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Issues Affecting Mexico’s dividing line

Mexico’s Other Border: Issues Affecting Mexico’s dividing line with Guatemala

The Mexico-Guatemalan border has been a troubled zone since the Americas gained their independence from Spain in 1821. Since the closing of the colonial era towards the end of the 19th century, repeated incidents have plagued the region encompassing southern Mexico and western Guatemala. The current border came into being after the two nations signed the Treaty of Limits. Nowadays, the bulk of the concern over the border involves Guatemalan migrants crossing the border trying to eventually gain illegal entrance into the U.S. Disputes between the two countries revolve around both the undocumented migrants trekking through Mexico as well as those with final Mexican destinations.

Illegal and legal migration into Mexico reached their apogee during Guatemala's bitter guerrilla-death squad insurgency when tens of thousands of its citizens fled the latter country between 1963 and 1996. Paying the highest price for an unjust war were the campesinos who worked the land, engaged in subsistence farming, frequently not even being able to speak Spanish, but instead, only their own languages, such as Quiché or Kachikel. Many of these Mayan peoples, who tried hard to remain neutral during the domestic conflict, eventually were forced to flee their home villages or risk being tortured or killed by the Guatemalan military and associated rightwing death squads, or from being attacked by local guerrilla forces, depending upon who saw them as a foe.


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