Anita Pouchard Serra, photojournalist: Where Central American migrants start their northward journey
It seems to have been another one of those cases where President Donald Trump’s line officers countermanded his orders in the name of sanity or humanity. The president, angry about the flood of migrants from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador seeking asylum in the United States and the failure of their home governments to stop them from leaving, ordered American aid to all three countries to be eliminated.
A State Department review concluded that the president’s order would leave a lot of already approved, already started projects short of completion, predicting a near-total waste of aid moneys already spent, so it restored about 70% of the president’s cuts.
This means not quite $200 million of this year’s aid money will be withheld, and all of next year’s budgeted $370 million will be diverted away from the so-called Northern Triangle of Central America.
Many analysts predict cutting all those health, education, poverty alleviation and anti-crime programs from the U.S. budget will only make conditions worse in Central America, and drive more Guatemalans, Hondurans and Salvadorans to head for the U.S. border.
Photojournalist Anita Pouchard Serra, had been making news pictures along the border, adding hers to the flood of images through which the media define for the world this migration crisis. She was telling a story, but she concluded, there was more to it than she was seeing.
At a professional conference, she met another photographer who felt the same way. After Pouchard Serra, who is an Argentine based in France and the Mexican Koral Carballo got funding to trace the migration story away from its border destination to its source, they wanted local help. So they added Salvadoran writer Jessica Avalos to their team, and eventually sold their story to the New York Times.
The story is about the beach town Intipuca, El Salvador, a place shaped and sustained by migrations, to and from the United States.
Anita Pouchard Serra is an Argentine-French photo-journalist who with her colleagues, Mexican photographer Koral Carballo and Salvadorean writer Jessica Avalos, created the Welcome to Intipuca’ City Project, a multi-media portrait of a small Salvadoran town shaped and sustained by migrations to and from the United States. The project was recently featured in the New York Times.
Intipucá is a word in the Lenca language. However, due to historical savagery, indigenous are neither recognized nor self identified in El Salvador