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Hot Zone

Episode 133 | Crisis in Cameroon and How it Affects YOU.

Hundreds of Africans from Ebola-plagued countries are being set loose on American Soil.  Should you be concerned?  We’ll look into it on this episode of the Hot Zone.
 Hi, folks, Chuck Holton, here. On the US Southern border, the border patrol is still seeing the numbers of illegal crossers off the charts,
Two large groups were apprehended in separate incidents last week. On June 4 El Paso
Agents responded to a large group of illegal aliens crossing the Rio Grande just west of downtown.
As responding agents arrived the number of illegal aliens increased. Agents at the scene apprehended a
total of 268 crossers. In a separate incident on June 5 Agents from Lordsburg
caught a group of 258 illegal aliens near Antelope Wells in the remote New
Mexico boot heel. Both large groups were comprised primarily of family units and unaccompanied
children from Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua.
But we are also seeing a spike in what they call “exotics,” that is, crossers from countries around the world, especially Africa and the middle east and Asia.
Just to give you a sense of what these agents have to face with these huge groups, Also On June 5 an Agent in El Paso Station was performing roll call when she was threatened and assaulted by a Cuban migrant under her care. The woman had to be restrained by other agents.
Last week the Border patrol apprehended at least three convicted sex offenders who had served jail time in the United States and had later been deported.  Well, now they are back, infiltrating along with the crush of humanity surging across the border.
Last week El Paso Border Patrol Agents also conducted two water rescues in two separate incidents
where migrants were drowning after trying to cross the Rio Grande…and these agents had to put themselves at risk to save them.
Well on Monday the Border Patrol bused over three hundred Africans into San Antonio and set them loose.  Hundreds more to follow.  These are men and women from Congo, Cameroon, and other West African countries, many of which are beset by problems much worse than war or poverty.  The biggest problem in those countries right now is the spread of Ebola.  Let me tell you, that’s one nasty virus, and it’s something all of us should keep an eye on.  None of us were alive back in 1919 when the Spanish flu killed almost 100 million people, one of whom was my great grandmother.  But Ebola is the kind of virus that could cause a pandemic like that, especially with the ease of air travel today.
A few months ago I got a chance to interview one of the world’s foremost experts on Ebola, a scientist named Ellen Jo Barron.  Check out this excerpt of our conversation:
So Ebola: very bad.  So does that mean we need to worry about Africans who are entering our country who hail from those regions?  Well, probably not as much as you might think.  Since the path these guys take to get here usually takes them from Africa to Ecuador, then they ride up on buses, walk through the Darien Gap, and then continue their journey up through central America before reaching our border, most have been on the road already for months, sometimes up to a year.  So if they were infected with Ebola, they’d be dead already.  But you COULD say one effect of this infrastructure of support that’s been created throughout Latin America to help migrants reach the United States could be blamed if Ebola ends up jumping the Atlantic and breaking out in the Western Hemisphere.  And this virus is so nasty, that’s a real issue that should be being talked about on all the major networks.  But I went and looked this morning and could find literally zero about it on any of the mainstream media’s main pages.  So it’s left to kooky websites like Infowars to bring up the issue, which I believe they sort of overstated the risk to America for the reasons I’ve already stated.  But so why is seemingly half of Africa trying to leave?  Is it just Ebola or something else?
Well when I was reporting from the Darien gap here in Panama a month ago, there were lots and lots of Cameroonians coming out of the jungle.  Cameroon is one of the world’s most under-reported displacement crises.  Right now, according to the international humanitarian aid community, this west African country ranks as one of the worst refugee crises in the world. That is, over a half a million people have been pushed out of their homes, in the wake of the fighting that’s been going on there. And we’re going to take a look today at the causes of that fighting and how that is affecting the flow of refugees, many of whom as I said is coming to the United States.
Jan Egeland is a Norwegian diplomat, political scientist, humanitarian leader and current Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council.  He recently went to Cameroon to see what’s causing so many of its people to pack up and leave.
[Jan Egeland piece]
So here it’s violence between French speakers and English speakers. In Nigeria, it’s violence between Muslims and Christians, or Boko Haram and everyone.  In Congo there’s violence between militia groups, ISIS is there, and the people are so ignorant and superstitious, they keep killing the doctors and aid workers who are trying to stop the spread of Ebola.
If you’re getting the sense that Africa is a violent place, you’d be right.  Unfortunately, though it’s not politically correct to bring it up, what we see is that when people are raised in this kind of culture and then migrate to the western world, they very often bring this kind of violence along with them, even though that is what they are ostensibly fleeing from.  They just can’t help it.  They don’t know any other way.  We’ve seen this a lot in Europe especially.  A couple of years ago I reported on this from Sweden.  Check this out.
[Sweden piece]
So Conflict has so far uprooted half a million people in South-West and North-West Cameroon. Hundreds of villages have been set ablaze. Hospitals have been attacked. Health workers are being abducted or killed. Over 780,000 children have seen their schools close and thousands of people are having to hide in the bushes, have received no humanitarian relief.
I’m planning a trip now to Africa for next month to do some more investigation on this and other issues.  And let me tell you – getting a visa to enter these countries is an absolutely soul-crushing process.  Take Nigeria for example:
[nigerian visa nightmare]
[tit-for-tat with US immigration policy]
[hurts Nigeria more than it hurts us.]
So thanks to all of you who are supporting the podcast.  I’ve had so  many people send fifty or a hundred bucks to our PayPal and just say “use this to help people where you go next.”  Well, I want you to know that’s exactly what I plan to do.  So like and share the podcast wherever you find it, and leave us a review please, it really helps with the rankings.
That’s all for today.  I’m Chuck Holton, and this has been the Hot Zone podcast.

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