Independence or Whatever


197 years of independence from the Spanish crown. That's what today is for Hondurans and the paisan@s in Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Costa Rica. But that's hardly true. The isthmus is not yet free of colonial powers. The region is dependent on neocolonial structures, on tourism, remittances, and foreign investments. Celebrations of national independence coexist with the ongoing displacement of people from their ancestral lands. Today, indigenous communities in the American isthmus continue a 526 year old struggle for self-determination and autonomy. Independent states carry out the very colonial dynamics they freed themselves from, privatizing communal lands and inevitably absorbing brown bodies into the free-market economy. Independent Central American countries are dependent on the continuous extraction of wealth from lands and on the ongoing material consumption from those in distant places who truly know independence. To depend on remittances in order to survive within one’s own country, does not equate freedom. To be fragmented, separated, and confined by walls and laws created by contemporary nations is not independence.

Lulu Matute