Laying on my bed in my apartment in Barranquilla, Colombia…
Shortened to Quilla.
It’s almost midnight and I am chilling to some music when I get a text message…
“Hey Matt, want to get some beer?”
It was a Colombian friend of mine named Andres who lived close to me at the time.
Often enough, we would go to little stores on the street that you can find in Quilla.
Where you can sit down at a small table on the outside with some beer and chill.
And there was this one store anyway we went to often – the owner was pretty cool.
So I say sure and walk out of my apartment a few minutes later to meet up at the little store we would often drink at.
Once there, I see Andres is talking with some locals and he introduces me to them.
Before then we proceed to sit down at a table with about 12 beers.
As we are drinking….
I see a random homeless guy stumbling around, yelling some random shit or whatever…
Sounded pretty intelligible.
The guy was black, maybe about my height more or less, bald and in dirty clothes.
Maybe with a missing tooth or a few – who knows.
And was clearly under the influence – drugs or whatever.
There’s some stone concrete anyway separating the little store from the road.
Where this guy is stumbling around with no care for any car that might pass by.
And he stumbles over to us and yells a bunch of shit.
Then he looks at me – quite clearly the foreigner – and goes…
“Hey…hey….money?? You have money for me?!?”
He persists a little bit in asking over and over again while I’m telling him to piss off.
Then the store owner yells out basically “go away or I’ll call the cops!”
Now, being Colombia, you can’t really expect the cops to show up quickly enough and do anything.
They’re often incompetent and plenty of times corrupt themselves in looking to steal money from you through a bribe.
But we lived in a neighborhood that supposedly was relatively nice in Barranquilla.
And there was a small little police station very close to where we were and I often saw them driving around and looking busy or whatever.
But I say relatively safe because it still looked kinda shitty in some parts and crime happened there as well.
Such as Andres getting robbed around this time by gun point at a small park very close by.
But it wasn’t the worst place ever either – just not as safe as you could hope despite being known for being relatively safe compared to other neighborhoods.
Anyway, the guy pisses off down the road mumbling some shit..
Maybe something like “damn gringos, they have all the money and they won’t share….fuck them…fuck them all!”
Either way, Andres and I continue on drinking our beer and that is where he makes a certain comment…
“They’re criminals. They’re rapists. None are good people.”
“Fucking Venezuelans…” Andres started to go on about.
He shakes his head and drinks a little more of his beer before going on…
“There’s too many of those fuckers here….” He claims.
“Why you think that?” I ask.
“They’re everywhere. Not as bad here as in cities like Bogota but still…” He says.
And then he goes on….
“All of them bring crime, are poor as shit and harass everyone for money. They’re all fucking scum.”
Now keep in mind, this sentiment about Venezuelans is not unique to Andres.
If you didn’t know by now, Venezuela is a bit of a shit hole these days.
Because of that, you have a shit ton of Venezuelans all over Latin America.
Many of them desperate for sure.
Either working in the streets hustling however they can…
To Venezuelan prostitutes everywhere --- no joke, every time I see a Venezuelan chick on Tinder, I assume it’s a prostitute because that’s very common.
Even though, obviously, not all of them do that but you get the idea – quite a few.
Though obviously not all Venezuelans are poor either – you got richer ones who moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina or Miami or Spain, etc…
And obviously not all the poor ones are doing crime either.
But given the amount of Venezuelans who escaped to Colombia, you do have a strong sentiment against them by the locals.
Of course, there was a similar point I wanted to bring up to Andres about all of this.
Some days or maybe a few weeks before, we got talking about Mexican immigrants to the US.
Now, getting political for a second…
I’m not against having immigration from Mexico as I’ve never met a bad Mexican living in the US.
But sure, we have bad folks crossing the border also obviously.
Though I’m also not for illegal immigration – yes, people can be illegal.
So in that sense – no, I’m not for erasing borders completely like some folks in the US want.
There’s simply too many issues with that.
Especially as while there are immigrants leaving for security reasons because someone wants them dead…
First, it shouldn’t be just the responsibility of the US – there are plenty of countries in the world where they could live and why not have a better international process for helping relocate those to countries that are not doing their fair share.
Especially as the US has a shit ton of immigrants and we definitely do our fair share.
As you can read about here....
"According to the United Nations, the United States has the highest number of immigrants (foreign-born individuals), with 48 million in 2015, five times more than in Saudi Arabia (11 million) and six times more than in Canada (7.6 million) (figure below). However, in proportion to their population size, these two countries have significantly more immigrants: 34% and 21%, respectively, versus 15% in the United States."
But also – in my experience – most immigrants I have met in the US or seen crossing through Mexico to the US are leaving to find a better job – but that’s just my experience.
And no hate against those who want a better job – I get it – and it’s the hustle in life to take care of your family – but every country has borders and immigration policy for a variety of reasons and it’s not our job to save the world.
But Andres and I were once talking before all of this – he disapproves the US deporting illegal Mexican immigrants.
And it was just a basic disagreement between us on that topic.
Thankfully, he didn’t go full SJW on my ass for disagreeing that one time – “hitler!! Nazi!!!”
But that minor disagreement between us came to my mind at that point
So I brought it up – “didn’t you say the US shouldn’t deport Mexicans who are illegal in the US?”
“Yeah man but that’s different! These Venezuelans are real scum and should be deported.” He says.
“But I’m sure some are good folks! And if the US shouldn’t respect its border policy, why should Colombia?” I ask.
“It just is man. It’s different. You can’t trust a Venezuelan.” He claims.
Well, we leave it at that but I found the hypocrisy here funny – everyone is entitled to live in the US illegally for whatever reason but Colombia should be allowed to have borders!
And that mindset is not unusual among Latinos in Latin America that I have met.
Not all obviously but quite a few...
You know, when I was living in Argentina…
I was going on a few dates with a Colombian chick named Cindy who came from Cali, Colombia.
And she had an issue with a politician named Macri who tends to promote anti-immigrant discourse from what I understand.
Such as wanting a border wall on the Argentine-Bolivian border as you can read here.
And she just felt he was too anti-immigrant – especially being one herself in Colombia.
Unfortunately, I never asked her about her opinion on Venezuelans in Colombia because I hadn’t been to Colombia yet and heard what Andres said.
But in Argentina anyway, there is a sentiment against immigrants from poorer countries.
Similar to Chile across the border where I remember seeing a video of some Chilean woman berating a Colombian immigrant.
I couldn't find that video now on a brief Youtube search but I did find other relevant videos like this one below.
In Costa Rica, as you can see here, apparently there is a sentiment against Nicaraguan immigrants.
In Peru, as you can read here, there is a sentiment against Venezuelan immigrants there as well.
And you know, I could probably find articles that go into detail about the locals disliking Venezuelans in quite a few countries down here.
Shit, apparently there is an entire Wikipedia article on it so check it out!
In Tijuana, as you can read here, there is a sentiment against Central American migrants.
In that scenario, I have to wonder…
If the US didn’t block so many of those folks from crossing from Tijuana into the US…
And they just poured in more easily and didn’t stay in Tijuana…
How many of the locals would still be protesting against them?
And how many of them would say – or currently do say – that the US should just accept all of them and more because “that’s racist that they don’t!!!”
But hold up – are they then being racist for protesting against them?
So it’s basically a “not in my back yard” mentality – “fuck off immigrants! We don’t want you! Borders are important!”
Mixed in with a “oh but the US shouldn’t have borders! US is racist!!!!”
Of course, there is speculation there that some of the protesters in Tijuana think that way but I have seen that mentality among some Mexicans down here.
Like with my last ex-girlfriend who felt uncomfortable with the Central American migrants and didn’t want them in Mexico but didn’t like US policy towards deporting Mexican immigrants.
And there’s another friend of mine I can think of who thinks that way that is from Mexico also.
Then you have the Dominican Republic – as you can see here – there is a sentiment against Haitian immigrants.
Which I saw in my limited time there funny enough as a chick I went on a few dates with named Deborah…
Who you can read about here.
Didn’t like Haitian immigrants or basically people who looked very black and poor and she assumed were Haitians.
Which is funny – because she was at least part black herself – but there is a bit of discrimination against folks who look darker in Latin America – black folks with darker skin than others or indigenous ones.
But either way, that’s just another example.
And I could go on and one..
But let’s cut to the chase now as to where I’m going with this.
Funny enough, some of the situations above, including the one with Andres, happened before Trump was president or before he even made the comment about “Mexicans bring drugs, crime, etc.”
However, as said before, the first point is to just bring up the hypocrisy many Latinos in Latin America have.
“No borders for the US but borders for our country!”
Second, I feel to a large degree this is just human nature – it happens in most countries.
You know, I think most people are cool with some immigration from other countries and most people feel fine with helping out poorer folks coming by looking for a better life.
However, if you throw in a very large quantity of immigrants from said country in a relatively quick time, that will piss off the locals.
Perhaps because of “outsider-insider mentality.”
Or maybe because a certain percentage of the poorer immigrants are committing crime because of desperation and/or some come from bad backgrounds and were not properly vetted before entering the country because some do so illegally.
And also because most people want their community to feel the same – for the culture, language, etc to not change.
Or at least not change too rapidly.
Which is a fair concern, in my opinion.
Of course, you do have literal racists who don’t like anyone who looks different than them but most people – regardless of the country – are not concerned about mass immigration because of racism.
At least in my experience.
Most are like the description above – some immigration is fine but too much and opinion changes.
You can see the same happen in Chiapas, Mexico.
Where it is shown that the locals are getting annoyed by the migrants staying and want them to leave and set their belongings on fire!
Here is a NY Times article on the same subject with the headline "Mexican Town Once Welcomed Migrants. Now It Blames Mexico’s President for Them."
Let me quote some of the highlights of that article that are relevant to the topic here...
"At the time, Mapastepec laid out the welcome mat, with the local authorities deploying every member of the town’s staff — about 300 people — to help feed and care for the migrants, who slept in the main square, on surrounding sidewalks and in five temporary shelters."
"Some residents claim the caravans have brought an increase in crime. Several confrontations between migrants and government officials in Chiapas, like the attempt to block migrants from entering the town of Huixtla, have also spurred concern."
“Go on to the US already – no borders for the US but borders for us – get the fuck out, you overstayed your welcome!”
Though, to be fair, the situation in their case is a little more extreme given it is just a small town we are talking about here...
Which then goes onto a third point talking about why, from my perspective, Latinos in Latin America often have this hypocrisy.
In regards to opinions on US immigration policy and how it is applied to Mexican and Central American migrants…
First, I feel a lot of the mainstream media in Latin America – at least from what I have seen in different countries – is garbage.
So there’s sometimes misinformation down here that locals eat up – but you can make the same claim in the US.
Though I’d say the mainstream media down here makes the mainstream media in the US look great – but that’s another topic for another day.
Second, and this is the bigger reason in my opinion, Latinos just tend to sometimes feel a solidarity with each other.
Or at least I think that is what is triggered when a Latino down here sees news of Mexicans being deported..
Even if that Latino is not Mexican – Uruguayan let’s say – they just see another Latino with a familiar last name being deported and can more easily feel a certain emotional type of solidarity that makes them disagree with US immigration policy on that matter.
But then that solidarity seems to vanish – for whatever reason – when Latinos of another country come by to live in their country in big numbers.
For a variety of reasons mentioned above.
They might be bringing in their own culture that is not similar to their own – like differences between Venezuelan and Peruvian culture that can bring tension.
Also, there is a racial component as well as not all Latinos are the same -- you got white, black, Asian, indigenous latinos..
And so when apparently one Venezuelan immigrant said that Venezuelan immigrants come to "improve the Peruvian race."
Peruvians having more of an indigenous background on average...
Well, that might have pissed off some of the locals...
Or it could be because of the “outsider-insider mentality” as you can read about here.
Also, a certain percentage of them might actually be committing crime and the news talks about it and that makes the locals think they are all committing crime!
Even if that is not necessarily the case…
And so on and so on…
But that’s just my amateur opinion based on my experience regarding why Latinos in Latin America have that hypocrisy.
I could be wrong – it’s simply what I have seen down here and what makes most sense to me.
The only Latinos I believe who can’t be hypocritical on this subject are basically those who believe in open borders for their own country as well…
Or those who live in countries that – from my understanding – nobody or relatively very few people are trying to illegally immigrate to.
Think Venezuela, Bolivia, maybe Nicaragua…
And of course, they don’t necessarily have the opportunity to be hypocritical because relatively few people are migrating there illegally – so their own biases against a mass group of immigrants haven’t been tested!
But they might be more likely to immigrate illegally themselves – so obviously that might impact their opinion on the subject of illegal immigration.
“Should people be allowed to immigrate to anywhere they want?”
“Of course – now let me in, I need a job!”
This is a long subject and I could go on in more detail.
But I will leave it at that.
If you have any experiences that are relevant or your own comment..
Leave it below in the comment section.
Any other opinions are welcome.
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