Capitalism and Crisis in Central America

  • Dawn PaleyEmail author
Part of the Bioarchaeology and Social Theory book series (BST)


This chapter will examine how events connected to colonialism, nation state formation, and wars laid the groundwork for a series of expulsions from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador in the twentieth and in the twenty-first century. The period during and immediately following the peace accords is now acknowledged to have been a key moment in the neoliberalization of Central American economies. A renewal of coercive violence under the guise of the drug war has led hundreds of thousands to flee the region over the past decade. This chapter will connect colonialism, racism, and dispossession in Central American history with ongoing economic and coercive violence carried out under US supervision, spurring outward migration by adults and youth.


Capitalism Colonialism War Migration Northern triangle 


  1. Acker, A. (1988). Honduras: The making of a Banana Republic. Toronto: Between the Lines.Google Scholar
  2. Betancur, B., Figueredo Planchart, R., & Buergenthal, T. (1993). From madness to hope: The 12-year war in El Salvador: Report on the Commission for Truth in El Salvador. San Salvador: The Commission on the Truth for El Salvador.Google Scholar
  3. Booth, J., Wade, C., & Walker, T. (2009). Understanding Central America: Global forces, rebellion and change (5th ed.). Boulder: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  4. Brown, A., & Stepler, R. (2016). Statistical portrait of the foreign-born population in the United States|Pew Research Center. Pew Research Center.
  5. Center for Justice & International Law, & Human Rights Watch – Americas. (1994). The facts speak for themselves (The Preliminary Report on Disappearances of the National Commissioner for the Protection of Human Rights in Honduras). USA. 4KIC&lpg=PP1&dq=facts%20speak%20for%20themselves&hl=de&pg=PP3#v=onepage&q=facts%20speak%20for%20themselves&f=false.
  6. Ching, E. (2014). Authoritarian El Salvador: Politics and the origins of the military regimes, 1880–1940. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press. Scholar
  7. Dalton, R. (1984). El Salvador (monografía) (First). Puebla: Autonomous University of Puebla.Google Scholar
  8. Gibb, T. (2002). US role in Salvador’s brutal war. BBC News.
  9. Gilly, A. (1981). Guerra y política en El Salvador (First). Mexico: Editorial Nueva Imagen.Google Scholar
  10. Gudynas, E. (2009). Diez tesis urgentes sobre el nuevo extractivismo. Extractivismo, Política Y Sociedad.Google Scholar
  11. Holden, R. H. (2004). Armies without nations: Public violence and state formation in central America, 1821–1960. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Johnston, J., & Lefebvre, S. (2013). Honduras since the coup: Economic and social outcomes. Washington, DC: Center for Economic and Policy Research.Google Scholar
  13. Jonas, S. (1991). The battle for Guatemala: Rebels, death squads, and U.S. power. Boulder: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  14. Kinzer, S., & Schlesinger, S. (2005). Bitter fruit: The story of the American coup in Guatemala. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  15. LaFeber, W. (1993). Inevitable revolutions: The US in Central America (2nd ed.). New York: W. W. Norton & Company.Google Scholar
  16. Latin America Bureau. (1985). Honduras: State for sale. Birmingham: Latin America Bureau.Google Scholar
  17. Machado Aráoz, H. (2013). Orden neocolonial, extractivismo y ecología política de las emociones. Revista Brasileira de Sociologia Da Emoção, 12(34), 11–43.Google Scholar
  18. Maldonado, R., & Hayem, M. (2015). Remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean set a new record high in 2014. Washington, DC: Multilateral Investment Fund, Interamerican Development Bank. Scholar
  19. Mann, G. (2013). Disassembly required. Oakland: AK Press. semblyrequired.html.
  20. Meyer, P. J., & Seelke, C. R. (2015). Central America Regional Security Initiative: Background and Policy Issues for Congress (Congressional Research Service Report). Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  21. Open Society Justice Initiative. (2013). Judging a dictator: The trial of Guatemala’s Rios Montt|Open Society Foundations (OSF). ng-dictator-trial-guatemala-s-rios-montt. Accessed 1 Sept 2016.
  22. Paley, D. (2014). Drug war capitalism. Oakland: AK Press.Google Scholar
  23. Quinones, S. (2014). Unaccompanied kids and unintended consequences. Americas Quarterly.
  24. Rabe, S. G. (2015). The killing zone: The United States wages Cold War in Latin America. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Renwick, D. (2016). Central America’s violent northern triangle. Washington, DC: Council on Foreign Relations.
  26. Robinson, W. I. (2003). Transnational conflicts: Central America, social change and globalization. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  27. Rodríguez, A. P. (2009). Dividing the isthmus: Central American transnational histories, literatures and cultures. Austin: University of Texas Press.Google Scholar
  28. Rosnick, D., Main, A., & Jung, L. (2016). An examination of LAPOP’s impact assessment of US violence prevention programs in central America. Washington, DC: Center for Economic and Policy Research.Google Scholar
  29. Rothenberg, D. (2012). Memory of silence: The Guatemalan truth commission report. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Schneider, A. (2012). State-building and tax regimes in central America. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Smith, C. (1996). Resisting Regan: The U.S. central America peace movement. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Steinberg, M., Height, C., Mosher, R., & Bampton, M. (2006). Mapping massacres: GIS and state terror in Guatemala. Geoforum, 37(1), 62–68. Scholar
  33. The White House. (2016). FACT SHEET: The United States and Central America: Honoring our commitments. Washington, DC.
  34. United States Institute of Peace. (1992). Truth commission: El Salvador.
  35. United States Institute of Peace. (1997). Truth commission: Guatemala.
  36. United States Institute of Peace. (2012). Commission of inquiry: Honduras 1993.
  37. World Bank. (2016). Poverty headcount ratio at $3.10 a day (2011 PPP) (% of population).

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Meritorious Autonomous University of PueblaPueblaMexico

Personalised recommendations