Ease Venezuela sanctions to reduce number of migrants seeking asylum in America

The U.S. has been working for a regime change in that country. Using economic sanctions, our government has devastated Venezuela’s economy.

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Unos niños pasean en bicicleta frente a un refugio de migrantes en el barrio de Pilsen en julio.

Boys ride a bicycle outside a migrant shelter in the Pilsen neighborhood July 17.

Owen Ziliak/Sun-Times

In Thursday’s edition of the Sun-Times, the Editorial Board bemoaned the fact that there is no end in sight for the stream of desperate asylum seekers being bused from Texas to Chicago by that state’s governor (“A year in, Chicago migrant crisis shows no sign of letting up”).

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Already, the state has spent $190 million on asylum relief, and we can expect the need to grow as many thousands more seek a new life in our fair city. The board demanded more state and federal assistance, as they should.

But the editorial didn’t go on to ask what is driving thousands and thousands of people to our border in the first place. How can we get a handle on providing adequate housing and assistance to an ever-increasing number when we have no sense of how many more are likely to come or how to stop the flow?

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In a previous article, the Sun-Times reported that the majority of the asylum seekers being sent to Chicago come from Venezuela. What’s pushing masses of people in that country to leave their homes and families to make the difficult journey to the U.S.?

For decades the U.S. has been working for regime change in that country. Using economic sanctions, our government has devastated Venezuela’s economy. We prevent them from selling their oil and importing necessary goods including life-saving medicines, and we block their international financial transactions including their ability to borrow money. England, at our behest, has seized several billion dollars in Venezuela’s gold assets. All of this has made life in Venezuela very difficult; millions have left and many thousands have ended up in Chicago.

It’s only right that our city tries its best to accommodate the desperate people, but shouldn’t we also work to change U.S. policy toward Venezuela (and other countries as well) to stop forcing people to leave their country in the first place?

William Bianchi, North Center

Make July 25 Emmett Till Day

I am writing to underscore the significance of my introduction of the Emmett Till Day Act. The proposal to designate July 25 as Emmett Till Day in Illinois seeks to honor a pivotal figure in American history, in Illinois and across the nation. Till’s enduring impact on the civil rights movement serves as a guiding light for our unrelenting pursuit of equality.

The narrative of Till poignantly reveals the pervasive racism that once scarred our nation. Our understanding of his legacy highlights the unsettling reality that inequalities still persist. Now, more than ever, it is vital to acknowledge and commemorate African American history. It is an essential thread woven into the larger fabric of our nation’s history, a narrative that necessitates recognition rather than eradication.

Emmett Till Day would be an annual commemoration honoring the courage of a young boy and his mother in confronting the nation’s dark past. This event is more than a memorial; it is a clear commemoration of the past and an essential step toward a better future. By preserving and recognizing African American history, we lay the groundwork for progress, thereby propelling our nation forward with purpose.

Emmett Till Day is not simply a day to mourn a tragic loss. It is an unwavering commitment to safeguard AfricanAmerican history against eradication efforts. Together, we can preserve this history as an integral part of our collective memory, illuminating a future marked by unity, understanding, and a commitment to a better tomorrow.

State Rep. Kimberly Neely Du Buclet, 5th District

President Joe Biden, applauded by members of the Emmett Till family and members of Congress, finishes signing a proclamation in the Indian Treaty Room July 25 to establish the Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley National Monument in Illinois and Mississippi.

President Joe Biden, applauded by members of the Emmett Till family and members of Congress, signs a proclamation on July 25 to establish the Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley National Monument in Illinois and Mississippi.

Win McNamee/Getty

Politics needs the decency of Reagan-Mondale

For years, I’ve tried to understand why there is so much rudeness in politics, but I might finally be onto something. You may want to take this with a grain of salt, but if you’re as bad at handicapping elections as I am, read on. We’ll commiserate.

After almost 50 years of voting in presidential elections, I recall eight between candidates I considered to be good people, including ones I didn’t support. For example, Ronald Reagan vs. former Vice President Walter Mondale in 1984.

In their first televised debate, Reagan seemed off-balance and confused. Less charitable observers might say “Biden-like.” Mondale, by contrast, was on point, articulate and non-judgmental. Nary an ageist slur was uttered. When Reagan responded, “I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience” in the second debate, no one laughed harder than Mondale. He lost the race in a landslide, but it was a banner moment for good sportsmanship.

There have been civil campaigns since then, but something is missing from today’s contests. I call it the “strain of decency,” comparable to a strain of bacteria but in a good way. Reagan and Mondale, for all their policy differences, had a strain of decency. I combined “strain” with “decency” to underscore a human value that gamely held on until we turned it into a relic.

Jim Newton, Itasca

Ronald Reagan and Walter Mondale with their wives at a debate in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1984.

Ronald Reagan and Walter Mondale with their wives at a debate in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1984.

Sun-Times file

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