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News > Latin America

'We Must Sympathize': Angela Davis Says High Rates of Violence, Colonial Policies Caused Migrant Caravan

  • Black liberation activist Angela Davis

    Black liberation activist Angela Davis | Photo: EFE

Published 24 October 2018

She added that hyper-nationalist rhetoric, similar to the views expressed by Trump, was linked to racism.

Minority rights activists, feminist and author, Angela Davis says that the migrant caravan heading to the United States' southern border highlights the "serious problem of violence" that persons living in Honduras and Guatemala experience, particularly in terms of the high rate of femicides in those countries.

Thousands of Children Orphaned in Honduras By Femicides: Study

Speaking to the press in Madrid, Spain, Davis said: "We have to sympathize with those who flee from violence." 

According to Davis, the refugee and migrant struggle are caused by colonial policies, structural violence, and slavery; and aren't merely individual decisions taken by those, who choose to flee violence in those particular countries or communities. 

On Monday, it was announced that Davis, who has fought for human rights around the globe for decades, would receive the 2018 Fred Shuttlesworth Human Rights Award. It will be presented to her by the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute in February 2019.

During a press conference after her Madrid talk, Davis declined to comment on statements made by United States President Donald Trump about the migrant caravan, choosing only to say: "We can not lower ourselves to his level."

She added hyper-nationalist rhetoric, similar to the views expressed by Trump, was linked to racism.

"Racism has always been at the heart of fascism," said Davis, who pointed out similar tendencies in some European leaders as well as Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and presidential candidate of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro. She said their appearance on the political stage was "certainly been stimulated by the presence of Trump."

According to Davis, feminism must be a strategy to overcome not only gender differences but also economic exploitation, racism and fascism and to address environmental problems.

The famed race activist, who was once imprisoned under the direction of the FBI for her membership in the Black Panthers in 1970, said she calls for an "integrative" vision of feminism that she says is not always shared by all who practice it: "I expect more and more women, men and LGBT people to adopt that vision of feminism."

She said that in order to denounce racism and uphold feminism, they must also denounce exploitative capitalism, or else they are defenders of the status quo.

The World Health Organization reported months ago that Honduras is experiencing an “epidemic” of femicides. Between 2005 and 2013 the number of femicides — the killing of women based on their gender — has skyrocketed by 263 percent. In 2013, 636 women were murdered, mainly by their partners. There were 389 femicides registered last year as the country's overall homicide rate lowered slightly.

Davis recently published Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement in which she " illuminates the connections between struggles against state violence and oppression throughout history and around the world," according to Haymarket Books.

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