I come from another country and that makes me feel like I live in two different worlds all the time. I could stay in this dream world and forget where I came from, but I would be haunted by the memories of the people I left behind in Colombia, or that I have met in other countries like Mexico, or Puerto Rico.
Besides the music, the food, the familiarity in which Latino people develop friendships and relationships in general, there is also a matter of sharing difficulties. Hardship is the daily bread of most Latin American families. Not so long ago, people from Argentina, Colombia or any Latino country would think of coming to the North to visit, or study, but not to stay. Nowadays, they have to come, because there are no opportunities for them in their own countries.
On the other hand, many people would agree with me that living in USA has many advantages. It is a pleasure to have so many opportunities, choices and the possibility to do so many things. One can wear clothes from Bangladesh, India or Russia. Also, you can eat bananas from Ecuador, apples from Chile and spices from Africa. Do you want expensive Valentine chocolates? You can buy Swiss chocolates, processed in Europe with the cocoa from Latin America. You can have any thing from any part of the world, even fine Asian handicrafts for a dollar. Families can have as many cars as members of the family, after all even though gas prices have gone up, people continue to use cars at will.
People are very civilized when they gather for discussions. The right to say anything is respected and sometimes the dissenting person will be congratulated and encouraged to voice his/her opinion. One can join meeting after meeting of special interest such as peace, evangelism, environmental issues and others. At any of those meetings there are very enlightened individuals who have the answers to the respective issue.
Is there anything wrong with this picture? Probably not, but for me is like living in two worlds. One full of comfort and possibilities that invites me to forget, the other a world that invites me to reflect about where such comfort comes from. How much money did the peasant, the artisan and the workers that make my world comfortable received? How much of their dignity, and way of life was robbed when the commercialization of their goods made them dependant on people who have more power and money than them?
I came back to United States fifteen years ago. During this time my husband and I have been talking about the growing military presence in Colombia. We kept telling people about the way the US government has been involved in impoverishing the Colombian people and setting up the situation so that the oil in the Colombia-Venezuela border benefits not the people from that place, but the oil companies. The billions of dollars than have been poured in Colombia to enforce the military instead of creating infrastructure for the poor, create a perfect situation to have a new Viet Nam or a new Iraq.
While people here continue to have civilized discussions about the harm that has been done already, the evil continues to grow in places like Colombia.
I live in two different worlds, and I appreciate them both. I love the people in US, I will never stop saying how kind they are, but I feel sorry to see how gullible they are. As the days go by, I feel that there is no way out of so much evil unless each person in the United States is willing to ask in each instance how what we eat, wear and use affects people else where, and how the military power that has taken hold of the world, is making each of us poorer and less human. We have gone beyond polite discussions. Every day we are part of the problem that is ruining the world.
We have gone beyond polite discussions. Everyday we are part of the problem that is ruining the world..