OPINION: Resources are the forces driving migration from Mexico and Central America
Ariadna Estévez, a Professor at the Center for Research on North America, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), writes on theconversation.com that fracking, mining, and other resource exploitation are the forces driving migration in Mexico and Central America.
Gang violence is forcing people to flee Central America and Mexico, heading north to the United States in record numbers. Right?
That’s the standard narrative: organised crime and drug trafficking have given Central America’s “Northern Triangle” (El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras) the highest homicide rates on earth, sending scared citizens packing.
Indeed, Honduras ranks second, behind Syria, among the world’s most dangerous countries, followed by El Salvador (6th), Guatemala (11th) and Mexico (23rd). And San Pedro Sula, in Honduras, has the highest homicide rate on the planet.
But this common received wisdom about violence in Central America and Mexico overlooks two facts.
Both areas are rich in natural resources, including fine woods (such as mahogany) and metals (such as iron, lead, gold, nickel, zinc and silver). And not all the violence plaguing the region is gang-related; it also encompassses feminicide, the killing of environmental activists and political murders and forced disappearances.
My argument is that criminal violence, while potent, is just part of a dangerous cocktail that serves to “cleanse” places where local communities are defending their home territory.
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(The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The Yucatan Times.)