“Donald Trump will not stop me from getting to the U.S.,” said Juan, a 35-year-old migrant from Nicaragua, referring to the Republican president-elect who will govern that country as of Jan. 20.
The seventh consecutive nomination of Daniel Ortega as the governing party’s candidate to the presidency in Nicaragua, and the withdrawal from the race of a large part of the opposition, alleging lack of guarantees for genuine elections, has brought about the country’s worst political crisis since the end of the civil war in 1990.
For decades, the countries of Central America have borne the heavy impact of extreme climate phenomena like hurricanes and severe drought. Now, six of them are demanding that the entire planet recognise their climate vulnerability.
Central America’s toolbox to pull 23 million people – almost half of the population – out of poverty must include three indispensable tools: universal access to water, a sustainable power supply, and adaptation to climate change.
Twenty-eight years ago this month, an indigenous woman stood in the plaza in Guatemala City, watching as the presidents of Central America walked out into the street after signing the Peace Accords that would end the civil wars in our region. When I reached her, she took both my hands in hers and said, “Thank you, Mr. President, for my child who is in the mountains fighting, and for the child I carry in my womb.”
Central America, a place of abundant wind and sunshine, is still chained to thermal power and large-scale hydroelectricity and has failed to include local communities in clean, environmentally-friendly and less invasive projects.
Nicaragua, the Central American country with the most abundant water sources, and where water – “agua” in Spanish – is even part of its name, is suffering one of its worst water crises in half a century, fuelled by climate change, deforestation and erosion.
Despite the aggression and abuse she has suffered at the University of El Salvador because she is a trans woman, Daniela Alfaro is determined to graduate with a degree in health education.
Worried about the effects of global warming on agriculture, water and food security in their communities, social organisations in Central America are demanding that their governments put a priority on these issues in the COP20 climate summit.
“Survival migration” is not a reality show, but an accurate description of human mobility fuelled by desperation and fear. How despairing are these migrant contingents? Look at the figures of Central American children travelling alone, which are growing.
When U.S lawmakers departed Washington for a month-long recess, they left behind a simmering debate over what to do about the tens of thousands of Central American children and adults that continue to cross the U.S. southern border.
The migration crisis involving thousands of Central American children detained in the United States represents the loss of a generation of young people fleeing poverty, violence and insecurity in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, the countries of the Northern Triangle of Central America where violence is rife.
In recent months, an unprecedented surge of refugee women and children has been traveling alone to the United States to seek protection at our southern border.
In early May, the Irapuato Migrants’ House, in the centre-west Mexican state of Guanajuato, took in a group of 152 Garifuna Afro-Caribbean people from Honduras. Sixty of them were children.
Olga Vargas, a breast cancer survivor, is back in the countryside, working in a forestry programme in the north of Costa Rica aimed at empowering women while at the same time mitigating the effects of climate change.