September 15 celebrates the independence of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Make sure to eat your favorite Central American dish!
It is also a day when we can ponder on what independence means for Central America today.
The United States wants “safe third country agreements” with Honduras and El Salvador to stop migrants. It managed to reach the deal with Guatemala by enforcing commercial pressure. Central America may also look for investment from China and Canadian mining companies without assessing the true social costs of these agreements. Foreign powers may not be the only ones limiting independence: locally, traditional Central American political and economic elites rarely represent the diversity of its populations. Nicaragua is isolating itself from the world in the name of its sovereignty - but its citizens are being killed and repressed by state forces, according to UN reports.
Tens of thousands of Central American asylum seekers will celebrate independence day away from home with the doors of U.S. asylum closed.
Is this being free?
It is useful to ask ourselves how Central American countries see their political and economic independence nearly 200 years after freeing themselves from Spain.