CISPES Solidarity Statement with Central American Refugee Caravans
CISPES expresses its most profound solidarity with the migrant caravans that have banded together for safety as they make their way through Central America and Mexico toward the United States. We call upon the governments of Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, and the United States to respect the integrity, dignity, and rights of all migrants and asylum seekers and to end the repressive, exploitative policies that force poor and working people to migrate in order to survive.
As caravans move north in various formations, the number of migrants and asylum seekers has grown to more than 7 thousand. As an organization committed to supporting the Salvadoran people’s struggle for social and economic justice and to resisting all forms of U.S. intervention in Central America, we echo the demands of immigrant rights and solidarity organizations calling on the U.S., Mexican, and Central American governments to respect the integrity, dignity, and wellbeing of all migrants and asylum seekers in the caravan. We continue to reject U.S. funding for the militarization of regional borders in Mexico and Central America as well as the underlying “security” policies that contribute to the violence and danger migrants face throughout the region.
The Central American refugee crisis is a direct result of decades of U.S. foreign policy in the region that promotes inequality, labor exploitation, privatization, and the extraction of natural resources for the financial benefit of the corporate elite. Coordinated antidemocratic strategies by right-wing forces, corporations, and the U.S. government to obstruct or oust left and progressive governments in the region have constrained the development of social and economic policies that would render migration an option, not an obligation.
The majority of people in the caravan are Honduran, and so we echo the demands of the Honduran Solidarity Network to immediately end all U.S. economic and military aid to the regime of Juan Orlando Hernandez in Honduras. Since the U.S.-backed coup against President Zelaya in 2009, Honduras has been controlled by illegitimate right-wing governments that have committed grave human rights abuses against leaders of the popular movement and against the population in general.
We join our allies in Central American solidarity and migrant justice movements, along with human rights and popular movement organizations in Central America and Mexico to demand that the Trump Administration end its threats against nations that respect the rights of their citizens and others to migrate and to cease all actions that seek to repress or detain migrants and asylum seekers.
For ways to help and/or get involved:
- Are you a medical, mental health, legal professional or interpreter? Here's a call for volunteers from our allies at the Salvadoran Legal and Education Fund in Los Angeles who have been providing assistance on the ground.
- The New Sanctuary Coalition (NYC) has also issued a call for a U.S. solidarity caravan to provide legal assistance and accompaniment - find out more here.
- Our partners at the American Friends Service Committee are organizing a moral week of Action Dec 10-18 - find out more here and find (or plan!) an action near you.
CISPES is grateful to the authors of the following publications for their critical analyses of the root causes of displacement and migration. We invite you to learn more:
- Laura Carlsen discusses the realities on the ground in Honduras in Why the Refugee Caravan Is so Big - and Why it Matters in The Nation
- CISPES' own Larry Mosqueda wrote a great piece for CounterPunch about what CISPES' delegation learned on a fact-finding mission about migration and the impact of U.S.-funded border militarization in Central America
- Laura Weiss, Managing Editor at NACLA, writes about the 7,000-person caravan and root causes of the on-going Central American refugee crisis.
- The Guardian covers how climate change is driving this humanitarian crisis.
- On Medium, Mark Tseng-Putterman compiles a timeline of U.S. military and economic intervention in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala over the past century.
- In Counter Punch, Suyapa Portillo Villeda, Associate Professor at Pitzer College draws direct correlations between U.S. State Department support for the illegitimate coup government of Juan Orlando Hernandez as the main driving factor behind the exodus of thousands of Hondurans and violence against transgender people in the country. You can also listen to Radio Progreso’s interview with Professor Portillo here or read more (in Spanish) about why LGBT refugees have joined the caravan.
- Review Professor Leisy Abrego’s presentation on violence and the legacy of U.S. funded terrorism in Central America from the 2016 Rethinking Migration conference at UC Santa Cruz
For further analysis on the criminalization of migrants and refugees:
- Read Beyond Headlines: A Brief Analysis of the Criminalization of Refugee Families by the Human Rights Alliance for Refugee Children and Families
- Learn more about the courageous resistance of migrants and refugees being held in U.S. government funded detention centers, like the mothers who led hunger strikes at the Karnes Family detention center in 2015 to the Adelanto prison strike in 2017, adding a new chapter to a powerful history of freedom organizing within the racist U.S. prison system
- For a deeper global analysis about the connections between migration, labor, anti-black racism, prisons and state control, check out this lecture by Harsha Walia.La