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Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Canada: "Get in line"

From Reuters:
Disgruntled Democrats seeking a safe Canadian haven after U.S. President George W. Bush won Tuesday's election should not pack their bags just yet.

Canadian officials made clear on Wednesday that any U.S. citizens so fed up with Bush that they want to make a fresh start up north would have to stand in line like any other would-be immigrants -- a wait that can take up to a year.

"Let me tell you -- if they're hard-working honest people, there's a process, and let them apply," Immigration Minister Judy Sgro told Reuters.

Asked whether American applicants would get special treatment, she replied: "No, they'll join the crowd like all the other people who want to come to Canada."
When I think about leaving this stupid country, which is often, I tend to think more about heading south. I've heard several people suggest Canada, but I know that in Canada I'd have to get a good, high-paying job, and I doubt if my skills in computer programming would stand out particularly compared to thousands of qualified Canadians. Rent and heating costs would be high. And without the good job, I probably couldn't get in at all.

In Mexico or Venezuela, I could probably live for years on the proceeds from selling my house and cashing in my retirement. I could probably find meaningful if not high-paying work in computers or teaching math or English.

I realize that Latin American governments are usually even more screwed up than ours, and if they aren't then ours will intervene and screw it up for them. But my impression from my visits down south is that the general population KNOWS that the government can't be trusted, and that the people are, somehow, generally much better informed than the American public in general. (If you think people here are well-informed, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I point you to exhibit A.) Peasants living in the Lacondon jungle in Chiapas were able to discuss NAFTA and FTAA with us knowledgeably, something probably less than 10% of Americans can do.

Right now, I'm at a loss. I think I'll probably take a 2-3 week vacation this winter and go to Mexico, Guatemala or Venezuela for some intensive Spanish lessons. I'll then be better able to travel and comprehend the vast stretches of the American continents which may not yet be completely under the control of corporate fascists. Or at least maybe I won't be home when Ashcroft comes knockin'.

PS: Isn't it amazing that CNN ran that Reuters article with the headline "No Canada safe haven for Democrats?"