Latino Studies

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 73–85 | Cite as

On silences: Salvadoran refugees then and now

  • Leisy J. AbregoEmail author
El Foro


US military and economic intervention in El Salvador has set the conditions for mass migration since the 1980s. Both then and now, despite well-documented human rights abuses, the US government refuses to categorize Salvadorans as refugees. Weaving in personal and political narratives, this essay examines the parallels of violence against refugees in the 1980s and the present. It also analyzes the silences created through the denial of state terror and the political and collective consequences of these silences for Salvadorans in the US.


Salvadorans Central Americans Gender State terror Refugees Migration 



This essay was born as a presentation at the Keywords in Migration Studies Conference at UC Santa Cruz in 2016. I thank the organizers for the encouragement to explore new approaches to intellectual work and for bringing such a wonderful group of scholars together. I am indebted to the fierce organizers of the Human Rights Alliance for Child Refugees and Families for their revolutionary vision and love for our community. Always generous, Cecilia Menjívar was kind enough to read through a draft of this paper. I am most grateful for Carlos Colorado’s support for this piece.


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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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