The violence of migration: “Harvest of Empire: The Untold Story of Latinos in America”

Last Wednesday, September 18th, I watched Eduardo Lopez and Peter Getzels’s movie “Harvest of Empire: The Untold Story of Latinos in America”, a documentary about migration from Latin American countries to United States. The film, based on the book from journalist Juan Gonzalez, focus on the migration from six countries: Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Dominican Republic and Guatemala. With more than 50 million of Latinos living in the United States, this film depicts the reasons behind the migration from the south in the twentieth century.

Using footage from news, films, and interviews, the film presents the always difficult and problematic relation between United States and Latin American countries. Since the eighteen century, the territorial and economic expansion of United States meant also a major presence of the American government in Latin American Politics. As the films portrays, Latino exodus is not only related to poverty and unemployment, but to the major agenda of United States to protect its internal market and support its particular politics through many dictatorships in Latin America. Its intervention, for example, played a key role in civil wars in El Salvador (around 7000 victims) and Guatemala (more than 200000 victims), and due to this, displacement was the only answer to escape the horror of war.


“Harvest of Empire” is an important document in the current debate about migration reform in the United States: it will help the American citizens (all of them) to know about the background story of many of their fellow Latino neighbors who live and work side by side in the same country and, at the same time, it will help to articulate the identity and history of many Latino migrants who do not know the origin, facts and causes of the violence they lived and pushed them to look for a new and safe future in another country.

For more information, I invite to visit its website: