The realities of Central American migration


Back in May I wrote a long review essay on Central American migration. It is finally out as the lead piece in the Books & Arts section of the September 22 issue of The Nation, accompanied by Keith Dannemiller‘s powerful photo from Arriaga, Chiapas (above).

The essay uses three books by Mexican and Central American authors (The Beast by Óscar Martínez, La file india by Antonio Ortuño, and the collected volume 72 Migrantes) and a film (La jaula de oro) to explore migration from migrants’ perspective. It also provides some historical background on Central American migration and how it has changed over time. Unlike much of what has appeared in the US media over the last couple of months, US politics and the potential political implications of migration are not at the heart of this story. Instead, as I stress in the essay, we should be paying more attention to migrants themselves — why they leave, the realities they face and traumas they endure en route, and Mexican and US policies’ devastating impact on them. It is not an uplifting story, but it’s an important one that deserves our attention.

You can read the essay online here.

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