SPACES OF CONFINEMENT AND HUMAN SACRIFICE
The temporary closure of borders and the current momentary impossibility of applying for asylum and refuge has brought spatial reverberations throughout the continent. Regional and extra-continental irregularized migrants in transit, asylum seekers, and refugees are stranded between six different national frontiers. Receiving no immediate and appropriate state protection, these migrants’ precarious socio-economic condition, their exposure to health risks, and proximity local violence has increased. Between Mexico and the United States, returned and deported Mexicans, Central American asylum seekers, regional and extra-continental migrants have been stranded. While the refugee camp in Matamoros is the most prominent example of these conditions, it is not the only one located the that border region. At the border between Mexico and Guatemala, Salvadoran, Honduran and Guatemalan deportees from Mexico are docked. At the border between Panama and Colombia, in the Tapón del Darién, Haitians, Cubans, South American, and extra-continental migrants in transit to the United States are stranded. On the Ecuadorian-Colombian border, Venezuelans en route to their home country have been immobilized. Bolivians who wanted to return to Bolivia are stranded at the border with Chile. At the Brazil-Venezuelan border, Haitians and extra-continental migrants in transit to the United States are also stranded, as are Venezuelan Warao and E'ñepá indigenous people who typically move on a daily basis along that border. In those six borderland spaces of confinement, illegalities and violence are abound on a daily basis. They lack sanitary conditions, decent shelters, and facilities to procure food and medicines. These are highly contagious spaces. Despite the risk of violence and death, the migrant population have deployed forms of care, solidarity, and engaged in everyday struggle to protect their lives in these spaces. Like other spaces of confinement, these border spaces have some limited access for selected populations, but their exit is limited. Under these conditions, these migrants’ risk and lack of protection increases, and therefore, they become spaces of possible human sacrifice.
The virtual talk will focus on the social, economic, political, and illegal dynamics that existed in these six national borders before the pandemic. It will also consider the effects the current border closure has had on the configuration of six complex spaces of confinement and human sacrifice. Since these are bi-national spaces, we will also analyze the role that participating states have by exercising control and not protecting the everyday lives of people on the move be they adults, children, and adolescents who are irregular migrants and/or regional and extra-continental asylum seekers.