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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation

Spring 2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Department of History

Advisor(s)

Kristen McCleary

Abstract

The U.S. intervention in El Salvador had a number of unintended consequences, some negative and some positive, that still have a great impact on the U.S., El Salvador, and the international community as a whole today. Although the focus of the mass media is on the negative unintended consequences, the positive really outweigh the negative. These so-called unintended consequences began with a massive increase in immigration to escape the violent human rights violations and political persecutions of El Salvador’s Civil War. This migration to the U.S. in the 1980s is referred to as the Salvadoran Diaspora, which led to an increasing number of activist community organizations founded to help these Salvadoran refugees, even though U.S. policy would not recognize migrants arriving from El Salvador as such. These organizations were largely led by Salvadoran and Latin American immigrants who had arrived in the U.S. during the Salvadoran Diaspora and were all, for the most part, located within the communities in which the migrants were arriving, in this case Los Angeles, and settling in. This cycle of unintended consequences and reactions would change alongside the needs of the Salvadoran communities following the end of El Salvador’s Civil War with the implementation of the 1992 Chapultepec Peace Accords in order to increase focus on helping the Salvadoran community gain legal residency status. Additionally, new activist community organizations were created to focus on continued legal representation and advocacy, access to education, and the maintenance and growth of a transnational Salvadoran identity through the promotion of a shared memory of the Salvadoran Civil War and the Salvadoran Diaspora. Therefore, in order to adequately explore the relationship between the U.S. and El Salvador, an emphasis must be placed on both the positive and negative unintended consequences of intervention, including, but not limited to, the Salvadoran Diaspora, the creation of a distinctly Salvadoran transnational community in Los Angeles, and the establishment of activist community organizations.

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