Title

Migrant caravans from Central America: the empire comes home.

Subject Area

Spanish American Studies

Abstract

The issue of illegal immigration, particularly from Mexico and Central America, has loomed large for over a century in the political agenda of a country identified as a “nation of immigrants.” More recently, when large numbers of migrants decide to make the journey across Mexico to attempt to enter the U.S., the political discourse surrounding the subject not only becomes more divisive than ever, it tends to oversimplify what is at stake.

As economic instability persists and social violence fails to subside in our most notoriously impoverished Central American neighbors – El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and Nicaragua – the pressure to seek greener pastures becomes ever so great, ultimately becoming the last desperate resort of their citizens at securing mere survival. While simplifying the immediate causes of such displacement is a relatively easy task, finding its deeper origins requires delving into an long background of political pressures, mostly exogenous to these historically agrarian societies, that have ravaged the economies of these nations and the livelihood of so many.

Providing a historical framework for this problem is thus fundamental to contextualize the events arousing so many passions on the northern side of the fence. Only a clear view of these root causes will help shed light on possible paths for the solution of the humanitarian crisis we now have in hand.

In this light, I propose to present a brief history of the political and economic antecedents at the root of the illegal immigration fluxes from Central America into the United States.

Brief Bio Note

Upon obtaining his graduate degree from the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, he has taught in different regions in the United States and in Europe. He is currently an Associate Professor of Foreign Languages at Lander University in South Carolina, where he teaches Portuguese, ESL, and all levels of Spanish courses.

Keywords

Central America, colonialism, neocolonialism, imperialism, illegal immigration

Location

Afternoon Session 1 (PARB 255)

Presentation Year

April 2019

Start Date

4-11-2019 2:15 PM

Embargo

11-26-2018

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Apr 11th, 2:15 PM

Migrant caravans from Central America: the empire comes home.

Afternoon Session 1 (PARB 255)

The issue of illegal immigration, particularly from Mexico and Central America, has loomed large for over a century in the political agenda of a country identified as a “nation of immigrants.” More recently, when large numbers of migrants decide to make the journey across Mexico to attempt to enter the U.S., the political discourse surrounding the subject not only becomes more divisive than ever, it tends to oversimplify what is at stake.

As economic instability persists and social violence fails to subside in our most notoriously impoverished Central American neighbors – El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and Nicaragua – the pressure to seek greener pastures becomes ever so great, ultimately becoming the last desperate resort of their citizens at securing mere survival. While simplifying the immediate causes of such displacement is a relatively easy task, finding its deeper origins requires delving into an long background of political pressures, mostly exogenous to these historically agrarian societies, that have ravaged the economies of these nations and the livelihood of so many.

Providing a historical framework for this problem is thus fundamental to contextualize the events arousing so many passions on the northern side of the fence. Only a clear view of these root causes will help shed light on possible paths for the solution of the humanitarian crisis we now have in hand.

In this light, I propose to present a brief history of the political and economic antecedents at the root of the illegal immigration fluxes from Central America into the United States.