Immigration is one of our nation’s most controversial issues. But despite countless hours of heated debate, shockingly little is known about the origins of the growing Latino presence in the U.S. The new documentary Harvest of Empire examines the direct correlation between long-standing U.S. intervention in Latin America and today’s immigration crisis. Adapted from the landmark book written by award-winning journalist Juan González of Democracy Now!, the film by Wendy Thompson and Eduardo Lopez in conjunction with director Peter Getzels and editor Catherine Shields of Getzels Gordon Productions details the social conditions and U.S. government actions that led millions of Latino families to flee their homelands, triggering an unprecedented migration that is transforming America’s cultural and economic landscape.
In addition to rare archival material, the film features interviews with Nobel Peace Prize winner Rigoberta Menchú, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, Pulitzer Prize winning writer Junot Díaz, Mexican historian Lorenzo Meyer, ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero, journalists Maria Hinojosa and Geraldo Rivera, poet Martín Espada, and author Juan González.
On Tuesday, May 15, the Governance Studies program at Brookings hosted a screening of Harvest of Empire, followed by a panel discussion featuring author Juan González and filmmaker Eduardo Lopez. After the panel, the participants took questions from the audience.