Featured Stories – Honduras – Root Causes of Migration

In 2017 and 2018, many thousands of people from Central America joined “migrant caravans” and headed en-masse towards the southern border of the US.  The sheer number of people was alarming to many and caught the attention of the world.  Most caravans originated in Honduras, and a large percentage of those traveling north were Hondurans, although many joined from El Salvador and Guatemala also.

In early 2019, a delegation of 75 interfaith leaders and social justice advocates traveled to Honduras with the specific purpose of better understanding the root causes of this mass migration.  The planning was coordinated between groups in the US and HN that had long standing ties.  Our hosts in HN had decades of human rights experience with the communities whose rights were being violated and had deep knowledge of the complex histories and current threats and dynamics.

At meetings with community groups and women’s groups in various regions of the country, our delegation always asked what we, as US citizens, could do to influence our country to act in ways that would be helpful to their situation.  The answers were always simple and unequivocal.  Make your government stop supporting coups (2009) and make your government stop funding the HN security forces.  This money does not provide security to Honduras communities and citizens.  It provides funding and training to security forces that protect the corporations and oligarchs that mine the natural resources that threaten the rivers, that grow Palm Oil that threatens the land, that attempt to build mega-dams and tourist destinations that will displace entire communities (many of them indigenous) that have inhabited the land for centuries.  At the same time that corporations and the elite are being protected with security funding from the US, the people of Honduras are the prey of gangs and victims of police and security force violence.  Women face the additional threat of domestic violence in an extremely patriarchal society.  All of this is met with near total impunity.