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We All Returned: Stories of Return Migration

  • Broadcast in News



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The economic slowdown and tougher deportation policies in the U.S. have decreased the number migrants heading north and the increased return—voluntary or forced—of former immigrants to their countries of origin. In today's show we are looking at this reverse flow and how it presents opportunity as well as, challenge in the lives of three Guatemalans, who decided for different reasons, to return to their home country.


Willy Barreno is the co-founder and director at the nonprofit Desgua. He emigrated to the United States as an adult in search of a better life. While in the U.S. he worked as a chef and grassroots organizer in indigenous and human rights issues. After 12 years of living there he returned to Guatemala to regain his identity and rediscover his roots. As part of his current work with DESGUA, he is working to promote fair trade and social enterprise initiatives in Guatemala.

Trudy Mercadal has a B.A. in International Studies, a Master in Communications and a Master in Liberal Arts, as well as a graduate certificate in Environmental Studies. She has an ABD in a doctoral program in Comparative Studies, and her area of research is human rights and the prison system. Trudy is a well-known blogger, lecturer and professor in Guatemala.

Elí Orozco left Guatemala at the age of 15. He worked his way up in the restaurant business from working the kitchen up to management at the age of 18. He is a wine aficionado and the former general manager of a liquor store in Beverly, Massachusetts. He currently lives a semi-retired life here in Guatemala, with a passion for traveling and extreme adventures. He is the current editor of www.guatemaladailyphoto.com.