Thursday, February 29, 2024

For love or money, people get around

You might think that a deadly war in somebody else's country would repel most people who had any option to stay well away. And, in general, that's true. But there are exceptions.

In Ukraine, from the earliest days of Russia's attempt at conquest, there have been quite a few voluntary international participants. According to the Associated Press:

In early 2022, authorities said 20,000 people from 52 countries were in Ukraine. Now, in keeping with the secrecy surrounding any military numbers, authorities will not say how many are on the battlefield but they do say fighters’ profile has changed.
The first waves of volunteers came mostly from post-Soviet or English-speaking countries. Speaking Russian or English made it easier for them to integrate into Ukraine’s military, [Oleksandr Shahuri, an officer of the Department of Coordination of Foreigners in the Armed Forces of Ukraine] said.
Last year the military developed an infrastructure of Spanish-speaking recruiters, instructors and junior operational officers, he added.

And recruitment is succeeding in Bogota, Columbia where 10,000 highly trained soldiers retire every year. Service in Ukraine is a good deal for these vets.
Corporals in Colombia get a basic salary of around $400 a month, while experienced drill sergeants can earn up to $900. Colombia’s monthly minimum wage is currently $330.
In Ukraine any member of the armed forces, regardless of citizenship, is entitled to a monthly salary of up to $3,300, depending on their rank and type of service. They are also entitled to up to $28,660 if they are injured, depending on the severity of the wounds. If they are killed in action, their families are due $400,000 compensation.
Let's hope these recruits are not bringing a Columbian record of human rights abuses with them.

Meanwhile on the other side of that war, in Russia, hungry Cubans are providing recruits to be ground up in mass human wave operations, according to Reuters:

Cuban seamstress Yamidely Cervantes has bought a new sewing machine for the first time in years, plus a refrigerator and a cellphone - all on Russia's dime.
She said her 49-year-old husband Enrique Gonzalez, a struggling bricklayer, left their home in the small town of La Federal on July 19 to fight for the Russian army in Ukraine. Days later, he wired her part of his signing-on bonus of about 200,000 roubles ($2,040) which she received in Cuban pesos, Cervantes told Reuters.
... On the 100-meter dirt road where Cervantes lives, at least three men have left for Russia since June, and another had sold his home in anticipation of going, she said.
"You can count on one hand those who are left," the 42-year-old said as she surveyed the street from a small terrace where she'd repurposed two broken toilet bowls as flower pots.
"Necessity is what is driving this."
From its onset, the Israeli war on Gaza has presented challenges to Israel's human economy. The war pushes Israel toward becoming ever more an unsustainable, malignant Sparta. Many men who make its modern economy hum were called up to serve in the Israeli Defense Force, while Palestinian laborers were locked out of the agricultural sector to be replaced by whatever migrant workers Israel could import.
According to a report in the Guardian, Israeli recruitment of foreign construction workers is focusing on India.
The industry relied on approximately 80,000 Palestinian workers, who are now barred from entering Israeli territory. As a result, half-finished residential blocks are everywhere, yellow tower cranes waiting motionlessly overhead. In the West Bank, poverty rates have soared.
The economic impact for Israel could also be severe. The finance ministry has estimated the expulsion of Palestinian construction workers is costing 3bn shekels (£656m) a month, and could eventually lead to a loss of 3% of GDP because the building and housing industries owe 400bn shekels in loans.
... “Right now I earn around 15,000 rupees (£150) a month,” said Rajat Kumar, 27, from the north Indian state of Haryana. Though he has a bachelor’s degree, for six years he had been unable to get any other job except construction, earning a salary he described as “peanuts”. The prospect of travelling abroad to a country engulfed in conflict was a small price to pay for regular, well-paid work, said Kumar, who got his first passport in order to apply for a job as a plasterer in Israel.
The job he has applied for in Israel would pay 138,000 rupees a month, with accommodation provided, which he saw as a small fortune. “When I compare it with what I earn here, I can’t think of anything but the better life I and my family will have,” he said.
A bilateral labour agreement was signed between Israel and New Delhi last May, before the war in Gaza broke out, but has since become a priority for both countries. Israeli transportation minister, Miri Regev, said during a visit to India earlier this month that Israel would be “lessening its dependence on Palestinian workers” by replacing them with skilled foreign workers.
As always in contemplating migrant flows, let's hope this is worth it to the human individuals caught up in the flow of people. But people always get around, something US immigration restrictionists fail to understand.

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