Latino Studies

, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp 168–187 | Cite as

Central American- Americans: Invisibility, Power and Representation in the US Latino World

  • Arturo Arias


This article examines the specificity of Central Americans in the United States in relation to issues of identity, history and politics. It also examines the contrasting relationship between Central Americans in the United States and Mexican immigrants, by historicizing the dynamics of power between these two Mesoamerican regions since colonial times, with the idea of advancing our understanding of inter-Latino relations in the United States. The article also seeks to address the invisibility of Central American refugees in the United States, arguing that the historical memory of rape and violence on the part of refugees from Guatemala and El Salvador has led Central Americans in the United States to keep themselves on the margins of social visibility and presentability. This strategic non-identity, which to some extent is historically related to Central Americans’ subordination to Mexico, as well as to their illegal status within the US, contrasts the identity politics of reaffirmation that constituted the Chicano and Nuyorican movements, with the present day situation of ‘Central American-Americans.’


Central Americans identity historical memory representation power immigrants and refugees 


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arturo Arias
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Redlands

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