A Climate To Fear
Bloomberg Businessweek|June 14, 2021
Central America’s subsistence farmers are fleeing increasingly severe droughts and storms
Michael McDonald

José Mario Antonio Milla can remember a time when he could count on the rain. In La Laguna, a hamlet of about 60 families in western Honduras, showers used to start at the end of April and continue through November. In a good year, farmers in the area could harvest as much as 8 tons of corn— enough to feed their kin, with some leftover to sell. “That was in the old days, 15 or 20 years ago. No one harvests those quantities anymore,” he says, adding that it’s already June and not a drop has fallen on his 2 acres. Several of Milla’s neighbors and relatives have quit trying to wring a living off the land and have moved to the cities, while others hired coyotes to smuggle them into the U.S.

The so-called Northern Triangle is plagued by chronic violence, corrupt governments, and a lack of economic opportunities—factors that send more than 300,000 El Salvadorans, Guatemalans, and Hondurans fleeing their countries each year, according to estimates by academics at the University of Texas at Austin. Farmers, who in some of these nations make up almost one-third of the population, are battling another menace: extreme weather.

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