenge.

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Average Rating: 5stars  great podcast for understanding immigration, Sunday, January 31, 2016

By Robyn :

This is a great interview about the history of immigration from Central & South America, and Dr. Wipfler made important points. Dr. Wipfler mentioned that the flow of people from South America stopped when governments recovered political stability and got rid of military control. I have often heard it repeated that everyone is envious of our way of life in the U.S. and is desperate to come here, but these countries are beautiful and there is no reason masses of people would leave if political conditions were better.
Dr. Wipfler also discussed the role of the U.S. military's School of the Americas which is responsible for training some of the brutal dictators responsible for human rights abuses in South America. A great book on this topic is The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein. It shows how military repression starting in Chile under Pinochet was a way to enforce unpopular neoliberal economic policies. Dr. Wipfler mentions the fear of communism. Another facet of this was the U.S. drive under Reagan to implement neoliberal policies coming from the Chicago School and Milton Friedman. These policies, including austerity measures, could not be implemented under a democratic government because they only benefit the wealthy elite. While torture and human rights abuses get the most notice, economic policies are central to the problem. These policies were implemented in countries around the world with similar social unrest and brutal repression. We are currently seeing the results of austerity in Greece.
Dr. Wipfler also discussed the reason recent immigrants are coming from Central America. He mentioned that U.S. drug policies create problems in these countries which drive people to leave out of desperation. Given the U.S. role in creating some of these problems, we have a responsibility to help solve them, to end the drug war, and to change our repressive policies on immigration. I appreciate Dr. Wipfler’s insight and his work for change.

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