No Wall They Can Build, Episode 4


The South, Part II – Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras

Listen to the Episode — 36 min


Welcome to Episode 4 of No Wall They Can Build, the Ex-Worker Podcast’s serialized audiobook exploring borders and migration across North America. This week’s installment continues the previous episode’s exploration of the conditions south of the border that drive migration north by surveying the situation in the three countries of the “Northern Triangle.” Guatemala’s malnourished, heavily indigenous population languishes in poverty under oligarchic rule, the legacy of centuries of colonialism and a devastating civil war. Our narrator analyzes the numerous problems plaguing the country and examines the unfinished struggle for freedom and dignity that prompted the war, including its impact on global revolutionary imagination through its influence on the Zapatistas. The horrifying levels of violence in El Salvador trace their roots both to economic pressures and to US support for the former reactionary military regime during a bloody civil war. The section concludes with a hair-raising anecdote about the guerrilla movement’s creative revenge against a genocidal army officer. A brief note on the profound dysfunction of Honduras, stemming from the structure of North American economy, is followed by a discussion of the tensions between these four Central American nations and their inhabitants. This episode rounds out our picture of the recent history of the region and the dynamics that push people from their homelands on the perilous trip towards the US/Mexico border.

Notes and Links

  • Table of Contents:
    • Introduction {0:01}
    • Guatemala {0:35}
    • Story #1: The Influence of the Guerrilla Movement {16:30}
    • El Salvador {17:40}
    • Story #2: Revenge at El Mozote {25:05}
    • Honduras {28:07}
    • Story #3: A Souvenir {30:52}
    • Tensions {31:22}
    • Conclusion {34:51}
  • Note: For this audiobook, we will not provide full transcripts of the text of each episode as we do for The Ex-Worker or The Hotwire. If you want to read along, you can find the book in PDF.

  • You can check out our poster diagramming the North American border regime and immigrant solidarity stickers.

  • Stay tuned next week for Episode 5: The Trip and The Product.