Every year, there are about 200,000 – 400,000 Central Americans from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador who cross Mexico in order to migrate to the United States. 25% of these are women. The paper focuses on the factors that caused the Migrant Caravan to happen and argues that it should be considered a “forced migration” of people. Furthermore, it considers the migration a resistance against three forms of violence from the state, the market, and the patriarchy.
The essays uses ethnographic data from the Caravan of Central American Mothers and research by Central American feminists. One strength of the paper is that it characterizes the different factors that led to the Migrant Caravan: violence from the state, the market, and the patriarchy. For example, for state violence, it argues that migrants experience extortion from public officials such as the police or are victimized by the criminal networks that are administered and protected by the state. As for problems with the market and the patriarchy, migrants are affected by the violence stemming from the neoliberal market that affected all areas of their daily lives and allowed for the use of violence against women (p.3). In particular, women migrate not for leisure but for survival, in order to rescue their daughters and mothers from the violence in Central America. They seek to migrate in order to gain a life of dignity.
Another strength is that it continues to break down and expound on these factors cohesively: first, the neoliberalization process of the region, second, a reflection on feminicidal violence, and third, delving into the violence that comes from the market and femicide violence from necropolitical violence.
One weakness of the paper is that it does not discuss much the history of women’s rights in Central America and why women experience and disparity in rights.
According to her website biography, the author, Amarela Valera Huerta is a PhD in Sociology from the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona (Autonomous University of Barcelona) with a specialty in migration from the Pontificia de Comillas University in Madrid and a degree in Journalism and Coommunication Sciences from Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (Authonomous University of Mexico). Furthermore, she is a member of the National System of Researchers in Mexico. She has worked extensively in media as a journalist and producer of radio and television in the news field in Mexico and as a correspondent abroad. Her academic work focuses on migration, social movements, interculturality, and communication. Moreover, she is the author of the book “For the Right to Remain and to Belong, a Sociology of the Struggle of Migrants” (Traffickers of Dreams, Madrid, 2013) and wrote “Defying Borders: Control of Mobility and Migratory Experiences in the Capltalist Context (Frontera Press Oaxaca, 2013) with Alejandra Aquino and Fred Decosse. Lastly, she has published several academic articles in indexed journals and scientific disseminations. The intended audience for this are the people who are interested in migration studies and human rights.
As we continue to discuss human rights, we also have to be aware that not all human rights/laws are created equally and there are populations that still fall through the cracks. This is where abuse happens. This paper is important because it tackles the severe importance of writing laws that specifically protect women, especially in places like Central America where violence against women is rampant.
“Migrantólogos.” Amarela Varela Huerta. Accessed January 24, 2019. http://www.migrantologos.mx/es/integrantes/13-amarela-varela-huerta.