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Fleeing a hell the US helped create: why Central Americans journey north
More often US intervention in the affairs of these small and weak states has been deliberate, motivated by profit or ideology or both.
“The destabilisation in the 1980s – which was very much part of the US cold war effort – was incredibly important in creating the kind of political and economic conditions that exist in those countries today,” said Christy Thornton, a sociologist focused on Latin America at Johns Hopkins University.
Guatemala’s long civil war can in turn be traced back to a 1954 coup against a democratically elected president, Jacobo Árbenz, which was backed by the US. Washington backed the Guatemalan military, which was responsible for genocide against the native population. “The point was to root out anything that looked like communist subversion, but it was really a scorched earth policy against the indigenous people,” Thornton said. The issue of impunity for violence remains central to Guatemala’s chronic problems. Jimmy Morales, a former comedian and the country’s president since 2016, has announced he is going to close down the UN-backed International Committee against Impunity in Guatemala (Cicig).
El Salvador is also trapped in a cycle of violence that can be traced back to a civil conflict in which the US was a protagonist, training and funding rightwing death squads in the name of fighting communism. “The civil war really destroyed the economic base of the country and any sense of a functioning democracy,” said Thornton. “It left a massively militarised society.” Gangs have filled much of the space occupied by civil society in healthier societies, but they too are largely a US import. The MS-13 gang, frequently referred to by Donald Trump in justification of his hardline immigration policies, was formed in Los Angeles, and introduced into El Salvador when its members were deported – often to a country they barely knew.
When Manuel Zelaya, Honduras’s reformist president, was seized by the country’s military in 2009, and flown out of the country to Costa Rica, still in his pyjamas, the Obama administration refused to call it a coup. Hillary Clinton, the secretary of state at the time, argued that to do so would have meant cutting aid at the expense of the Honduran poor.
Zelaya had been trying to resolve conflicts over land, that pitted local campesinos against agro-industry. After the coup, that conflict was militarised and more than a hundred campesinos were murdered. Organised crime spread through the country’s institutions and the murder rate soared. Within a year, Honduras was the most violent country in the world not actually at war. The current president, Juan Orlando Hernández, has further militarised the police force.
“These societies were poor and violent irrespective of when the United States became involved in a major way,” Cynthia Arnson, the director of the Latin American Programme at the Wilson Centre thinktank, said. But she added: “The US since the very early stages of the cold war has played a defining role in the evolution of state violence.”
Central  America  Americas  US  Intervention  Colonialism  Empire  Imperialism  Honduras  Guatemala  El  Salvador 
december 2018 by dbourn
Cybernetic Revolutionaries | The MIT Press
A historical study of Chile's twin experiments with cybernetics and socialism, and what they tell us about the relationship of technology and politics.
In Cybernetic Revolutionaries, Eden Medina tells the history of two intersecting utopian visions, one political and one technological. The first was Chile's experiment with peaceful socialist change under Salvador Allende; the second was the simultaneous attempt to build a computer system that would manage Chile's economy. Neither vision was fully realized—Allende's government ended with a violent military coup; the system, known as Project Cybersyn, was never completely implemented—but they hold lessons for today about the relationship between technology and politics.Drawing on extensive archival material and interviews, Medina examines the cybernetic system envisioned by the Chilean government—which was to feature holistic system design, decentralized management, human-computer interaction, a national telex network, near real-time control of the growing industrial sector, and modeling the behavior of dynamic systems. She also describes, and documents with photographs, the network's Star Trek-like operations room, which featured swivel chairs with armrest control panels, a wall of screens displaying data, and flashing red lights to indicate economic emergencies.Studying project Cybersyn today helps us understand not only the technological ambitions of a government in the midst of political change but also the limitations of the Chilean revolution. This history further shows how human attempts to combine the political and the technological with the goal of creating a more just society can open new technological, intellectual, and political possibilities. Technologies, Medina writes, are historical texts; when we read them we are reading history.
Chile  Eden  Medina  Salvador  Allende  Socialism  book  politics  technology 
december 2018 by mAAdhaTTah
Milano è la capitale europea delle gang salvadoregne
La Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) e il Barrio 18 (dall’inglese 18th street gang) sono nati nelle strade di Los Angeles, in California. Lì è nato anche il loro profondo odio reciproco. I primi mareros espulsi dagli Stati Uniti arrivarono in America Centrale verso la fine degli anni ottanta. Ma fu solo negli anni novanta, quando Washington decise di fare delle espulsioni un pilastro della sua politica di sicurezza nazionale, che le gang di Los Angeles diventarono un fenomeno importante in Salvador.
A Milano ci sono molti salvadoregni. Migliaia. Decine di migliaia. Secondo il ministero degli esteri del Salvador, quella in Italia è la comunità di salvadoregni più numerosa fuori del continente americano. Gli immigrati si concentrano nell’area metropolitana di Milano, che con più di cinque milioni di abitanti è il principale insediamento umano del paese e uno dei più importanti d’Europa.
Milano  Italy  Salvadorans  El  Salvador  Immigrants  Refugees  Immigration  South  America  Latinos  Los  Angeles  CA 
december 2017 by dbourn
New post ( took a tour in and recorded his favorite places. The ...) has been published on B ...…
Salvador  from twitter
november 2017 by wotek

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