Lawlessness and poverty drive the Middle American people away
Sunday, June 24, 2018
Thousands of Middle American families flee in desperation from violent gangs and poverty, but in the United States they no longer find security.
The night approached El Salvador’s capital, San Salvador and Ernesto Pena, waiting for a bus that never arrived.
Throughout the day he had delivered rice and oil to street vendors, but he had to get home before the curfew the criminal bands had introduced to the poor district where he lives.
For years, he and his wife have been dreaming of a safer future in the north, together with the eight-year-old son.
The scary photos from the United States last week, of children who were forced from the parents on the border, have been given the 30-year-old to reassess the plan.
“We have always planned to leave, but have not been able to scrape enough money,” says Pena, who looks nervous about watching watchmakers fear that band members will see that he is talking to a journalist.
Throughout Central America, the lawlessness is about to take over, and desperate parents see no way other than fleeing north with the children.
Most people who fly to the United States come from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
Rival gangs have made cities like San Salvador into pure war zones. The kill rate in El Salvador was higher in 2016 than in all countries with war, with the exception of Syria, according to a report from the Small Arms Survey.
The two biggest bands – MS-13 and Barrio 18 – have thousands of members fighting for territory and lucrative drugs trafficking.
The violence in El Salvador drove nearly 300,000 people last year, reports a report from Refugee Aid. Also from neighboring countries it was massive.
In Honduras, one of Latin America’s poorest and most violent countries, there are also criminal gangs and smuggling gangs that make the ground.
Guatemala is also ravaged by criminal gangs, and the country’s indigenous peoples are as marginalized and poor as before.
Flies from a death sentence
“This is no longer about migrants who chase on the American dream, it’s about escaping a death sentence,” said Sofia Martinez of the International Crisis Group.
President Donald Trump’s fierce line can help worsen the situation in Central America, says Martinez, who lives in Guatemala.
Earlier this year, Trump took residence permit from 257,000 Hondurans and Salvadorans, although some of them had lived in the United States for decades. Are they deported, they will face the miserable job market in a home country that is little prepared to receive them.
Was formed in Los Angeles
Most of the gangs currently in Central America, originated in rough neighborhoods in Los Angeles. When tens of thousands of Middle Americans were deported in the 1990s, few jobs were waiting. Many therefore continued the criminal activity.
“Initially, they only fought between themselves and beat each other with belts. Now they have firearms and bullets, “said Carmen Siguenza, 52. She sent both children to the United States when they were teenagers, fearing that they should end up in one of the gangs in El Salvador.
She and her husband have considered following, but this border control is now, it does not expire, she says.
“It’s the young bands going after, not us older,” she says.
Cecilia Tojin (18) and 250 others were brought this week home in a chartered flight from Arizona to Guatemala City. For her, the dream of the United States was broken after a two month long trip through Mexico.
The journey cost her about 65,000 kroner, money she borrowed from the parents, who pledged the house for her to afford to pay human traffickers.
– I am not afraid. I will try again, she tells about running tears.