CARLOS FROM HONDURAS DETAINED IN THE USA, AGED 16
PART 1: Carlos is from a poor family in a poor village in Honduras. In 1998, when he was barely a teenager, Hurricane Mitch, the deadliest Atlantic hurricane in more than 200 years, devastated Honduras, killing at least 7000 Hondurans and costing the country US$3.8 billion. Wind, rain, flooding and landslides – worsened by the country’s slash and burn forestry practices – ‘virtually destroyed the entire infrastructure of Honduras’, according to the US Department of Commerce’s National Climate Data Centre. As much as 20 per cent of the population was rendered homeless. The agricultural industry was crushed. In the immediate term, parts of the population were threatened with starvation, and there were outbreaks of malaria, dengue fever and cholera. In the longer term, the country’s development was thrown backwards. According to the Honduran President, Hurricane Mitch destroyed fifty years of the country’s progress.
According to Carlos, ‘I decided to come here [to the US] because I felt that there weren’t any other good options. After Hurricane Mitch destroyed most of the town where I am and work was really hard to get. It was really difficult times for my family and myself. So I decided to come here.’ He was 16.
Artwork by Nani Puspasari