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Amnesty Law VS War Survivors

Central American News
Amnesty Law VS War Survivors
By Central American News • Issue #45 • View online

Dear Readers,
Welcome back to another week of Central American news!
El Salvador’s legislative assembly was about to pass a law dubbed by many as an “Amnesty Law” because it would have let those accused of war crimes off the hook. Strong pressure from human rights groups, international actors and the Salvadoran Constitutional Court dissuaded a few lawmakers from signing it. On Monday, lawmakers will briefly consult army veterans, churches, lawyers and survivors to see how to modify it.
Neighboring Guatemala - whose lawmakers are also discussing an amnesty law - is grappling with its past too. And the arts are taking up these subjects. The film Nuestras Madres talks about the postwar generation, and in particular of a young Guatemalan anthropologist who looks for answers about his father, who had gone missing during the conflict. It just won the Caméra d'or award at the Cannes Film Festival!
Have you seen the film? What do you think about transitional justice, amnesty laws and historical memory?
Salú
Melissa
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The newsletter was born with the vision of making Central American news accessible to all because we believe that information is power. Not only that, we want it to reflect what is happening from the ground up instead of only focusing on what matters to external countries - like the stereotypical coverage of only migration or violence.
Photo of the Day
On Thursday, survivors of wartime atrocities and their supporters gathered to protest the amnesty law proposed by El Salvador’s Legislative Assembly. Credit: Cristosal
On Thursday, survivors of wartime atrocities and their supporters gathered to protest the amnesty law proposed by El Salvador’s Legislative Assembly. Credit: Cristosal
Headlines
Migration
📰 Migrant deaths: A 16-year-old boy was found unresponsive in a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility in Texas, becoming the fifth child to die while in U.S. custody. Also, this past week, a 10 year old girl from El Salvador was reported to have died in 2018 while in U.S. custody. A Border Patrol agent accused of hitting a Guatemalan man with his truck reportedly called migrants ‘subhuman’ and 'savages’ weeks earlier.
📰 Border Wall: A federal judge blocked the White House’s plan to build a wall along the southern U.S. border with a ruling that prohibits White House officials from proceeding on construction projects with funds that Congress had not approved.
📰 Detention: Newly obtained documents show that thousands of immigrants have been placed in solitary confinement in U.S. detention centers oftentimes for reasons unjustified by the rules.
📰 Economic aid: Mexico and the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) present a “Marshall Plan” for Central America and await U.S. financial support.
Honduras
📰Corruption: Anti-corruption bodies filed the 12th corruption case called “narco-politics” against 12 high profile businessmen, government officials and family members of the former president. Former President Porfirio Lobo Sosa is also mentioned, but the Public Ministry prefers to investigate him in a “broader” way.
📰Penal Code: Congressman Mario Perez, president of the Penal Code Commission, says they are willing to listen to the demands of citizens and businesspeople to make reforms to the Penal Code, but that the law will take into effect this November.
📰Protests: National protests took place on Friday by education and health sectors, along with students from 20 institutions, and demanded the complete elimination of the health and education reforms introduced earlier in the year.  
📰Human Rights: The Inter-American Commission for Human Rights (IACHR) held a meeting with Honduran civil society organizations in follow-up to the country visit carried out in July 2018.
El Salvador
📰 Amnesty Law: The Legislative Assembly failed to pass new “reconciliation law” in the wake of national and international pressure and the survivors of war atrocities handed in an “alternative” proposal. The Assembly will consult with churches, human rights organizations and the Armed Forces on Monday before presenting a modified proposal.
📰 Corruption: José Luis Merino - one of the highest high-ranking officials of the FMLN - is included on the US State Department’s list of corrupt officials in El Salvador. Merino has been accused of laundering over $400 million through shell companies.
📰 Violence: A priest has been killed in Sonsonate and the Catholic church seeks justice for his murder.
Guatemala
📰Justice: Interpol located Mario Castillo in the United States. He was the former running partner of Sandra Torres in 2015 and is requested for cases of influence peddling and electoral financing.
📰Elections: Retired military men blocked roads and threatened to boycott the presidential elections on June 16 if they do not receive compensation for their service during the Guatemalan civil war.
📰 Indigenous peoples: Ancestral Authorities of the Maya, Garifuna and Xinca peoples and the Tz'ununija’ Indigenous Women’s Movement highlighted the racial discrimination against indigenous communities in report written by United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD).
Panama
📰 IDB loan: The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) approved a loan of 40 million dollars to support the economic development of indigenous peoples in Panama.
📰 Economy: Panama’s economic activity grew by 3.41% between January and March 2019.
📰 Migrants: The UN launches a campaign in Panama that promotes empathy with migrants.
Nicaragua
📰 International pressure: OAS calls Nicaragua to release jailed protesters by June 18. OAS will discuss the application of the democratic charter to Nicaragua on June 26, which could bring more sanctions to the government. The Inter-American Court orders for the first time that Nicaragua to protect 17 political prisoners and wants to visit the prisons. Disobeying this order would put Nicaragua in contempt of court and could bring consequences to the government.
📰 General strike: Alianza Cívica called for a general strike to release political prisoners. This is the fifth national strike to take place since a political crisis gripped the country more than one year ago. Seven of every 10 business closed on May 23, private companies said.
📰 Medicine shortages: The Ministry of Health suffers shortages of medicines against HIV, according to Arely Cano, director of the International Women’s Community. Cano later said that she has received threats against her life after denouncing this.
📰 Oil: Nicaragua stops buying oil from Venezuela and buys from the U.S. In the first 2 months of 2019, US oil represented more than 70% of the total value of oil purchases.
Costa Rica
📰 Crime: Costa Rica announced on Thursday that it has experienced a decrease in murders and an increase in the confiscation of illegal weapons due to tighter gun control.
📰 Meteorite: A meteorite that struck a Costa Rican town last month has been called an “extraterrestrial mud ball” by scientists, which could provide insights into the origin of our solar system.
Belize
📰 Referendum: Belize Peace Movement continues to challenge the People’s United Party’s claim that the ICJ referendum is unconstitutional.
Artwork
In this Sept. 6, 2018 photo that was published on May 23, 2019, tattoo artist known as Enrique inks the image of the train known as "La Bestia" on the arm of a migrant from El Salvador in Mexico City. The migrant wanted to memorialize one of his many trips on the train that took him from the Mexico – Guatemala border all the way north. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)
In this Sept. 6, 2018 photo that was published on May 23, 2019, tattoo artist known as Enrique inks the image of the train known as "La Bestia" on the arm of a migrant from El Salvador in Mexico City. The migrant wanted to memorialize one of his many trips on the train that took him from the Mexico – Guatemala border all the way north. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)
Good Reads
📚 The Guardian’s story on how the parents of Claudia Gómez - a 20-year old indigenous woman from Guatemala who was shot by a border patrol agent in May 2018 - are seeking justice. “A year on, and her parents still have no idea who killed her, or why.”
💬Recently, the New York Times released a report about a community fighting back against the MS-13 in San Pedro Sula. Sociologist Juan Martinez wrote in Contracorriente how that article exposed the identities, photos, and houses of the interviewed people of the Rivera Hernandez neighborhood without their permission.
💬 Photojournalist Scott Wallace shares in an interview how the tactics and knowledge U.S. soldiers and officials developed during the Vietnam War were being used throughout Central America during the Cold War.
Multimedia & Art
📷 Photographs from Reuters of a U.S. Border Patrol migrant camp with drones.
🎥 Guatemalan Director Cesar Diaz wins Camera d’Or Award for his film Our Mothers/Nuestras madres at Cannes film festival.
Cannes 2019: el film 'Nuestras madres' fue galardonado por los expertos
Cannes 2019: el film 'Nuestras madres' fue galardonado por los expertos
Fact
✔️ First Human Rights Museum in Central America opens in Panama.
Team
Melissa Vida, Founder and Editor
Nansi Rodríguez, Guatemala News
Rodrigo Peñalba, Nicaragua News
Jonathan Peraza, Migration News
Jalileh García, Honduras News
Rachel Ketola, El Salvador News
Rachel Osorio, Costa Rica News
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