Running to Nowhere: The Central American Refugee Crisis
Central American migrants have been making the perilous journey through Central America and Mexico for decades. It is an old refugee story but in the current political climate it is not only ongoing but heightened by the mass deportations from the United States. Yet the numbers of people making this journey has not dwindled.
The journey across borders is made by various means, including on a giant freight train called “La Bestia” (the beast). The environmental hazards of dehydration, food and water contamination, sunburn and disease, as well as the physical dangers of the trains, all come second to the risk of theft, beatings, rape, torture, violence, kidnapping, mutilation, and murder. Why would anyone risk such dangers? In short: their own countries are burdened with more violence and poverty than they risk trying to get to the United States.
The ‘Mara’ gangs originated on the streets of Los Angeles in the 1980s. Having fled from civil wars in Honduras and El Salvador, many joined either the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) or Calle 18 (M18) street gangs. In the 90s, the US government began deporting gang members back to their respective countries.
Now, 20 years later, these relocated ‘Maras’ are running poverty-stricken Honduras and El Salvador into even more desperate circumstances. Hundreds of thousands of people have fled their homes in Central America with the hopes for a better and safer life risking their lives again to get to somewhere else often, especially now, being separated from their children and deported back to from where they came.
While covered before in parts, this story is rather the sum of its parts, radiating impact on several countries, crossing many borders. There is a great dealof coverage on the border issues however there is little enquiry into why these people are fleeing to the United States to begin with. Documenting the issues that these people face allows a very complicated issue to be humanized by the individuals and their stories.
This series is ongoing and has been photographed throughout 2015 to 2018 in several locations throughout Honduras, Mexico and Texas.
It is currently being exhibited in Museum of Art and History in Guanajuato, Mexico until the end of January 2020.
Christina Simons-Running to Nowhere : The Central American Refugee Crisis in Partnership with MSF
Running to Nowhere : The Central American Refugee Crisis in Partnership with MSF