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8,800 Deported Children

Central American News
8,800 Deported Children
By Central American News • Issue #111 • View online

Dear Readers,
About 8,800 unaccompanied children who were at the border between Mexico and the U.S. have been immediately expelled without having had the possibility of placing their case for asylum. The reason for their expulsion – and for the end of asylum procedures – is taxed on COVID-19. In total, 159,000 people have been deported since March.
The migrants who were already in detention face the risk of becoming infected with COVID-19. A detention center in Virginia has been flagged for having 90% of infection – or 300 people. One person died. This outbreak could have been caused by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as they flew detainees to the detention center to use these planes to transport agents to suppress D.C. protests back in June.
In the meantime, Border Patrol did not test any detainees for COVID-19 last spring. State priorities were elsewhere: Border Patrol had the time and energy to produce a dramatized video narrating the chase of an undocumented migrant. Between July and August, ICE conducted a mass operation to arrest 2,000 migrants.
Migration advocates, lawyers, and some judges in the justice system try to ensure that migrants have due process and human rights. But from what we report week after week, the fight is tough, especially in the months leading up to U.S. presidential elections.
Read more about migration, news from the region, our new instagram feature Cafecito con Central, essential reads (and the folkloric spiritual entities who spook Central Americans!) below. Also, check out all our useful links.
Photo of the week
Photo from Wavering Stripes is a multimedia collection of stories about the flawed migration system in United States.
Photo from Wavering Stripes is a multimedia collection of stories about the flawed migration system in United States.
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📰 Detention Centers: An outbreak of COVID-19 in a detention center infected 90% of the detainees. This was revealed after an inspection ordered by a judge, which recommended the release of detainees at greatest risk of infection and death. This outbreak could have been caused by ICE, who flew detainees to Virginia so the planes could transport agents to suppress D.C. protests. 
📰 Migration Policies: Trump administration considers postponing refugee admissions, U.S. official says. // A federal court ruled that President Trump’s order to exclude undocumented immigrants from census numbers is unlawful. // Mexico diverted money from development to contain migration
📰 COVID-19: About 8,800 unaccompanied children have been expelled at the U.S.-Mexico border due to COVID-19-related measure.

📰 Politics: The Ministry of National Security launched the “Woman, Peace and Security Agenda” to address the safety and well-being of women in the Belizean military. // The People’s United Party released its agricultural policy, which includes the prohibition of importing locally-grown produce in order to boost local production.
📰 September Celebrations: September is celebration month in Belize—but this year, national celebrations are happening virtually, including the commemoration of the 222nd anniversary of the Battle of St George’s Caye.
📰 COVID-19: Belize has administered nearly 10,000 coronavirus tests and has confirmed over 1,300 positive tests in total, 977 cases remain active.

Costa Rica
📰 Mining: Miners have closed off road in the Abangares canton in Costa Rica demanding that the government provide them some form of legal security to sell the gold they extract from the mines and that the government comply with legal agreements it made with miners weeks ago.
📰 Sexual Abuse: Two Costa Rican women have withdrawn their sexual abuse complaints against former Costa Rican President and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Oscar Arias, with no immediate explanation for the victims’ decisions. 
📰 COVID-19: The National Union of Medical Specialists (SINAME) has called for more face masks and medical resources in face of risk of a collapse of the health system where intensive care units are overcrowded.

El Salvador
📰 Ongoing Investigations: Attorney General Raúl Melara launched searches in prisons after the press uncovered evidence that President Nayib Bukele’s administration has been negotiating with MS13 gang leaders for political favors. He said: “not acceptable from any perspective”. There are least 14 ongoing corruption investigations into the administration.
📰 Montano Sentenced: A Spanish court sentenced former colonel and vice-minister of public security Inocente Montano, 77, to 133 years in prison for coordinating the murder of 5 members of the Jesuit brotherhood in 1989.
📰 Press Freedom: A group of U.S. congressional Democrats sent a letter to Bukele’s administration expressing concerns for attacks against the media covering El Salvador. The letter points to coordinated cyber-attacks and raids against journalists. 
📰 Constitutional Question: Bukele said he does not intend to reform the government as a constitutional republic after proposing a study of the 1883 Constitution’s “errors, contradictions and gaps”.

📰 Freedom of press: Journalist Sonny Figueroa was assaulted and arrested in Guatemala City on September 11. When he was assaulted, he asked for support and the National Civil Police (PNC) were called; instead of helping Figueroa they allegedly assaulted him and arrested him. This attack and arrest follows two days after he published the “Core Government”, an investigative report on the key players in the government.  The journalist was later released. 
📰 Human Rights Defenders: Norway’s Ambassador to Central America urges the Guatemalan government to investigate the killings, disappearances, and attacks on human rights defenders in Guatemala. 
📰 Water Law: The representatives of 48 indigenous cantons of Totonicapán rejected the water law proposal and asked the political party National Unity of Hope (UNE) for support. The water law proposal allegedly includes a register of basins, rivers, lakes and sources and the indigenous maya k'iche’ leaders do not want water coming from their region to be regulated by the state.

📰 Corruption: The National Anti-Corruption Council denounced that corruption during the pandemic adds up to more than U$11 million dollars. // The Platform for the Defense of Health and Education convened a protest in the city of Tegucigalpa to protest the corruption in the handling of the pandemic. 
 📰 Elections: The National Congress began the first debate on the new Electoral Law, which will become the regulations for the primary and general elections of 2021. The goal is to have “clear rules” for the next elections. This debate does not include the possibility of having a second round in the elections.
📰 Garifuna Communities: The National Police stated that they are “awaiting the issuance of arrest warrants” related to the disappearance of the five men of the Garífuna community El Triunfo de la Cruz. Residents of this community say they “live an atmosphere of anxiety, sadness and helplessness.”
📰 Solidarity Subsidy: The Confraternidad Evangelica (“Evangelical Brotherhood) asked the government to support pastors due to COVID-19 crisis. The religious group affirmed that the government accepted their request, and would be given a “solidarity subsidy”. This has caused much controversy among other religious and private sector leaders.

📰 Sexual Violence: A Court of Conscience (organized by the Arias Foundation) found President Daniel Ortega and his wife and Vice President Rosario Murillo responsible for using sexual violence as a method of torture and crimes against humanity against Nicaraguan citizens. 
📰 Police Reports: The police declares to have confiscated more than $20 million from organized crime, but do not detail the use nor destination of these funds. // People have started putting up posters against the government in 132 municipalities, the police increased arbitrary arrests. A woman who participated in the poster campaign claims to have been sexually assaulted and harassed by the police.
📰 Freedom of Press: The General Revenue Office (DGI) seized television Channel 12 for an alleged tax debt of U$600,000 and the assets of its owner Mario Valle, while maintaining the same threat against Channel 10.
📰 Education: National Autonomous University of Nicaragua fires at least 15 professors after they were elected to the Union of Higher Education Professionals (SIPOES). Recently, the University Council of UNAN-León conferred upon the dean the power to sanction, cancel, or expel any member of the community who “threatens peace.”

📰 COVID-19: Panama has surpassed 100,000 cases of COVID-19. The fatality rate remains at 2.1%. The latest report from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) also shows that "Reproductive Effectiveness” has been declining since August, which reflects a sustained transmission of the new coronavirus.
📰 Gender: Panama is lifting mobility restrictions by gender and implementing a curfew in several provinces – so long as the health crisis maintains a 3% lethal margin, there is a 20% availability of beds in the ward, as well as the availability of 15% in intensive care units and special respiratory care units. 
📰 Construction Resumes: Construction projects across the country will be reactivated this week allowing hundreds of workers to return to work, during the rainy season, after six months of forced unemployment due to COVID-19.
📰 “Venephobia”: Approximately 150,000 Venezuelans have fled to Panama. Those who have worked in medical professions in their home country struggle to find work in Panama since the professions of doctor, nurse, and pharmacist require citizenship. A nationalist sentiment that Panama “is for Panamanians” has been on the rise since 2016 and the UNHCR has observed the rise of xenophobia, particularly against Venezuelan immigrants. 
Our COVID-19 Map
Visit our interactive COVID-19 map in Central America
Visit our interactive COVID-19 map in Central America
Good Reads
📌From the Archive: “The United States applied in Central America everything it learned in Vietnam” Scott Wallace says the famous photojournalist who covered the region during the crisis of the 1980s. The BBC.
📌Disappeared Women in Honduras: More than 3,037 women were reported missing in Honduras in the last 12 years. In the absence of information and protocols, women in the country have organized themselves to demand answers (Contracorriente). 
📌”Media Cuartilla”: Nicaraguan journalist Matilde Córdoba creates Media Cuartilla (“Half-page”), a communication media that contributes to the analysis of gender inequalities and gives voices to women.
Cafecito con Central American News
Want to know what is going on in Honduras regarding COVID-19? Watch our recorded IG live with our Honduran news curator, Jalileh!
🎥 Wavering Stripes: The deadly impact of inmigration detention in the United States, an interactive exhibition of the story of immigrants in the US detention centers. (Wavering Stripes)
🎥 BLM Belize: The Latino Media Collective interviewed Nicole Ramsey, a PhD candidate at UC Berkeley, about the Black Lives Matter movement in Belize. (Latino Media Collective)
🎥 Afro-Latino: A new PBS travel series brings Afro-Latino culture to the forefront and showcasing the historical, epicurean, and artistic influences of this heritage in Costa Rica. (Forbes)
Panameño en Rusia
Panamanian dancer Diego Calderon Armien has just won an outstanding theatrical award for his role as King Julius in The Three Masks of the King, of the Samara Opera and Ballet Theater, directed by the renowned choreographer Yuriy Smekalov.
Panamanian dancer Diego Calderon Armien has just won an outstanding theatrical award for his role as King Julius in The Three Masks of the King, of the Samara Opera and Ballet Theater, directed by the renowned choreographer Yuriy Smekalov.
Central American Cuisine
✍️ Salvadoran Cuisine: Karla Vasquez is trying to fill the void in Salvadoran cookbooks. Will book publishers listen? (LA Times)
✍️ Nicaraguan Cuisine: María Esther López shares Nicaraguan recipes for over 100,000 subscribers. (Confidencial)
✍️ Honduran Cuisine: Chef Melissa Araujo is bringing Honduran taste to New Orleans. (My High Plains)
Central American Podcasts for Film Lovers
A selection of Panamanian and Nicarguan film podcasts, including Toque de queda, Bichas & Cine, Panama Horror, and others.  
Spiritual Entities in Central America
Candela ✟☀️✟
Some of the ghosts, cryptids, gnomes, demons, and other Spiritual entities from the folklore of Central America

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The Team
Melissa Vida, Founder, Editor-in-Chief // Rodrigo Peñalba, Editor & Nicaragua News // Melissa Orellana, Editor // Jonathan Peraza Campos, Migration News // José Martínez, Podcast Producer, Social Media Officer // Natalie Leach, Social Media Officer // Cecilia Rivas, Podcast Co-host // Isabeau J. Belisle Dempsey, Belize News // Rachel Osorio, Costa Rica News // Pablo Arauz Peña, El Salvador News // Jalileh García, Honduras News // Nansi Rodríguez, Guatemala News // Fátima Ramírez, Panama News // Nicole Ramsey, Writer // Jacqui Martinez, Guest Art Curator
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