Reality Check

Al Jazeera: 'No other option': Climate change driving many to flee Guatemala

Juan de Leon Gutierrez, 16, left his eastern Guatemala home due to years of drought. He died in US custody weeks later.

The rains in the village of Tizamarte in the eastern Guatemalan department of Chiquimula no longer arrive as they did in the past.

"Before it was beautiful, we used to have two harvests a year," Transito Gutierrez told Al Jazeera.

"Now not one [crop] survives," she said. "Now we cannot do anything. This drought does not end."

Gutierrez's hardship goes deeper than the lost crops, however. Last month, her 16-year-old son, Juan de Leon, died while in US custody after migrating to the US to find work and send money back home to his family.

"[Juan] told me that the coffee plants were dying. He said he was desperate," Gutierrez told Al Jazeera earlier this month. "He said he could earn more there in the United Statesthan here. He could earn more than the $4 a day working in the field."

While the cause of Juan's death is still being investigated by US authorities, the reasons that pushed him to migrate in the first place are the same driving many families in this region to make the journey to the US: Years of drought due in part to climate change are driving more and more residents north to find work to support their families.

Click here to read full article on Al Jazeera 

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