America’s Role in El Salvador’s Deterioration – The Atlantic

America’s Role in El Salvador’s Deterioration – The Atlantic

When Donald Trump said this month he would end temporary protected status for almost 200,000 Salvadorans, the number of immigrants standing to lose protections under this president approached the 1 million mark. This includes people, like those from El Salvador, that now stand to be deported to countries where their lives could be in danger. El Salvador has one of the world’s highest homicide rates—due in no small part to the policies of the country now trying to expel them.

Trump promised to end the protected status granted to Salvadorans in 2001 following a devastating earthquake. Then, a few days later, during a White House meeting on immigration policy, the president characterized places like El Salvador, along with Haiti, as “shithole” (or perhaps “shithouse”) countries. Unwilling to explicitly criticize the president for his intemperate remarks, Senator Marco Rubio expressed pity for the poor nation: “[T]he people of El Salvador and Haiti have suffered as the result of bad leaders, rampant crime and natural disasters.” Rubio omitted to note that one of the biggest disasters to befall El Salvador—one that created hundreds of thousands of refugees even before the post-earthquake wave—was man-made, with the United States, not nature, being a major force.


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It was a civil war of the 1980s, one that pitted leftist revolutionaries against the alliance of countries, oligarchs, and generals that had ruled the country for decades—with U.S. support—keeping peasants illiterate and impoverished. It was a bloody, brutal, and dirty war. More than 75,000 Salvadorans were killed in the fighting, most of them victims of the military and its death squads. Peasants were shot en masse, often while trying to flee. Student and union leaders had their thumbs tied behind their backs before being shot in the head, their bodies left on roadsides as a warning to others.

via America’s Role in El Salvador’s Deterioration – The Atlantic