Temporary Autonomous Zones in Motion: Migrant Caravans and How to Support Them

Somewhere around 2016, people throughout Central America began to emigrate in loosely organized bands, known colloquially as caravans, for lack of a better term. The largest of this “new” form of migration left the most violent city in Central America, San Pedro Sula on October 12, 2018. As this journey gained steam, over 6,000 people “in exodus” began arriving in Tijuana, Mexico about a month later.

Many migrants openly declared that they were fleeing rampant violence, persecution and extortion. The vast majority claimed they intended to seek asylum in the United States. Meanwhile, this caravan has awakened a solidarity infrastructure that has remained long dormant since the US-based support for Nicaragua’s FSLN, the FMLN in El Salvador, and the Zapatistas hit cresciendo and the end of the 1990’s.

Join this panel to explore what organizing efforts are moving locally and nationally to accompany this new generation of asylum seekers.

Meet current asylum seekers and others working to assure that the Bay Area is a welcoming and hospitable place, despite the vitriol generated from the Executive Branch and other nodes of “power.”


“Beby” Aguilar is a native of San Salvador, El Salvador. She emigrated to the US via caravan in 2017 and currently has an asylum case pending in US immigration courts. She serves on the international coordinating body of Pueblo Sin Fronteras, an organization which provides political, logistical and legal support for caravaneros on their journeys North. Her 18 year old son participated in the most recent caravan and is currently incarcerated by Mexican authorities.

Carlos Martinez is co-author of Venezuela Speaks! Voices from the Grassroots (PM Press, 2010) and currently a Ph.D. student of Medical Anthropology at UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco. His current work examines the intersecting logics of containment, carceral violence, and anti-immigrant policies ensnaring both Mexican deportees and Central American asylum seekers in a rapidly changing Tijuana, along with the emerging forms of mutual aid and solidarity seeking to resist these forces. Carlos returned from Tijuana two days ago, after close consultation with organizations providing legal and medical support for migrants and asylum seekers.

Event Timeslots (1)

Room 214
"Beby" Aguilar, Carlos Martinez.