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

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

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

by Aviva Chomsky 

Restores the region’s fraught history of repression and resistance to popular consciousness and connects the United States’ interventions and influence to the influx of refugees seeking asylum today.

At the center of the current immigration debate are migrants from Central America fleeing poverty, corruption, and violence in search of asylum in the United States. In Central America’s Forgotten History, Aviva Chomsky answers the urgent question How did we get here? She outlines how we often fail to remember the circumstances and ongoing effects of Central America’s historical political strife, which is a direct result of colonial and neocolonial development policies and the cultures of violence and forgetting needed to implement them.

Chomsky expertly recounts Central Americans’ valiant struggles for social and economic justice to restore these vivid and gripping events to popular consciousness. She traces the roots of displacement and migration in Central America to the Spanish conquest and brings us to the present day, where she concludes that the more immediate roots of migration from the three Northern Triangle countries (El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras) lie in the wars and in the US interventions of the 1980s and the peace accords of the 1990s that set the stage for neoliberalism in Central America.

Chomsky also examines how and why histories and memories are suppressed, and the impact of losing historical memory. Only by erasing history can we claim that Central American countries created their own poverty and violence, while the United States’ enjoyment and profit from their bananas, coffee, vegetables, clothing, and export of arms are simply unrelated curiosities.

Central America’s Forgotten History shows that if we want to create a more just world, we need to acknowledge the many layers of complicity and forgetting that underlie today’s inequalities.

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