📰 Threats to Journalism
: Gangs, authoritarian regimes and organized crime are some of the problems that have historically plagued Central America, making it one of the continent’s most dangerous regions
📰 The Border:
The number of immigrants arrested at the U.S.-Mexico border has doubled in the past few months
due to Mexico’s economic crisis and U.S. immigration policy.
📰 ICE, Facial Recognition
: ICE signed a contract
with facial recognition software company Clearview AI whose technology scrapes photos from social media. // ICE has been expelling migrant children
under the guise of protecting the US from COVID-19, although many children have tested negative for the virus upon their deportation.
📰 Department of Homeland Security:
The American Civil Liberties Union has officially called for the abolition
of the Department of Homeland Security which oversees immigration enforcement. // Congressional watchdog claims that Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf and Acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli are ineligible to serve
in their positions.
📰 Indigenous Communities
: Belize’s indigenous communities celebrated the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples
this past Sunday, including the Garifuna people. After being urged to acknowledge the violence Honduran Garinagu are facing, Prime Minister Barrow sent a letter
to Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez. The complete letter can be found here
Costa Rica will be allowing flights and tourists from 6 more countries
to their list, while the U.S remains off of the list.
📰 Sexual Harassment:
On Monday, President Carlos Alvarado enacted a law
that would criminalize street sexual harassment and punishes perpetrators with fines and jail terms.
📰 Pandemic Investigations:
Attorney general Raúl Melara says his office is investigating all of the alleged irregularities
involving government officials who may have profited from the country’s pandemic response. President Nayib Bukele has stated that media reports of financial corruption are attacks against his administration.
📰 Media Harassment:
The legislative assembly announced
that it will create a committee
of representatives to investigate whether public funds are used to pay “trolls” to harass journalists and hinder their work.
📰 Weapons Exchange
: Two former defense ministers of the FMLN, along with various accomplices, are accused of various corruption charges
including embezzlement and arbitrary acts in an exchange of weapons with Centrum, a weapons company owned by the former president of ARENA.
📰 Coffee Rust:
The growth of the fungus Hemileia vastatrix
or “rust” in coffee bean plantations could lead to a significant drop in production. The industry noted an outbreak of rust
is caused by added humidity from the tropical storms Amanda and Cristóbal on top of a more humid season than usual.
: Indigenous authorities of the Maya, Xinca, and Garifuna peoples demand the resignation
of the presidents of the Executive, Judicial, and Legislative bodies and the head of the Ministerio Publico
due to their incapacity to fulfill their duties for the Guatemalan population, especially during the pandemic.
: The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) urges the State
to cease threats to the independence of the Constitutional Court (CC), due to the new lawsuits
filed against magistrates of the CC. These lawsuits are the latest interferences with the CC.
: Judge Erika Aifán has requested the Human Rights Ombudsman to investigate a potential obstruction to her work
and judicial independence concerning the resources and personnel that have been appointed to her, which have not been suitable for her court.
📰 COVID-19 and Religion
: The annual celebration of Our Lady of the Assumption was celebrated
with various virtual activities and others closed off from the public during the current pandemic.
Policemen threw tear gas
into a bus full of sweatshop workers in the city of Choloma after the bus driver could now show his license. Human rights defender, Reina Rivera Joya, assured that despite the police reforms, the police continue to abuse their power.
The whereabouts of the forcibly disappeared
four Garifuna leaders are still unknown. Ofraneh denounced
that murders and disappearances are a strategy of expulsion used by the palm-tree and tourist industry. // U.S. Congresswoman Ilhan Omar led a letter condemning the Trump government’s
plan to invest $1 billion in development projects in Honduras despite credible allegations of corruption, violence, and human rights violations. Omar mentioned the forced disappearances of Garifuna leaders.
: $1.9 million worth in COVID-19 tests
were ruined in the process of transport and storage, due to the lack of technical capacities in the public health system and corruption.
📰 Judicial Matters:
Mario Rojas Rodriguez was conditionally released from prison
, after he met certain requirements given the New Penal Code. He had been sentenced to 15 years for laundering in the Social Security Institute embezzlement case. // A Court of Appeals
revoked the final dismissal issued in favor of the defenders of the Guapinol River in Tocoa, Colón; and issued a formal indictment for 5 defenders, along with other 8 defenders in pre-trial detention.
: The Constitutionalist Liberal Party, PLC, requested
in a letter to the Organization of American States that the bipartisan control of the Supreme Electoral Council (by the FSLN and PLC) be maintained. This has attracted mistrust, as some critics believe that the PLC wants to keep its power alongside the FSLN and not carry out real electoral change. The new opposition “National Coalition” has trouble asserting itself in this panorama and partially relies
on U.S. support.
📰 COVID-19 vaccines
: While the government says that a Russian-Nicaraguan company, Mechnikov, could produce vaccines against COVID-19 in the country, experts in the health sector say that the scientific and technical capacity in the country
does not make this possible.
📰 Social activities:
The government has promoted 919 social activities
and gatherings since March 18, compared to 336 COVID-19 prevention activities.
Police uses their force against peaceful youth protestors
at a manifestation led by the digital media outlet Foco Panama, which used the slogan #YaBasta
to challenge the government’s lack of transparency regarding the purchase of ventilators, corruption allegations and lack of work.
📰 Youth Shelters:
The National Secretariat for Children, Adolescents and the Family (SENNIAF) sent about 10 girls to an adult shelter
despite receiving feedback from shelter staff that it was not equipped to host them. Some girls who had escaped informed neighbors and authorities that they were being beaten and mistreated. SENNIAF indicated a shortage of youth shelters since many of them are closed due to pandemic restrictions.
📰 Cuban doctors:
Health authorities put out a call to 11 countries for 50 specialized doctors to support intensive care needs
. According to the Ministry of Health, Cuba was the only country to respond. Some medical associations in Panama oppose the plan to contract foreign medical staff and promise to deliver a list of national doctors.
: Panama and the United States create a task force
to combat money laundering and corruption – the U.S. promises equipment, resources, training and expertise to Panamanian security leaders.