Pax Christi panel highlights role of US intervention in creating Central American crises

A Honduran migrant carries her baby into Penitas, Texas, after crossing the Rio Grande River from Mexico March 10. (CNS/Adrees Latif, Reuters)

A Honduran migrant carries her baby into Penitas, Texas, after crossing the Rio Grande River from Mexico March 10. (CNS/Adrees Latif, Reuters)

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At a March 8 online panel hosted by Pax Christi for International Women's Day, speakers representing Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua discussed the role of U.S. intervention in creating political and economic crises in Central America, emphasizing the impact of these crises on women.

Before the discussion began, Code Pink, a nonprofit dedicated to peace activism, premiered a video featuring interviews with three women who had been forced to leave their homes in Central America.

After the video, three activists, Sonia Umanzor of El Salvador; Carla Garcia of Honduras (who lives in New York); and Yolanda Areas Blas of Nicaragua, spoke about the impact of U.S. intervention in their countries.

"We always are advocating for the removal of U.S. support for the Honduran regime," said Garcia, noting support for the Berta Caceres Human Rights in Honduras Act, introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2019, which would demand an investigation of the killing of Caceres, an Indigenous land rights activist, and other activists, by denying U.S. aid to the Honduran military and police.

Areas Blas pointed to the civil unrest in Nicaragua in 2018 as evidence of the U.S. government's desire to continue exerting influence there. 

"The clear objective is to subject not only the people of Nicaragua but all of the peoples of all the world to the will of the United States," she said. "Nicaragua is committed to sticking with this government and not switching to a neoliberal government in these next elections but staying committed to a government for the many."

Umanzor stressed the direness of the current political situation in her country.

"I just want to say how serious the situation is right now," she said. "El Salvador is sliding back to the 1980s, when our Msgr. [Óscar] Romero was assassinated." 

"We're hoping that with President Biden we're able to have people in El Salvador representing the United States who can at least curb the politics of this president," Umanzor said.

All three speakers, as well as the panel's host Roxana Bendezú, spoke in Spanish with English interpretation. A video of the entire event is available on Pax Christi's Facebook page.

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