Indigenous people of Latin America - Essay Sample

Published: 2024-01-15
Indigenous people of Latin America - Essay Sample
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Culture United States Immigration American culture
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1517 words
13 min read


Latin Americans are found in America and its surrounding nations. More than 10% of the Mexican population is comprised of indigenous Latin Americans (Villegas, "Migration Policy Institute"). They are also found in other countries such as Guatemala. Their countries' situation has forced them to be frequent culprits of illegal immigrants into the United States of America. They use every means possible to enter the U.S, including paying smugglers. Those who cannot afford smugglers' services are contrived to use other crude approaches such as traveling on the rooftop of a fast-moving train. Even though poor immigrants use cargo trains, they cannot traverse the border empty-handed (Castellanos, "Balun-Canan"). They need to penetrate through organized gangs who extort protection money from them. Those who cannot afford risk losing their lives as these organized criminals are known to push non-cooperating persons off the moving train. Back in their counties, governments are indifferent to their citizenry and participate in perpetuating poverty by countenancing retrogressive traditions such as marrying off under-age girls. Indigenous Latin Americans are rooted in their pernicious practices to the extent that they invoke the gods to bless their under-age girls with husbands. In essence, they don't treasure advanced ideals such as education for girls. In most cases, Latin Americans are a suffering race, both away and at home.

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Indigenous Latin Americans

The Mayan community is one of the largest indigenous groups in the heart of Guatemala. Backward cultural practices and a discriminative government have caused many Guatemalans to aspire to leave their country for the United States. Most interestingly, underage Latin Americans constitute a significant group of illegal immigrants intercepted at the U.S.A-Mexico border. Cultural challenges include marrying their daughters below twenty years (Bustamante, "IXCANUL"). Such damaging cultures have caused many under-age girls to manipulate their way out of their mother country. A significant number of people in Guatemala and other countries in Latin America are illiterate. The fact that many Latin American children are intercepted at the U.S.A-Mexico border every year is an indication that politically, countries in Latin America are dysfunctional. Many children running away from their country is an indication of neglect by their governments. It should be the mandate of the governing authorities to protect their citizens.

Latin American countries' local communities perpetuate barbarism by practicing such backward cultures such as marrying underage girls off. Most communities in Latin America are traditionalists (Bustamante, "IXCANUL"). They still invoke the gods in places of nature, such as near volcanoes. Many young ladies who are against such traditions find it hard to survive in such conditions. Thus, the mass attempt to seek asylum in the U.S., probably because they believe while there, they can pursue their dreams and transcend their traditions. The education system of counties in Latin America, such as Guatemala, does not include essential courses such as film production. Anyone with a vision of becoming a movie star has to seek education in far nations such as France (Bustamante, "IXCANUL"). Lack of essential aspects of education denies the Latin American populace the chance to appear globally. Taking Jayro Bustamante as an example, the movie star studied film production in France and had his project wins the Silver Bear award. If he did not travel outside his country to fulfill his dream of becoming a movie director, he would have remained practicing traditions with his local community members.

Border Challenges

Before July of 2014, it was relatively easy for one to traverse the Mexican-U.S. A border through the train route connecting the two countries in the southern part of the American border. After the aforementioned date, the Mexican government intensified its border security checks. Most emphasis has been on trains as they are deemed to have the most significant impact on immigrants in the U.S. Most U.S.A immigrants from Latin America cite dire economic conditions, violent activities, and desire to link with family members as their main reason for their attempt to engage in the perilous journey. Determined immigrants use cargo trains to shorten the distance between Mexico and U.S.A (Villegas, "Migration Policy Institute"). Border activities have increased, not only for children but also for adults. In most cases, those who try to use cargo trains to access the U.S are poor Latin Americans who cannot afford to pay a smuggler. Smugglers offer the easiest means to access the U.S, probably because it includes an insider job. In that case, most illegal immigrants using cargo trains are children.

By part, the immigrants use cargo trains because no passenger trains are entering the U.S.A from Mexico (Merry, "La Jaula de Oro"). For those who can afford it, the smuggling charges can go as high as $10,000. As they try to cross the border to the U.S.A, both children and adult migrants are exposed to various risks, including sexual assault, kidnapping, extortion, and recruitment by organized crime. They, for instance, travel on top of speedy trains with nothing to hold on to. No wonder, after July 2014, the government of Mexico sought to increase train speed to discourage such risky behavior. Concerning organized crime, most border entry points around the Mexico-U.S.A border is controlled by organized gang members who ask for protection fees from the migrants. Those who lack money risk their lives as these gangs are known to throw such people off the moving train. One cannot survive the journey without money—the very factor that had made them leave their country. In essence, trying to enter into the U.S illegally via the Mexico border is one of the riskiest and expensive intrigues. Latin Americans delve into dangerous border activities every day as they try to flee poverty or reunite with their family members already in the U.S. A. As displayed in the film La Jaula de Oro, young children are exposed to crime life as sometimes they are threatened with dangerous weapons. In some instances, they risk detainment by criminals such as drug traffickers.

Deeper Challenges

In recent years, there has been an emerging issue of self-proclaimed border patrollers. These people claim to be patriots by calling U.S citizens to scare immigrants with guns until they fear to enter their country. They take the law into their hands. Such groups are known as conservatives. It is an ideal that has existed in the interior parts of border points. Most impressive about conservatives is that the ideal has previously attracted various support, including from politicians (Castellanos, "Balun-Canan"). While Latin Americans are exposed to all manner of risks, the political image is a taunted one back in their country. Some people own vast tracts of land while others live like squatters in their own country. Those who do not own the land are contrived to work as subordinates in landowners' households. In such systems, the citizenry is always divided between the haves and the have-nots (Castellanos, "Balun-Canan"). The rivalry between landowners and squatters has previously resulted in more hatred within the conflicting groups. For instance, those who decide to work for landowners are hated by the rest of the populace. Those who work in lands, also known as haciendas, are exposed to difficult working conditions. Some are even killed for nefarious reasons. In such a situation, it is the government's mandate to create a system of equality by giving everyone a chance to access land. In most instances, Latin American countries' governments perpetuate suffering within their citizenry by upholding pernicious practices. Retrogressive political systems are to blame for the deteriorating situation of border crimes in the Mexico-U.S. A border.


Latin Americans are usually faced with challenges back at their mother countries such that seeking asylum in developed nations such as the U.S.A is left as their only solace. Every year, Latin Americans devise more sophisticated ways of finding their ways into the U.S. Those who can afford to pay for smugglers. A significant number of those who cannot afford smugglers' services are exposed to challenging and risky life. A significant challenge concerning Mexican-U.S. border immigrants is that a significant number are children. Most of them endeavor to run away from their mother country because of high poverty levels and retrogressive cultures. Latin American countries' political situation contributes significantly to the ever-increasing urge of their citizenry to migrate to America. Their education systems do not offer sufficient resources such that some courses are not offered in schools in the country—essential courses for that matter. Their governments can ameliorate the consistent pressures endured by Latin Americans by properly planning their economies.

Works Cited

Bustamante, Jayro. Ixcanul- Guatemala (2015). Accessed: 2020, Dec 7.

Castellanos, Rosario. Balun-Canan (1957).

Merry, Stephanie. 'La Jaula de Oro' ('The Golden Dream') movie review. Washington Post.

Villegas, Rodrigo. Central American migrants and "La Bestia": The route, dangers, and government responses, (2014). Migration Policy Institute.

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