The dark triangle

Fred Ramos

2014 - Ongoing

El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras -countries known as the northern triangle of Central America- account for some of the most consequential migration streams in the Western Hemisphere. They are some of the largest contributors to Latino migration in the United States. Fleeing extreme violence, government absence, corruption, climate change and poverty and I learned that the people leave for one reason, or all the reason at once.

The desperation of the Central Americans has pushed them to organize caravans of thousands of people, such as the one that was organized on October 5, 2018 in Honduras, where through a Facebook post the Hondurans were invited to take part in a “grand march” of migrants. A week later, around 1,000 Hondurans showed up at a bus terminal in San Pedro Sula. Within a couple of weeks, their numbers would balloon to nearly 8,000, as migrants from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras abandoned their homes in hopes of reaching the U.S. Their extraordinary journey inspired international news coverage. But it would also come to mark a turning point: a before and after in international migratory patterns and immigration policies.

In the year since the caravan, President Trump has pushed through a series of immigration policies that have ended access to the U.S. asylum system for hundreds of thousands of migrants. Many are now stranded in Mexico, where they are being targeted by cartels for kidnapping and extortion. Recent migration agreements between the U.S. and Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador seem destined to ensure that Central American asylum seekers will soon be returned to the very region they are fleeing. The Trump administration characterizes these countries as safe havens, despite being among the world’s poorest and most violent.

In an era where refugees are rebuffed and criminalized, I believe it’s necessary to illuminate the factors driving migration from Central America.

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  • Relatives and friends of Sgt. Pablo Cándido Vega at the cemetery in Panchimalco, El Salvador, in April 2015. Fred Ramos

  • A police officer guards the Guatemalan Parliament during a protest against government corruption in Guatemala City, September 2017. Fred Ramos

  • The funeral of Sgt. Pablo Cándido Vega in Panchimalco, El Salvador, April 2015. Fred Ramos

  • A 15-year-old gang member with a gun in a house in La Paz, El Salvador, July 2016. Fred Ramos

  • Central American migrants cross the Suchiate River between Guatemala and Mexico, October 2018. Fred Ramos

  • A U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent shines a light on Honduran migrants who were trying to cross the border from Mexico, November 2018. Fred Ramos

  • Cutting sugarcane in Aguilares, El Salvador, March 2015. Fred Ramos

  • El Faraon, a member of the 18th Street gang, after being shot by another gang member. He died in a hospital eight hours later. La Paz, El Salvador, September 2014. Fred Ramos

  • Central American migrants in a truck on its way to Tecún Umán, Guatemala, which borders the Mexican state of Chiapas, October 2018. Fred Ramos

  • A Honduran child plays near train tracks in Arriaga, Chiapas, in southern Mexico, October 2018. Fred Ramos

  • Alan García reveals a bullet scar on his back in July 2017. He was shot by the military during a protest against a hydroelectric project in Rió Blanco, Intibuca, Honduras. August 2016. Fred Ramos

  • A river in San José, La Paz, Honduras, was diverted to a hydroelectric plant, leaving the surrounding communities without water. August 2016. Fred Ramos

  • Demonstrators make gasoline bombs while protesting the re-election of President Juan Orlando Hernández in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, December 2017. Fred Ramos

  • Central American migrants in Oaxaca, México, on a trailer heading to the United States, October 2018. Fred Ramos

  • Members of the migrant caravan in a shelter in Juchitan, Oaxaca, Mexico, October 2018. Fred Ramos

  • Wedding of Gladis Rash, 18, and Alexander Caal, 22, in Las Muñecas village, Guatemala. June 2019. Fred Ramos

  • Flowers in Lempa river, in honor to the victims of the Lempa Masacre one of countless mass killings during the Salvadoran armed conflict in 1981. For this days is still in the impunity. The salvadorean civil war was a importa factor to push the migration to US in the 80´s and 90´s. April 2019. Fred Ramos

  • A couple in the border of Guatemala and Mexico in June 2019. Fred Ramos

  • Nicole Cruz and David García look to the American side of the border with their 2-year-old son, Mateo, in Tijuana, Mexico, in November 2018. They fled Honduras because of threats from the 18th Street gang. November 2018. Fred Ramos