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Anonymous Hacked Nicaragua's Health Ministry

Central American News
Anonymous Hacked Nicaragua's Health Ministry
By Central American News • Issue #108 • View online

Dear Readers,
While the region is still battling COVID-19 and corruption cases, the fight for transparent information continues in Nicaragua. Last week, Nicaragua’s Health Ministry archives have been hacked by Anonymous.
Anonymous, through the member “Lorian Syrano”, has attacked Nicaragua’s government, banks and police servers several times since 2018. In April and May 2020, the websites of the Central Bank bank, the Nicaraguan electricity company and television channels, among others, were taken down to protest the government’s handling of COVID-19.
On August 17, Lorian Syrano hacked the databases of the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health. Nicaragua has been, since the beginning of the pandemic, singled out for its opacity on the rate of COVID-19 contagion and tests made in the country. Anonymous found that the Ministry hid more than 6,200 positive COVID-19 cases from the public; the archive hacked by Anonymous can be downloaded here.
Because Nicaragua’s government is particularly non-transparent with regards to COVID-19 data, we have updated our COVID-19 map to reflect “suspected cases” of the virus, in addition to official numbers.
Follow us on Twitter and Instagram for news and posts throughout the week. Happy news reading!
Artwork by Patricia Hernandez
"As a Salvadoran born and raised in El Salvador and being a "child of war", my family suffered mentally to see everything that happened during the war in the 80s'. The song "Casas de carton" by the Guaraguao is dedicated to the farmers, the children and families who were the true targets and victims. This piece is dedicated to all my native people, to the victims and to the future kids who have this wonderful skin color like mine," Patricia says. Click on the photo for her instagram.
"As a Salvadoran born and raised in El Salvador and being a "child of war", my family suffered mentally to see everything that happened during the war in the 80s'. The song "Casas de carton" by the Guaraguao is dedicated to the farmers, the children and families who were the true targets and victims. This piece is dedicated to all my native people, to the victims and to the future kids who have this wonderful skin color like mine," Patricia says. Click on the photo for her instagram.
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📰 Shadow System: The Trump administration has been detaining children and families in major hotel chains through a “shadow system” that denies migrants their rights and leads to quick expulsion. 
📰Asylum Seekers: Guatemalan leader at a migrant camp in Mexico recently drowned, leaving many in the camp grieving his loss after months of struggling against the elements. //  Trump’s proposed asylum regulations threaten LGBTQ+ people’s ability to seek refuge in the United States. // The Trump cabinet would have voted in 2018 to separate families at the border; this is being criticized as a “display of white supremacy”.
 📰Border Fraud: Former White House adviser Steve Bannon and three others were charged by federal prosecutors for defrauding donors through a fundraising campaign purported to fund Trump’s border wall. 
📰Deportations to Guatemala: The U.S. government deported 127 detained migrants who had recovered from COVID-19 to Guatemala, according to Guatemalan officials.

📰 COVID-19: 52 more cases of COVID were confirmed, bringing Belize to over 600 active cases. Here’s a breakdown of total COVID cases by district
📰 State of Emergency Arrests: Over 180 arrests have been made during the State of Emergency for not wearing masks, including a 14-year-old girl not wearing a mask when at a store.
📰 Hurricane Marco: Hurricane Marco is strengthening as it continues moving toward northern Belize, causing concern over impending damages.

Costa Rica 
📰 Tourism: Starting on September 1st, Costa Rica will be accepting tourists from the U.S. that are residents of one of the 6 approved states.
📰 COVID-19: President Carlos Alvarado announced that the government will be carrying out different steps to help set aside funds to buy vaccines against COVID-19 when they can be acquired. // Researchers have found SARS-CoV-2 virus particles in a wastewater treatment plant and in other different areas of Costa Rica, during the months of July and August. Authorities insist that there is no scientific evidence that COVID-19 is transmitted through wastewater or drinking water.
📰 Opinion survey: A poll finds that Costa Ricans are more worried about unemployment than the coronavirus. Unemployment ranked as their biggest concern with 27.95%, followed by the coronavirus (25%), and the economy and cost of living (19%).
El Salvador
📰 Storm Warnings: Thirteen municipalities were on moderate alert this weekend due to tropical storms Marco and Laura. The Civil Protection agency warned of floods and landslides, with a focus on the coastal and volcanic mountain corridor areas.
📰 Child Abuse: An investigative court held the trial of priest José Venancio Boror Uz, 60, for abusing two girls aged 9 and 10. The Public Ministry said on Thursday that the fifth investigative court is charging Boror Uz for sexual assault and continued incapacity.
📰 Constitutional Defense: Parliamentary representatives interrogated Rear Admiral René Merino, Minister of Defense, on Friday morning about the constitutionality of the armed occupation of the parliament on February 9 as directed by President Nayib Bukele. The action was interpreted as a “coup” and raised international concerns.
📰 Emergency Audit: Parliament elected on Friday Roberto Antonio Anzora to oversee an audit of emergency pandemic funds used by the Bukele government.
📰 Reopening businesses: Starting Monday Aug 24, businesses, enterprises and other services will reopen their doors after a little more than 4 months closed due to the pandemic.
📰 #RenunciaGiammattei: A group of Guatemalans have gathered in protest against President Giammattei’s administration in Guatemala City, demanding his resignation as well as full transparency on the resources used for COVID-19.
📰 Abortion Rights: The Supreme Court ordered the Prosecutor to investigate the Human Rights Ombudsman, Jordán Rodas. It claims that Rodas did not comply with the court’s 2017 ruling to not distribute the Manual on Sexual and Reproductive Rights, which includes information on abortion. Then, the Comptroller General of Accounts claimed that the PDH’s 2019 budget was not in line with the budget approved by Congress. However, Rodas received support on social media with #YoApoyoAJordan.
📰 #CasoMolinaTheissen: Three military officers were sentenced to 33 years of prison for crimes against humanity and aggravated sexual assault against Emma Molina Theissen committed in 1981. On social media, many showed satisfaction about this sentence.
📰 Territories: President Giammattei and Vice President Castillo to establish a dialogue to peacefully fix territorial conflicts between Santa Catarina Ixtahuacán and Nahualá. The ancestral authorities of Santa Catarina have the communal property title of this land and they demand that the State and their neighbors to respect it. Arnoldo Noriega is part of the dialogue; he has been involved in promoting the interests of hydroelectric companies.

📰 Berta Cáceres: The preliminary hearing against David Castillo, one of the alleged masterminds of the murder of Berta Caceres, took place on Friday. The hearing had many irregularities: it was postponed on four occasions; the sitting judge, Lisseth Vallecillo, was replaced by Judge Irías two days prior to the hearing, the hearing was private, and Berta’s family members were removed from the virtual hearing. 
📰 Garifuna Communities: The UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED) has activated the urgent action procedure regarding the cases of the forcibly disappeared Garifuna men. // VICE featured this story in its latest report.
📰 COVID-19: The government has allowed citizens to circulate on weekends, with the respective digit of their identity card, passport or resident card. // Tourism activities have re-opened in its first phase. 
📰 Dengue: The Ministry of Health reported that there are 17.790 cases of dengue in the country. “We are on alert, that is, one step away from entering an epidemic, but that will depend on the citizens of the capital”, warned doctor Harry Book. 

📰 COVID-19: A leak from “Anonymous" reveals that the Health Minister hid over 6,200 COVID-19 cases. // 46 school teachers have died due to COVID-19, according to their union, while the government of Daniel Ortega celebrated the fact that they maintained classrooms open during the pandemic.
📰 Loans: To access the Inter-American Development Bank loan of $43 million, the government of Ortega will have to change its attitude with regards to the pandemic, by giving, for example, more detailed information on the status of contagion and promoting prevention measures. // The Central American Bank approved a $50 million loan to support small and medium companies. 
📰 Refugees: Nicaraguan exiles in Spain rejected “slavery in the fields” after a day laborer died of working under heatwave conditions. They also protested against delays in asylum applications. // Nicaraguan exiles in Costa Rica are facing harsh economic conditions and say that sometimes they do not have anything to eat.
📰 Caribbean: More than 80 Caribbean communities are affected by the rains in Nicaragua.

📰 Medical Staff: The Ministry of Health admits that it owes medical staff payment for overtime shifts and pledges to transfer $10 million from the national budget to purchase protective equipment and pay their wages. The decision comes after the death of four nurses due to COVID-19 last week and the threat for nurses to strike if their outstanding payments are not paid by August 31st. 
📰 Education Inequalities: Ministry of Education records indicate that between 2018 and 2019 more than 26,500 students dropped out of school, especially among rural areas, migrants, refugees, indigenous people and people with disabilities. While half a million students participate in distance learning, 30% have not been identified or registered in the system since the school year resumed in mid-July. 
📰 Floods and Landslides: After heavy rains this past weekend, floods were reported in Viejo Veranillo, and landslides were registered in Betania, two neighborhoods in Panama City. The National Civil Protection System warned Panamanians living on the coast to evacuate. 
📰 COVID-19 Testing: Panama reaches a new coronavirus testing record providing 5,000 tests per day–an increase from approximately 1,000 tests per day in April. The surge in testing also includes a new strategy to test those who are asymptomatic. 
Our COVID-19 Map
Click on the image to see updated official data. For Nicaragua, we have included suspected cases.
Click on the image to see updated official data. For Nicaragua, we have included suspected cases.
Good Reads
📌Race in Belize: What is Black consciousness in Belize? What is the perception of Black Belizeans about their own race and origin? (an opinion piece in Amandala by Nuri Akbar)
📌Narcos and Pastors in Guatemala: “Evangelical religions and the drug trade are not always distant worlds. In Guatemala, evangelism is such a broad and deep-rooted movement that it has attracted people from all walks of life, including criminals seeking protection or profit”, writes Nómada.
📌El Salvador:  “Dilemmas and Paradoxes of the Armed Forces in El Salvador” analyzes, from the lens of history and political science, the incidence of the use–and abuse–of the Armed Forces from governments with authoritarian tendencies, pre, during and post pandemic. (Heinrich Boll Foundation)
📌Environment & the Pandemic: The defense of the environment became riskier during the pandemic, as conflicts erupted in several communities and the extraction of natural resources has not been under quarantine. (Contracorriente)
Central American Voices, Studies & Multimedia
🎙️Corporate America: Latina to Latina podcast host Alicia Menendez interviews Afro-Panamanian Carla Vernón about how she grew from associate to executive at General Mills, establishing her own standards as she found success. 
🎓 Research Project: The Washington Office on Latin America presents the “Central American Monitor,” a research project that measures progress around law and order, violence, and security, among other metrics, in Central America.
🎥 Migrants & U.S. Immigration Policy: U.S. immigration policy also impacts the Haitian and African migrants whose journey was stalled in Panama due to the pandemic as they migrate north. (Pulitzer Center).
"¿Dónde está el pisto?"
Photo credit: Nómada. See original Instagram photo by clicking on the image.
Photo credit: Nómada. See original Instagram photo by clicking on the image.
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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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