Flight to Freedom: The Story of Central American Refugees in California


by Rossana Pérez

English translation by Carolina Villarroel

ISBN: 978-1-55885-329-4
Publication Date: November 30, 2007
Bind: Trade Paperback
Pages: 224

A momentous collection of first-person testimonies about the horrors of war and political persecution in Central America.

Look Inside



“They had been massacred, assassinated. [The death squad] had pulled off their nails. They had been burned with acid … shot in the head.” In a provoking, first-person account of the horrors of war and political persecution, Salvadoran refugee and community leader Carlos Vaquerano remembers the day that his brother Marcial and seven others were brutally murdered by the death squads supported by his country’s violent right-wing government.

When a sister in the United States offers to help him emigrate, Carlos and his family agree that he has no other options. So, like the more than one million Central American refugees fleeing the atrocities of war, Carlos makes the difficult journey through Mexico and into the U.S. Once here, though, he cannot forget his brother’s admonishment: “Never forget that you have to fight so that justice exists in our country.” Fulfilling his brother’s plea, Carlos Vaquerano would go on to establish the Salvadoran-American Leadership and Educational Fund, one of the nation’s leading Central American organizations.

Each of the eight people interviewed for this landmark collection—Carmen Alegría, Isabel Beltrán, Juan Ramón Cardona, Eduardo González, Javier Huete, Alicia Mendoza, Rossana Pérez, and Carlos Vaquerano—is a leader in the Salvadoran / Central American refugee movement. Consequently, this book offers insight into the early philosophy and framework of the movement as revealed by some of its pioneers.

Published as part of the Hispanic Civil Rights Series, this compelling and historically significant volume collects the personal narratives of Central American refugees who fled the violence in their homelands and became leading community advocates at the forefront of social justice.