1960s-1990s: Central American Civil Wars and U.S. intervention

Immigration History 101
● 1960s-1990s: Central American Civil Wars and U.S. intervention
o As the U.S. civil rights movement continues, mass uprisings take place in Nicaragua, Guatemala, and El Salvador. These countries had experienced decades of U.S. backed coup d’etats and dictatorships to protect U.S. interest, which caused extreme repression and poverty.
o 1979: In Nicaragua, the Sandinistas (FSLN) overthrow the Somoza dictatorship, which was supported by the U.S. government. The U.S. quickly backs and funds the Contras, a militia to take power back from the Sandinistas.
o These uprisings are seen as a “communist threat” and a threat to U.S. interest in the region. During these years, U.S. funds, trains, and arms military in these countries to wage civil war and silence the masses.
o The 1980s were the height of the civil wars in El Salvador and Guatemala, which caused mass migration to the United States.

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Immigrant spotlight:
Mario Bencastro (born 1949) is a Salvadoran novelist and painter who has also written both plays and short stories that have been published in Spanish and English.[1][2]

Mario Bencastro was born in Ahuachapán, El Salvador. For over 20 years he resided in Northern Virginia, United States near Washington DC, but in recent years he has moved to Port Saint Lucie, Florida. His works primarily concern the Salvadoran Civil War and its aftermath, including the Salvadoran Diaspora.

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Cartoon by: Dario Castillejos, Diario La Crisis, via caglecartoons.com

**Program created (in part) by Ana Rodriguez-BorderLinks’ (Tucson AZ)**

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