Climate change and migration (April 8, 2019)
An under analyzed factor driving migration from Central America to the U.S. is climate change, according to several recent pieces. Gang violence and government corruption are major factors pushing people from Central America's northern triangle to seek asylum in other countries, but they are also impacted by environmental degradation and the impacts of climate change, writes Laura Markham in the Guardian.
Storms, floods, and droughts are increasing in the region, which means rainfall will be lacking in areas that need it, and flooding will occur elsewhere. Arid regions will continue to encroach on Guatemalan agricultural areas, and El Salvador is projected to lose 10-28% of its coastline before the end of the century. "How will all those people survive, and where will they go?," she asks.
A spike in immigration to the U.S. from Guatemala -- both families and unaccompanied minors -- is related to a series of climate change related phenomena that have affected the country's rural, mostly indigenous communities, writes Jonathan Blitzer in the New Yorker.
Rising temperatures and declining rainfall are killing crops and jeopardizing farmers’ survival in rural Honduras and pushing families to move to urban areas or out of the country, reports PBS. (SeeFriday's briefs.)
Last year Markham reported for Sierra on how a drought in Central America’s Dry Corridor—a swath of historically arid land that runs through Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and El Salvador— decimated 80 percent of the region’s maize and bean crops, and pushed the migrant caravan trend. (See below.)
More from Migration
Human smuggling from Central America to the U.S. is a booming business writes Sarah Kinosian for the Guardian.
U.S. President Donald Trump continued to argue about the dangers immigration poses to the country, at a roundtable event with border agents and local officials in the border city of Calexio (extremely interconnected with the Mexican city of Mexicali), he said the United States should not allow any more migrants to enter the country because they are overwhelming the immigration system and “our country is full.” (Washington Post)
Though Trump backed off last week from a threat to immediately shut down the border with Mexico (see Friday's briefs) -- it has effectively been closed by U.S. staffing shortages over the past week, reports the New York Times.
U.S. of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen -- infamous for her role enforcing last year's migrant family separation policy - resigned yesterday. She was edged out by migration hardliners who believed her border policies to be insufficiently tough, reports CNN. The New York Times reports that Trump demanded her resignation after she pushed back against his recent calls to close ports of entry and stop accepting asylum seekers.
Lest we forget her role in family separation: "Long after we have forgotten how to spell her name, there will be children suffering from the permanent separation from their parents because Nielsen was too incompetent and inhuman to track them or their parents," writes Richard Wolffe in a Guardian opinion piece.
Among the many inconsistencies with the U.S.'s immigration policies: the federal government wants to increase visas for temporary foreign workers, even as it contemplates shutting down the border with Mexico, where most of those workers come from, reports theNew York Times.
The flow of Central American migrant caravans through Mexico has put the country's government under increasing pressure from citizens and the U.S. government, reports the Washington Post.
Migrants from Honduras are fleeing a society controlled by criminals -- women are particularly vulnerable to rampant gender violence and "the government is doing virtually nothing to protect them and is sometimes itself the predator," argues Sonia Nazario in the New York Times' Sunday Review.
Nicaragua's government released another 50 political prisoners on Friday -- bringing the total releases up to about 200. Most were released to house arrest, reports the Associated Press.
Confidencial reports on the abuses faced by political prisoners in Nicaragua's repression, ranging from rotten food, to abuse of authority, and regular beatings. Prisoners were isolated and refused medical treatment.
Guatemalan lawmakers backed off an amnesty bill for human rights violations committed during the country's civil war -- but the legislation has not been fully withdrawn and could be pushed through with little warning, writes Frida Ghitis in the Washington Post.
Thousands of protesters demanded Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández's resignation on Friday, part of the Movimiento de Indignados. (AFP)
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said the government will conduct a census to determine which teachers are working and purge the rest from the payroll, reports theAssociated Press.
NAFTA overhauls and AMLO's pro-worker stance could lead to a union revolution in Mexico, reports The New Republic.
Netflix's newly released "Tijuana" series offers an amazing dramatization of the dangers faced by Mexico's journalists. (Animal Político)
Thousands of Venezuelans protested against the Maduro government on Saturday, and in support of National Assembly leader and presidential challenger Juan Guaidó, reportsReuters.
The United States targeted oil shipments from Venezuela to Cuba in its latest round of sanctions on Friday. (Reuters)
Hundreds of Cubans marched against animal mistreatment on Sunday, a very rare spontaneous public demonstration, reports EFE.
A fire that killed ten boys in Brazil last year exposed a player development industry that has spun out of control in the country that exposes young boys to abusive irregularities, reports the New York Times.
Las Bambas copper mine is expected to be up and running again, after an indigenous tribe ended a two month blockade of the road leading to the Chinese owned mine. (Reuters)
Amid mounting rumors that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is about to be kicked out of Ecuador's London embassy -- where he's been granted asylum for seven years -- theWashington Post gives a welcome review of how he got there and the twists the case has taken on over the years. (Ecuador denied on Friday that it would kick Assange out, reportedReuters.)
Did I miss something, get something wrong, or do you have a different take? Let me know ...