As Minnesotans and constituents, we are heartened by Ilhan Omar’s commitment to human rights, which explains her critique of the State of Israel for its violation of the rights of Palestinians under international law.
Rep. Omar also appropriately questioned the appointment of Elliott Abrams as the point person on the Venezuelan conflict. As President Ronald Reagan’s assistant secretary of state, Abrams said reports of the 1982 El Mozote massacre of 500 civilians by the U.S. supported El Salvadoran military were “not credible.” He also supported funding and training of the Guatemalan military under the presidency of Efrain Rios Montt, who was later found guilty of mass murder of Mayan populations.
Omar also brings expertise to understanding the tragic history of Honduras since the U.S. accepted the 2009 coup that overthrew the democratically elected President Zelaya. This coup has resulted in corrupt governments that violate the human rights of Hondurans. Like Omar, we traveled with Witness for Peace to Honduras, where we learned how U.S. financed and trained security forces to repress dissent. The November 2017 Honduran presidential election had many irregularities that led the Organization of American States to call for new elections. More than 30 peaceful protesters were killed by security forces.
This history of corruption, violence, and repression explains why so many Hondurans join the caravans that migrate to the U.S. We believe that Omar’s knowledge of Central American and her own history as a refugee will assist the U.S. in developing a foreign policy that is more sensitive to human rights and more humane to refugees.
The authors are from West St. Paul, Golden Valley, and Minneapolis.
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