“Migrants are not criminals, we are international workers!”
The migrant caravan and the fight to unite the international working class
23 October 2018
The massive caravan of immigrants that left San Pedro de Sula, Honduras for the United States on October 13 has attracted widespread attention and support among tens of millions of workers and impoverished people across Latin America. What began as a small group of several hundred immigrants traveling together for security and safety has expanded into a 7,000-person transcontinental political demonstration for equality and democratic rights.
Each day, millions tune in as Mexican, Central American and US Spanish-language news stations carry live reports from the caravan, tracking its path as it winds its way through southern Mexico, where local residents greet the migrants with delegations carrying food, water, clothing and other necessities.
The caravan participants view themselves not as downtrodden victims but as confident representatives of the working class. In the face of threats from US President Donald Trump and violent attacks by Mexican and Guatemalan police, their chants of “migrants are not criminals, we are international workers!” resonate in a region decimated by poverty, violence and corruption.
The conditions in Central America’s “Northern Triangle” from which these workers are fleeing are all, at their root, the product of the horrific crimes committed by American imperialism across the region for over a century.
In Guatemala, the US orchestrated a coup against democratically elected Jacobo Árbenz in 1954, installed the dictator Castillo Armas and set the stage for a 36-year civil war lasting from 1960 to 1996. In the early 1980s, the US-backed dictatorship of Efraín Ríos Montt carried out…