Remembering Hurricane Katrina and Our Neighbor to the South
A few days ago, an interesting 10-question quiz appeared on TMV designed to “find out which Americans are enablers [of illegal immigrants] and which aren’t.”
Here is a two-question quiz to test your knowledge of the true character of our neighbors to the South.
1) Do you believe that Mexicans always cross the border to take advantage of our so-called welfare state?
2) Whether your answer to Question #1 is Yes or No, you may want to read the following.
To be fair, I did not know, or had forgotten, what the Mexican people did for thousands of hungry and displaced Americans 10 years ago.
Stephen R. Kelly, a former U.S. diplomat in Mexico, recalls at the Washington Post how, 10 days after Hurricane Katrina struck and devastated the Gulf Coast, a 45-vehicle convoy with more than 200 Mexican military personnel crossed the border at Laredo.
“To feed tens of thousands of homeless and hungry Americans displaced by Hurricane Katrina.” According to Kelly, the Mexican troops set up camp at a former Air Force base outside San Antonio and “distributed potable water, medical supplies and 7,000 hot meals a day for the next three weeks.”
By the time their mission ended almost three weeks later, “the Mexicans had served 170,000 meals, helped distribute more than 184,000 tons of supplies and conducted more than 500 medical consultations.”
In addition, two navy ships sailed from Veracruz to assist with the cleanup efforts.
According to Wikipedia, in addition to the two ships, Mexico sent “eight all-terrain vehicles, seven amphibious vehicles, two tankers, two helicopters, radio communication equipment, and medical personnel.” The medical team consisted of three doctors, three dentists, three nurses and three paramedics. Wikipedia lists additional equipment, personnel, supplies support and expertise provided by Mexico.
There were some glitches, such as the fact that “the USDA would not allow the Mexicans to serve the beef they had brought because they couldn’t prove it had been produced in a mad-cow-free facility.” But, Kelly adds “Undeterred — and un-insulted — the Mexicans bought their beef locally.”
Kelly was serving at the time as the No. 2 at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City when he received the offers of support from Mexico’s Foreign Ministry.
“The storm’s track posed no danger to Mexico, and we followed events like most expatriate Americans — aghast, but at a distance,” Kelly recalls and immediately adds “But not Mexicans. They were watching the same scenes of floating corpses and botched relief efforts in New Orleans,” and that is when the offers for help came in.
As the tenth anniversary of Katrina and the “immigration” spectacle featured by presidential candidate Donald Trump coincide, Kelly concludes with some very timely and perceptive observations:
Disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, or the spectacle of U.S. presidential politics, often force to the surface the true character of the players. The Mexicans proved they were neighbors we can count on. One can only speculate how Trump would have handled the Mexican invasion had he been president. Would he have considered the visa-free Mexican soldiers illegal immigrants? Would he dispatch rape kits to San Antonio-area hospitals?
We should try to answer those questions soon. Because hurricane season is again upon us. And you never know when you are going to need a friendly neighbor, and a hot meal.
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