SPACES OF CONFINEMENT AND HUMAN SACRIFICE

To know more about this subject, visit the website: Migrantes de otro Mundo

The temporary closure of borders and the current momentary impossibility of applying for asylum and refuge has brought spatial reverberations throughout the continent. Regional and extra-continental irregularized migrants in transit, asylum seekers, and refugees are stranded between six different national frontiers. Receiving no immediate and appropriate state protection, these migrants’ precarious socio-economic condition, their exposure to health risks, and proximity local violence has increased. Between Mexico and the United States, returned and deported Mexicans, Central American asylum seekers, regional and extra-continental migrants have been stranded. While the refugee camp in Matamoros is the most prominent example of these conditions, it is not the only one located the that border region. At the border between Mexico and Guatemala, Salvadoran, Honduran and Guatemalan deportees from Mexico are docked. At the border between Panama and Colombia, in the Tapón del Darién, Haitians, Cubans, South American, and extra-continental migrants in transit to the United States are stranded. On the Ecuadorian-Colombian border, Venezuelans en route to their home country have been immobilized. Bolivians who wanted to return to Bolivia are stranded at the border with Chile. At the Brazil-Venezuelan border, Haitians and extra-continental migrants in transit to the United States are also stranded, as are Venezuelan Warao and E'ñepá indigenous people who typically move on a daily basis along that border. In those six borderland spaces of confinement, illegalities and violence are abound on a daily basis. They lack sanitary conditions, decent shelters, and facilities to procure food and medicines. These are highly contagious spaces. Despite the risk of violence and death, the migrant population have deployed forms of care, solidarity, and engaged in everyday struggle to protect their lives in these spaces. Like other spaces of confinement, these border spaces have some limited access for selected populations, but their exit is limited. Under these conditions, these migrants’ risk and lack of protection increases, and therefore, they become spaces of possible human sacrifice.

The virtual talk will focus on the social, economic, political, and illegal dynamics that existed in these six national borders before the pandemic. It will also consider the effects the current border closure has had on the configuration of six complex spaces of confinement and human sacrifice. Since these are bi-national spaces, we will also analyze the role that participating states have by exercising control and not protecting the everyday lives of people on the move be they adults, children, and adolescents who are irregular migrants and/or regional and extra-continental asylum seekers.  

In mid-March 2020, nearly every country on the continent declared a health emergency. These countries closed their borders and adopted a series of exceptional measures, arguing that forced immobility as a  solution to contain the virus. Following the shutdown of borders,  more than 30 researchers from the Americas, interested in analyzing the migratory question politically, organized virtually and began to consider the particular situation of millions of migrants, women, men, children and adolescents, from the continent and/or from other latitudes, all of whom are mobile and in transit.

Original Concept: Soledad Álvarez Velasco, University of Houston

General Coordination:Soledad Álvarez Velasco, University of Houston & Ulla D. Berg, Rutgers University

Research, Systematization and Development of Contents: Soledad Álvarez Velasco, University of Houston;  Ulla D. Berg, Rutgers University; Lucía Pérez-Martínez, FLACSO-Ecuador; Mónica Salmon, New School for Social Research; Sebastián León,  Rutgers University.

Coordination polyphonic map: Iréri Ceja Cárdenas: Museo Nacional/ Universidad Federal de Rio de Janeiro

Project Advisor: Nicholas De Genova, Universidad of Houston.

 

Translation team Spanish - English: 

Soledad Álvarez Velasco, Mónica Salmón, Ulla Berg, Luin Goldring, Tanya Basok, Ingrid Carlson, Gabrielle Cabrera.

Translation team Spanish - Portuguese: 

Iréri Ceja, Gustavo Dias, Gislene Santos, Elisa Colares, Handerson Joseph, Caio Fernandes, María Villarreal.

Website Design and Development:  ACHU! Studio; Francisco Hurtado Caicedo, Social Observatory of Ecuador

Photography: David Gustafsson y Cynthia Briones.

Video: David Gustafsson.

Some of the researchers of this project are members of these CLACSO Working Groups

English translation and proofreading by Gabrielle Cabrera, Rutgers University.

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