Latest News: Posts Tagged ‘exile’

“Belén Fernández has established herself as one of the most trenchant observers of America’s interventions around the world” — EXILE selected as the Left Book Club book of the month

Monday, December 14th, 2020

What it means to live as a self-imposed American exile.

Buy the book here.

“The Biden plan for Central America: Militarised neoliberal hell” — EXILE author Belén Fernández writes for Al Jazeera

Monday, November 23rd, 2020

The policies a Biden administration will pursue are unlikely to bring prosperity and security to Central Americans.

Read the article here.

“Virus Gives Erratic El Salvador Strongman Excuse to Fill Jails” — EXILE author Belén Fernández writes for the Washington Spectator

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2020

Read the article here.

“For someone with no fixed address, much less country of residence, ‘staying at home’ was a novel and initially terrifying concept.” — EXILE author Belén Fernández writes for the New York Times

Monday, May 25th, 2020
Read the full piece here.

“Relentlessly practices an endangered, if not nearly extinct, species of journalism: dissident anti-imperialist muckraking” — EXILE reviewed on Middle East Eye

Monday, May 18th, 2020

Exile: A tale of Washington’s twisted role in the world

What Fernandez does in this book is so old-fashioned, and has so quietly evaporated from the how-to guide of being a leftist journalist, that it is worth noting. In case after sordid and bloody case, roving from Tegucigalpa to Diyarbakir, Turkey, to Beirut, she insists that the target of critique cannot simply be bad people doing bad things.

People writing on places where the US is responsible for doing bad things ought to convey the US role. It is usually enormous: shipping Blackhawks and Apaches to the Turkish counterinsurgency forces, embargoing infrastructural repair and water purification equipment from a war-devastated Iraq. In reminding us of that role, Fernandez does us all – except for those profiting from such mayhem – a great service, and it there that the book’s central contribution lies.

Read the full review here.

“One of the most poignant, searing, and, at times, deadpan critiques of the United States and its mass media that I have ever read… An extraordinary and unorthodox travelogue.” — EXILE reviewed by the Los Angeles Review of Books

Wednesday, February 12th, 2020

A Personal Journey: On “Exile: Rejecting America and Finding the World”

ONE WAY TO LOSE a popularity contest in the United States is to mention in polite company — who may be chatting about, say, the impeachment or the Mueller investigation — the numerous ways the United States has meddled in the affairs of other countries throughout many years.

Rigging elections might be the most benign offense on a list that includes engineering military coups, forcing economic policies beneficial to corporations, or blasting another country to bits. And if you mention any of these truths, and the wrong person is in the crowd, there is a chance that the rebuttal will be the following old insult: if you don’t like the country, why don’t you just leave?

Belén Fernández did just that. And it was no whim. As she explains in her book Exile: Rejecting America and Finding the World, she left because the United States is, as she writes, a “large-scale lab experiment on how to best crush the human soul.”

The book carries the momentum of that very sentence, as Fernández relates more than 15 years spent journeying through Lebanon, Honduras, Turkey, Italy, and other places. The result is one of the most poignant, searing, and, at times, deadpan critiques of the United States and its mass media that I have ever read.

Fernández begins by describing her upbringing in the United States, including debilitating panic attacks that persisted into her university years. She attributed the panic attacks to “the fear that no one would help me — hardly an irrational sentiment in a system predicated on individual isolation and general estrangement from humanity.” This led to her 2003 departure from the United States, for good, with no other plan but just to get out. She left and never came back.

The result is an extraordinary and unorthodox travelogue.

Read the full review here.

“ At the end of his court martial for treason, the fictional character, Lieutenant Philip Nolan, was asked if he had anything to say to the court before sentencing. Rashly, he blurted out, “Damn the United States! I wish I may never hear of the United States again!””—Counterpunch on BELÉN FERNÁNDEZ’s EXILE

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2019

Counterpunch reviews Exile!

Early in Exile, Fernández makes clear her disdain for American-style hypocrisy — its willingness to force its brand of Exceptionalism, an olio of neoconservative militarism married to debt-inducing neoliberalism, while allowing its own domestic policy-making to so erode confidence in the American Dream that the country entered social and economic crises, so catastrophic that citizens risked everything to elect a populist clown as president. As Fernández puts it,

Lest folks start to view the state itself as public enemy number one, however, more convenient menaces are regularly trotted out. In addition to the usual domestic suspects—blacks, poor people, immigrants, and so on—the wider world has proved fertile terrain for the manufacture of any number of freedom-imperiling demons.

They say, ‘America, love it or leave it’: She left.

Read the full review here.

“When I arrived in Tegucigalpa, exactly a month after the 2009 coup, Honduran men and women had once again found themselves in the crosshairs, as peaceful anti-coup marches were routinely met with maniacal opposition by Honduran soldiers and police”—an excerpt of Exile by Belén Fernández in Jacobin

Monday, August 12th, 2019

How the US Created Violent Chaos in Honduras

In the predawn hours of June 28, 2009, heavily armed Honduran soldiers descended upon the Tegucigalpa residence of the nation’s president, Manuel (Mel) Zelaya, and carted him off to Costa Rica in his pajamas, never again to be restored to his lawful post.

Ever so slightly left-leaning, Zelaya had stepped on the toes of the entrenched Honduran oligarchy, whose members had long ago pledged allegiance to the predatory capitalism endorsed by their benefactors in the United States. Not only had Zelaya raised the monthly urban and rural minimum wages to a whopping $290 and $213, respectively, he had also shown himself to be more willing than his predecessors to listen to the complaints of impoverished communities affected by mining and other toxic operations by international corporations. All of this naturally indicated that the communist apocalypse was nigh.

Read the full excerpt here.

“ I doubt there’s another journalist quite like her. Even the valiant Marie Colvin had a fixed address in London. Not only that, but Fernández’s prose is so incisive, pithy, powerful, and often funny, I feel like an interloper when trying to convey her words using my own.”—Counterpunch on BELÉN FERNÁNDEZ’s EXILE

Friday, April 26th, 2019

“I doubt there’s another journalist quite like her. Even the valiant Marie Colvin had a fixed address in London. Not only that, but Fernández’s prose is so incisive, pithy, powerful, and often funny, I feel like an interloper when trying to convey her words using my own. …This is the grandeur of Fernández’s book: the humanity of others and (not that she would say it) her own….. Belén Fernández travels and writes but she isn’t a travel writer…She finds the injustice and provides the context that explains it. Which means that, thanks to her ‘grotesque’ passport and what her sharp eye lights upon, although she escaped from her homeland she’s constantly lugging its baggage.”

Read the full review here.

“This is hardcore, down-dirty travel and travel writing. A personal  Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism. A new and powerful form of nonfiction, a primer.” —The Eurasia Review on BELÉN FERNÁNDEZ’ EXILE

Thursday, April 18th, 2019

“This is not a travel book for the faint-hearted, or even a guidebook for where to go, what to do. This is hardcore, down-dirty travel and travel writing. A personal Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism. A new and powerful form of nonfiction, a primer….Belén is one of a new breed of travel writers, documenting the crumbling of empire in all its savagery, and our struggle against it.”

Read the full article here.

“There’s nothing like a good migrant scapegoat to detract public attention from elite pillaging of the country and other unpleasantries.” – BELÉN FERNÁNDEZ, author of our forthcoming EXILE : Rejecting America and Finding the World, in Aljazeera

Friday, February 1st, 2019


Beyond the issue of hypocritical US dependence on so-called “illegal” immigration, it is worth considering how the “great guacamole famine of 2019” stacks up against other border-related catastrophes – like the US vilification and exploitation of Mexicans and Central Americans who were forced to migrate northward thanks in large part to US regional machinations in the first place.

Indeed, under normal circumstances, those avocados enjoy superior cross-border freedom of movement compared with, say, the seven-year-old girl who recently died in US Border Patrol custody after journeying from her native Guatemala – a country the US has devoted much time to screwing over politically and financially.

Ditto for migrants from Honduras and other locales where the US habit of backing violent regimes and increasing widespread poverty – pardon, “capitalism” – means that daily existence can often constitute an apocalyptic scenario unto itself and has driven entire families in to participate in one of the largest mass migrations in recent history.

Anyway, back to serious news and the real existential question: “No guac for the Super Bowl?”, as USA Today puts it.

But whether the guacamole materialises in time or viewers have to make do with gobs of non-cheese cheese, there is plenty about the current spectacle in the US that should make one sick to one’s stomach.

Read the article here.

Verified by MonsterInsights