Things That Matter

Central Americans Flee Their Countries Because Of Violence But Also Because They Have No Water

The migration from Central America to the North isn’t as simple as people seeking out the American Dream. That is a beautiful fantasy, after all, but it’s not the whole truth. The reason people from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala are leaving their country is because of the violence, and it’s also about so much more. It’s a matter of life and death. While murderers are responsible for countless senseless deaths, others are fleeing because of limited resources, and lack of necessary essentials.

Some Salvadorans, especially from poor communities, are fleeing their country because there’s a significant water shortage.

Credit: @m_painter / Twitter

The water crisis in El Salvador isn’t something that just happened overnight. Researchers and organizations have been warning about this catastrophe in El Salvador for decades. The Salvadoran Humanitarian Aid, Research and Education Foundation (SHARE) group documented back in 2007 that impoverished communities demanded water rights in their areas. Most, if not all, of the main water, was going to private companies and being used by the top of society. The most impoverished people in El Salvador, which is a significant group, were being left with nothing. Now, a new study shows that there’s a deadline to the last drop. 

New research shows that the entire country of El Salvador will be unhabitable in 80 years if the water crisis is not rectified.

Credit: @nicadispatch / Twitter

The Defensa de Los Derechos Humanos (PDDH) released a study that showed the dire numbers which led to the government of El Salvador to declare a national emergency.    

“According to the scientific analyzes carried out by different international organizations and analyzed in the present study, if we continue in this logic of deterioration, degradation of water goods in El Salvador, in 80 years life will be unfeasible in the country,” David Morales, head of the PDDH, said, according to EFE. 

The water crisis seems to be the result of two factors: climate change and the privatization of water. 

Credit: @brockaletti / Twitter

The National Geographic reports that after two major natural disasters, El Salvador struggled to recover. In 2014, the country suffered an exceptional drought which left “96,000 Salvadoran families without adequate food,” and millions more going hungry. The following year, El Niño brought even more dry weather. 

“If we want to confront climate change, we first need to have strong governance,” Helga Cuéllar-Marchelli, director of the department of social studies at the Salvadoran Foundation for Economic and Social Development (FUSADES) told the National Geographic. “We need a joint effort from the central government, municipal governments, civil society, [and] the business sector. If there is no legal framework, it will be very difficult to coordinate efforts.”

The water crisis is forcing members of poor communities to walk for miles to get water from wells only to find there might not be any there for them.

Credit: @ProfRPalacios / Twitter

The “natural” water that is available for poor people isn’t safe to use because it’s contaminated, but because they have no other choice, they use it anyway. 

The publication reports that sewer water that carries intense contamination levels goes straight into natural water, including streams and rivers. It is this water that people use to drink, wash their clothes and bathe. More than 90 percent of this natural water is toxic, and an estimated 6.4 million people are using this contaminated water. 

Early this year, people from El Salvador marched for water rights and people on social media used the hashtag #NoAlaPrivatizacionDelAgua.

Credit: @danalvarenga / Twitter

The protest, led by students, feminists, and advocates of water rights, were also met with pushback from police forces. 

The World Bank reports that local farmers and people trying to survive with their own crops are the ones that are facing this major crisis. Salvadorans aren’t the only ones affected either, but neighboring countries as well. 

“More than half a million families are suffering from what experts call ‘food insecurity,’ – in other words, the lack of food – due to agricultural and livestock losses. According to estimates by Central American governments, Oxfam and other international aid agencies, 236,000 families in Guatemala, 120,000 in Honduras, 100,000 in Nicaragua and 96,000 in El Salvador are already facing this situation.”

Jess Ofelia Alvarenga, an independent reporter, documented how her family, is dealing with the water crisis in El Salvador.

This summer she filmed the struggle her uncle faces with the lack of water. She says he can no longer harvest rice or watermelons. It is this lack of water that is forcing thousands to move to El Salvador’s metropolitan areas, which already has a scarcity of water for the low-income, or flee the country altogether. 

READ: El Salvador’s New President Represents A Change In The Country’s Political System

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Honduran Woman Gave Birth On Bridge Between U.S. And Mexico Border But What Will Happen To Them Next?

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Honduran Woman Gave Birth On Bridge Between U.S. And Mexico Border But What Will Happen To Them Next?

Julio César Aguilar / Getty Images

As the number of parents and children crossing the border continues to increase, driven by violence and poverty in Central America, many are growing desperate while being forced to wait in migrant camps in Mexico. While crossings have not reached the levels seen in previous years, facilities that hold migrants are approaching capacity, which has been reduced because of the coronavirus pandemic.

This is forcing many to check the status of their claims by crossing into the U.S. to speak to border agents. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that more and more women are being forced to give birth in less than ideal situations – putting at risk both the lives of the mother and child.

A migrant woman gave birth on a bridge between U.S.-Mexico border.

According to Mexican border authorities, a Honduran woman gave birth on the Mexican side of the border bridge between Matamoros, Mexico and Brownsville, Texas. The woman was apparently trying to reach the U.S. side, but felt unsteady when she got there and was helped by pedestrians on the Mexican side waiting to cross.

Mexico’s National Immigration Institute said the birth occurred Saturday afternoon on the Ignacio Zaragoza border bridge, also known as “Los Tomates.” It said authorities received an alert from U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials regarding “a woman trying to enter the country improperly.”

It said the woman was taken to a hospital in Matamoros, where she was given free care. Her child will have the right to Mexican citizenship.

Hernández is hardly the first woman to give birth while hoping to cross into the U.S.

Just last month, a woman gave birth along the U.S. side of the Rio Grande. She had just crossed the river and her smugglers were yelling at her to keep moving as U.S. Border Patrol agents arrived. But she couldn’t continue, fell to the ground, and began to give birth.

The mother and her her daughter are safe and in good health. “They treated me well, thank God,” said the woman, who didn’t want her name used because she fears retribution if she’s forced to leave the country, in an interview with ABC News.

“There’s so many women in great danger,” Sister Norma Pimentel, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, told ABC News. “They must really think before they do what they do and risk the life of their unborn child.”

Like so many other women, Hernández was waiting in Mexico under Trump’s cruel immigration policies.

Hernández was reportedly among about 800 migrants sheltering in an improvised riverside camp while awaiting U.S. hearings on their claims for asylum or visas. Other migrants are waiting in Matamoros, but have rented rooms.

Thousands of other migrants are waiting in other Mexican border cities for a chance to enter the U.S. — some for years. The Trump administration has turned away tens of thousands at legal border crossings, first citing a shortage of space and then telling people to wait for court dates under its “Remain in Mexico” policy.

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Cuban Asylum Seekers Stranded In Mexico Are Upset That Cuban-Americans Overwhelmingly Voted For Trump in Florida

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Cuban Asylum Seekers Stranded In Mexico Are Upset That Cuban-Americans Overwhelmingly Voted For Trump in Florida

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Cuban migrants who are stranded in Mexico are reportedly upset that Cuban-Americans in Florida overwhelmingly voted for Trump, according to reports. 

Reuters interviewed several Cuban migrants who are stuck in Mexico due to the Trump administration’s hardline immigration policies.

Many of the Cuban migrants were planning on claiming asylum in the United States due to the Trump administration’s hardline immigration policies, they are forced to wait out the process in Mexico. Some have been there for months. 

Although many of the Cubans in Mexico understand Trump’s appeal to Cuban-Americans (i.e. anti-socialist, pro-capitalism), they nonetheless wish that their compatriots would look at the bigger picture when it comes to immigration reform. “They’re only thinking about the benefits for themselves if Trump wins, and nothing else,” said one Cuban asylum seeker, a doctor named Dairon Elisondo, to Reuters.

According to NBC News, 55% of Cuban-Americans in Florida cast their vote for incumbent Donald Trump as president.

They effectively helping the state–which was considered a potential swing state–turn red. One asylum-seeker whom Reuters interviewed claimed that he was betrayed by his own family member when his brother-in-law in Florida voted for Donald Trump.

“Imagine it! I’m a part of his family!” said Jose Manuel Maranillo. “I feel terrible he voted for Trump because we’re stuck here in Juarez hoping for Biden to win so he can help us and Latinos in the United States too.”

One of the Cuban asylum-seekers, Yuri Gonzalez, pointed out that Cubans who arrived in the United States before Trump was elected had a different experience when it came to seeking asylum. “Many of them [in Florida] arrived to the United States on planes with visas,” said Gonzalez. “They didn’t cross borders or endure any of the difficult experiences I’ve had to.”

Reuters asked Denise Galvez, a Cuban-American living in Florida who co-founded the group Latinas for Trump, what she thought of the Cuban migrants in Mexico who are disappointed in Florida going red.

Galvez said that immigration was “far from a top voting issue” for her and many other Cuban-Americans.

Another Cuban-American residing in Florida, Maria Romero, said she supports Trump for his hardline stance against Havana, but she also sympathizes with the asylum-seekers stuck in limbo. “I’m Cuban, so I don’t want [Trump] to be kicking other Cubans in the head,” she said. But unfortunately, that appears to be exactly what he’s doing.

Since President Trump was elected to office in 2016, the policies towards asylum seekers has become incredibly strict, even enacting an “asylum ban” in 2018. The ban was later struck down by an appeals court in 2020. But still, seeking asylum in the U.S. as a migrant is harder than ever.

When former Vice President Joe Biden was officially projected to be the next President of the United States on Saturday, the Cuban asylum-seekers stuck in Mexico were reportedly overjoyed. Cheers and chanting erupted in the refugee camp when the news was announced. The words “Bye Trump” were spelled out in balloon letters.

“We’re all going to celebrate today! Everyone is so happy,” Elisondo told Reuters after the announcement. “After so much darkness the light may arrive.”

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