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A Trustworthy Police?

Central American News
A Trustworthy Police?
By Central American News • Issue #58 • View online

Dear Readers,
In El Salvador, the National Police executed 116 people between 2014 and 2018, according to a report released by El Salvador’s Attorney General for the Defense of Human Rights. The investigation reveals that police reported the unlawful killings as confrontations between police and gang members and implicates the left-wing FMLN government under Sánchez Cerén.
There would also be patterns where the police would torture the victim, threaten family members to avoid complaints and cover up the crime.
The phenomenon is not new - for example, it was found how US-funded police were linked to illegal executions in El Salvador - but this investigation reaches new depths of detail.
The report comes at a time when El Salvador is beefing up its security forces on the streets and are allegedly helping to reduce the country’s homicide rate. While much of the population seem to support the government and its security measures, human rights organizations fear that similar patterns of police abuse may emerge again, violating human rights and trust between communities and security forces.
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The team.
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Photo of the Week
Police from the now-defunct "Police Reaction Group" carry out an operation in the municipality of Quezaltepeque after the murder of a PNC agent. March 3, 2016. Photo: Fred Ramos for El Faro.
Police from the now-defunct "Police Reaction Group" carry out an operation in the municipality of Quezaltepeque after the murder of a PNC agent. March 3, 2016. Photo: Fred Ramos for El Faro.
📰 Health: 898 migrants were exposed to mumps outbreak in U.S. immigration custody. // Migrant girls in U.S. custody are not being given enough necessities for menstruation according to a lawsuit. 
📰 Immigration Enforcement: Trump administration has eliminated a protection that lets immigrants avoid deportation while they or their relatives receive life-saving medical treatments. // Google is found to provide cloud software to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
📰 In U.S. Custody: The Trump administration wants to enable Customs and Border Protection officials to collect DNA samples from undocumented immigrants in its custody.
📰 In Mexico: Mexican president AMLO is having difficulty obtaining U.S. funding for his proposed Marshall Plan for Central America. // The United Nations’ Committee Against Racial Discrimination wants to investigate excessive force by Mexican authorities and requested that the National Guard cease immigration enforcement operations. // The Mexican Episcopate Conference (CEM in Spanish) demanded that the Mexican government treat migrants better.
📰CICIG: The Constitutional Court did not grant a provisional protection to reverse President Morales’ non-renewal of the  International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG). CICIG’s work officially concludes on September 3 and it will be leaving 60 cases for investigation, including on the illegal espionage mechanisms involving the telephone company Tigo and the current Minister of Economy Acisclo Valladares Urruela.
📰Politics: Alejandro Giammattei held a press conference and announced his plans for the future, ranging from Central American integration through a regional intelligence center, the installation of maquilas on the border with Mexico, and revealed details of a commission that could fill the space left by the CICIG.
📰 Migration: Migration agents and members of the US border patrol have arrived in Guatemala and are instructing the National Civil Police (PNC) to stop migrants through the pilot plan Guatemala Assistance in Irregular Migration (GAIM).
📰Environment: Climate change is affecting growth rate of Belize’s coral reefs and Belize continues to suffer dramatically from regional drought. The Department of Environment addresses citizen concerns over pollution of the New River, which had a crisis of dying fish.
📰Culture: Orange Walk district celebrates Maya Heroes Day, which aims to commemorate those who have safeguarded Maya tradition and history.
El Salvador
📰 U.S. Cooperation: Acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan and Salvadoran officials signed a non-binding letter of intent to cooperate to combat criminal organizations and reduce migration to the US. El Salvador is thinking about strengthening its Border Patrol to stop irregular migration and human trafficking.
📰 Day of the Disappeared: On the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, families of victims commemorated their disappeared loved ones and human rights organizations advocated for greater government response to the tragedy of missing and disappeared people in El Salvador.
📰 Equal Work, Equal Pay: On Thursday the Legislative Assembly approved a reform that will guarantee the equal compensation of women and people with disabilities with other workers that perform the same work. 
📰Anti-Corruption Commission: The Secretary of the Organization of American States announced that a technical mission will arrive in El Salvador next week to install the International Commission against Impunity in El Salvador (CICIES).  
📰Land defenders: Roberto Antonio Argueta Tejada was murdered after being criminalized for his labor as a defender of the Guapinol River. The UN High Commissioner’s Office in Honduras and CEJIL condemned his death, as well as the militarization used against defenders of the Guapinol River. 
📰Corruption: The Public Ministry requested a penalty of 77 years for Former First Lady, Rosa Elena de Lobo, for crimes of fraud and misappropriation. 
📰Extractive Industry: In the Municipality of Santiago de Puringla in the department of La Paz, through an open town hall, dozens of Lenca indigenous communities made a declaration against mining and hydroelectric projects. 
📰 Diplomacy: The Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) has initiated a 75-day countdown for the Ortega-Murillo regime to negotiate a solution to Nicaragua’s socio-political crisis with the “high-level commission” formed by diplomatic representatives from the United States, Canada, Jamaica, Paraguay and Argentina. This commission may recommend to apply the democratic charter against Nicaragua if the government does not accept to resolve the political and human rights crisis. 
📰 Electoral Reforms: The government wants the support of the OAS for its electoral reforms. Alianza Cívica is proposing its own lists of electoral reforms.
📰 Justice: Human rights lawyer María Oviedo was found guilty on charges of “obstruction of justice” while defending herself from police harassment. // Political prisoners lists grows to 126. // Sandinistas and policemen besiege mass for political prisoners.
📰 Economy: Minimum wage will not be increased until at least February 2020. The last time time the minimum wage was raised was in September 2018, but a new fiscal reform, a social security reform, and accumulated inflation are factors that are diminishing purchasing power and consumption.
Costa Rica
📰 Nicaraguan army: Tension increases between Costa Rica and Nicaragua due to an apparent Nicaraguan military raid at a border crossing on Costa Rican territory, which left a young Nicaraguan man dead.
📰 Visit to Panama: President Alvarado of Costa Rica paid an official visit to Panama and met with President Cortizo. The agenda addressed common issues such as migration, security, tourism and commerce. 
📰U.S. Visit: The acting U.S. homeland security secretary visited a camp in the Panamanian jungle housing hundreds of migrants who survived the perilous border crossing from Colombia, usually heading for the United States. President Cortizo said Panama won’t sign to be a ‘safe third country’ for US asylum seekers, as Washington puts on pressure.
📰 Trade: The Free Trade Agreement with Israel was rendered to the National Assembly for ratification
📰 Colombian crisis: Panama discusses how the recent announcement of FARC groups returning to armed fight in Colombia might affect the country.
Children's Dreams
BuzzFeed News interviews asylum-seeking children on what they would like to become and takes their portraits. Here, Genesis, 9, wants to become an attorney.
“I want to be able to work calmly and not have to do something that puts my life at risk or makes me work under the sun too long. Anything that will give me a better future,” Genesis said in Spanish. “I want to help kids.”
“I want to be able to work calmly and not have to do something that puts my life at risk or makes me work under the sun too long. Anything that will give me a better future,” Genesis said in Spanish. “I want to help kids.”
Good Reads
🖊️ Aljazeera gives insight on what it is like for relatives of the estimated 45,000 people that disappeared during Guatemala’s 36-year armed conflict and the country’s progress in the matter.
🗨️ Dr. Suyapa Portillo Villeda argues in Counterpunch that the U.S. government has never allowed Hondurans to practice democracy in order to preserve geopolitical interests. 
🖊️ The Guardian reports on the continued struggle for justice in the case of Berta Cáceres. Most recently, Cáceres’ children have applied to a US federal court to subpoena bank records linked to a $1.4m luxury house in Texas purchased by the alleged mastermind of the crime. 
🗨️ In Jacobin Magazine, an op-ed examines how the U.S. contributed to the formation of MS-13 in El Salvador, arguing that U.S. imperialism is a key factor. 
🗨️ 4to Mono analyzes how the debate on minimum wage in Nicaragua is a catch 22 problem because the government sank the economy by being repressive.
📺 This video made by Radio Progreso explains why the Honduran government insists on criminalizing the defenders of the Guapinol river.
The Team
Melissa Vida, Founder and Editor
Nansi Rodríguez, Guatemala News
Rodrigo Peñalba, Nicaragua News
Jonathan Peraza Campos, Migration News
Jalileh García, Honduras News
Rachel Ketola, El Salvador News
Rachel Osorio, Costa Rica News
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