March 19, 2014
Take Home Final
CH ST 171- Armbruster
Where is our Home? America; “land of the free, and home of the brave”, a place full of endless opportunities and “justice for all”1. A country so rich and glamorized it has become everyone’s dream to live here. It is for this reason that every day, thousands of people leave the comfort of their daily lives in order to achieve this American Dream. In doing so; they are not only risking their lives in the treacherous journey to El Norte, but they also leave behind their culture, home, and loved ones. They do this in order to have access to more opportunities and pursue a better standard of living for themselves, their children, and their families. The irony of this, is that they are coming to the country that has been a direct facilitator in the regression of their own country, making migration inevitable. Upon, reaching the United States they quickly realize the hardships and realities of what it is really like to live in the states undocumented. This is the case for millions of immigrants living in this country, including the main characters of the movie “El Norte”; Rosa and Enrique, as well as; Antonio, the protagonist of the novel The Tattooed Soldier. All three of these characters migrate to the United States to escape the horrors of their country torn apart by a war initiated and sponsored by the U.S.
During the 1954 Democratic elections in Guatemala, a U.S backed coup replaced the leftist government and put to power a military regime headed by Carlos Castillo who was proceeded by consecutive military dictatorships. This new U.S puppet democracy is what gave rise to the leftist armed struggle to overthrow the “right winged” government. This rebel group consisted mainly of the indigenous and the peasant population of Guatemala who were most affected by the new regime. Those who spoke out against the government were killed and silenced. During the 80’s, the military regime was effectively carrying out its ethnic and political persecution killing off its enemies involved in any type of socio-political institution or simply anyone opposed to the “right winged” government. Those targeted included but not restricted to were; the indigenous population (mainly of Mayan descent), suspected allies of the rebel groups, refugees, students, leftist supporters, as well as children and civilians. Antonio and his wife, Elena, from the novel, along with Rosa and Enrique’s family from the Movie, were only a few among the many groups being targeted. Rosa and Enrique were a part of the