show them to you. No wonder the age of historic advances in literacy and of real-time real-life digital communication is also when more humans are in migration than ever before.
But high ambition is, by itself, not enough to make a person or a family change countries. Usually, it takes a second spur – war, a natural disaster, or what is called in diplomatic law, “generalized violence,” to make large numbers of people flee.
UN, religious and secular advocates say those 2 words, “generalized violence” perfectly describe daily life in the so-called Northern Triangle of Central America, where the successors to the Los Angeles-based criminal gangs, Mara Salvatrucha and Mara 18 are flourishing. Honduras has by far the highest murder rate in the world, 20% higher than its nearest competitor, it’s next-door neighbor El Salvador, which ranks #2. Guatemala is also in the murder rate Top 10.
Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala are where a hugely disproportionate share of America’s unapproved immigrants come from. And to get here, they almost all travel through Mexico.
Which is where today’s story is taking place. Our guest, writer, photo-journalist and human rights hero Joseph Sorrentino has spent much of the past few years reporting on the migration from Central America to the US, for In These Tines, the SF Reporter, and ABQ Free Press and – I’m proud to say – on this program…
He says this is his last story…one last update on the who, what, when, where, and why of America’s direct confrontation with the global trend that may well define the 21st century…the unprecedented volume of humans in migration.
One final note: when President Obama publically re-focused Plan Merida, from interdicting guns crossing the border into Mexico, and drugs crossing the border into the United States to interdicting people, he apparently had a special target in mind…once he did not make public for 7 months. Here is a quote from his congratulations to Mexican President Pena Nieta for the “success” of La Programa Frontera Sur (Program for the Southern Border): “I very much appreciate Mexico’s efforts in addressing the unaccompanied children who we saw spiking during the summer,” said President Obama in January, 2015. “In part because of strong efforts by Mexico, including at it’s southern border, we’ve seen those numbers reduced to much more manageable levels.”
In other words, the secret message behind the Plan Merida revision was “Stop those kids.”
Joseph Sorrentino is an Albuquerque-based writer and photojournalist who has focused for the past several years on the migration of Central Americans to the United States, and what happens to them once they are employed, working on dairy farms or picking state’s iconic green chiles in New Mexico. He has published in In These Times, The ABQ Free Press and the Santa Fe Reporter.