Why are thousands of children and families fleeing Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador over the last few months? How is the U.S. government responding to the current crisis and what can we do about it?
This talk will examine some of the causes of the current Central American child refugee crisis, including economic liberalization and the Central America Free Trade Agreement, the militarization of public space, the 2009 coup in Honduras, gangs and the drug trade, and the culture of impunity in the region. We will also examine the legal issues around the treatment of the refugees in the United States and alternatives to the current forms of detention and processing.
However, rather than simply focusing on some of the short-term causes, the talk will also provide a historical and political background of the region, including an overview of the United States's involvement in the isthmus, its support for right-wing dictatorships throughout the twentieth century, and the legacy of Central American revolutionary struggles from the 1970s and 80s. This understanding will help us see the refugee crises in light of the decades-long fight against economic dependency and underdevelopment in Central America.
After the talk, an open discussion and will follow.
Zen Dochterman has traveled and studied extensively in Central America and is currently working on his Ph.D., focusing on Nicaraguan and Salvadorean literature from the sixties to eighties.