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US's denial of Central America's crisis will backfire

16 39 0

Exactly one year ago, 160 men, women and children set off from San Pedro Sula in Honduras, in the first widely televised Central American human caravan. By the time the migrants reached the border of Guatemala and Mexico, their numbers had swelled to 7,000. The optics of their journey drastically changed US policy and suffocated political appetite to help the hundreds of thousands fleeing gang warfare, trafficking and natural disasters across the region.

I travelled the migrant route from El Salvador to Mexico last month, following in the footsteps of these families to better understand what drives so many to flee. What I learned on this journey should serve as a wake-up call to US policymakers about the crisis deepening in their own neighbourhood.

Most of the women, men and children I met in El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico undertook the desperate flight because they feared for their lives, not because they wanted American jobs or to live the "American dream". The mothers and fathers I spoke to recounted stories similar in horror to the warzones I know from the Middle East and Africa.

In Chiapas, Mexico, I met a single mother who fled Honduras with her 11-year-old son after an armed gang........

© Al Jazeera