Central America’s Forgotten History: Revolution, Violence, and the Roots of Migration

Aviva Chomsky. Beacon, $26.95 (296p) ISBN 978-0-8070-5648-6
Historian Chomsky (Undocumented: How Immigration Became Illegal) delivers a searing examination of how colonial oppression, Indigenous resistance, and political and economic turmoil have fueled migration from Central America to the U.S. She begins by sketching the Spanish conquests and colonial structures of the 17th and 18th centuries, then details how Central America’s “long and tortured relationship” with the U.S. has been characterized by repeated interventions, including the CIA-backed overthrow of Guatemala’s democratically elected president and institution of a military dictatorship in the 1950s. Chomsky also documents how the Reagan administration sought to suppress leftist uprisings in El Salvador and Guatemala and waged a “covert war” against Nicaragua’s Sandinista government in the ’80s, and examines how neoliberal economic policies lowered wages, weakened workplace and environmental regulations, and contributed to the rise of the drug trade and gang violence the’90s and 2000s. Delving into each country’s specific experiences, Chomsky places recent migrant caravans from Central America in their historical context, and discusses how the act of remembering can reframe the immigration debate in the U.S. Though lay readers may find the deep dives into regional politics overwhelming, this is a persuasive and well-conceived reminder that the seeds of Central America’s crises were sown by foreign powers. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 02/22/2021
Release date: 04/20/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Book - 1 pages - 978-0-8070-5654-7
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