This is point number one made to me by a Guatemalan friend who wishes to remain unnamed, when I asked her what she thought a Trump administration would mean “from her Central American perspective.”
She went on to say that she foresees:
2. Furthering tourism as a development strategy with a focus on the construction of vast privately owned casinos on the Caribbean and Pacific coasts as well as in rainforests. This would involve the denationalization of nature preserves with particular attention to Costs Rica, as well as the acceleration of deforestation.
3. If even vaguely reformist governments come into power, there will be military and political support for coups based on the brilliant State Department formulation used in Honduras of a ‘legal coup.’
4. More investments in projects that invariably adversely effect rural communities, especially if these are indigenous.
5. Attempts to replace Canadian mining companies with US ones.
6. The appointment of ambassadors who advocate the use of torture and perhaps have a history of ties to death squads, as John Negroponte did in Honduras.
7. Stronger incentives to destroy all public institutions.
8. If Trump increases the deportation of CA immigrants and manages to slow down immigration, Central American families will face greater disasters than they now do because of the lose of remittances that have become central to their mere survival. A consequence of this is that Central American states confront greater social unrest as the market for labor –the biggest export commodity of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador—dries up. The Trump administration will then fund the eradication of social unrest by the absolutely worst means imaginable/unimaginable.
9. Central Americans who do risk attempting to go north will come to rely even more that they do on lethal Mafia controlled networks controlled by sadists/rapists to cross borders.
Resistance strategies of the Central American poor? Hard to predict, except to say that one will be the continuation of efforts to organize a local life that can guarantee food security and work, keep potential immigrants home, and create a life that is way beyond mere survival.
Deborah T. Levenson is a Professor of History at Boston College where she teaches courses on nineteenth and twentieth-century Latin and Central America; social constructions and modernity; labor and urban history, and the history of art. She is the author of numerous works, including the books Adiós Niño, The Gangs of Guatemala City and the Politics of Death (2013); Hacer la Juventud: Tres generaciones de una familia urbana (2004) and Trade Unionists Against Terror, Guatemala City, 1954-1984 (1994.)