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Border Bargains

Central American News
Border Bargains
By Central American News • Issue #47 • View online

Dear Readers,
Welcome back to another week of Central American news. This week, the news has been edited by Rodrigo Peñalba and Rachel Ketola.
In his campaign to end forced migration from Central America, President Trump has successfully pressured Mexican President Andres Manuel López Obrador into deploying 6,000 Mexican national guard at its Guatemalan border and expanding the “Remain in Mexico” program in exchange of no longer being under threat of having 5% tariffs on Mexican goods.
With these unwelcoming signals from the U.S. and from Mexico, a growing number of Central Americans choose to flee to Europe instead of going to the United States. Central American News founder Melissa Vida reported on this trend for the New York Times.
In Nicaragua, the National Assembly approved a “broad amnesty” law, pardoning political and common crimes in the context of the 2018 civic rebellion.
 Thanks for joining us, readers, for another edition of Central American News. Please let us know what you think of this week’s news a few words or sentences and we’ll share it in the next edition.
 The Central American News Team
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
After making deal with President Trump, Mexico deployed 6,000 troops to the southern border of Guatemala and detained 400 migrants. (Screenshot of video from Ciro Gómez Leyva linked in photo.)
After making deal with President Trump, Mexico deployed 6,000 troops to the southern border of Guatemala and detained 400 migrants. (Screenshot of video from Ciro Gómez Leyva linked in photo.)
📰 Migration Deal: Mexican Chancellor Marcelo Ebrard and Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador reach compromise with the U.S. government to halt Central American migration in exchange for the suspension of tariffs. To comply with the deal, Mexico has deployed 6,000 agents to the southern border of Guatemala. The Mexican government also blocked bank accounts allegedly connected to organizing migrant caravans and arrested immigrant rights activists on the charge of “migrant trafficking.”
📰 Detention Centers: An investigation by U.S. Homeland Security revealed “egregious violations” of standards in ICE detention centers, including spoiled food and nooses in cells. // U.S. government officials are considering using historic Fort Benning military base in Georgia as a new shelter for unaccompanied minors.
📰 Migrant Deaths: A second migrant from Honduras dies in U.S. custody less than 36 hours after the death of asylum seeker Johana Medina Leon. Protests took place in Sacramento, California to decry the deaths of two transgender asylum seekers, Medina Leon and Roxsana Hernandez Rodriguez who died in U.S. custody last year.
📰 Dreamers: The U.S. House of Representatives passes the American Dream and Promise Act of 2019, a bill that would offer a path to citizenship to over two million undocumented immigrants in the U.S.
📰 Justice: Proceedings in the Maya Achí sexual violence case brought by 30 Achí women against ex-military commissioners and civil patrolmen are scheduled to continue. // The Public Prosecutor’s Office asks federal judge to prosecute the network allegedly involved in fraud and embezzlement of millions of dollars in the Municipality of Lanquín, Alta Verapaz.
📰 MeTooMuni:Four women tell their story of harassment and sexual abuse by Bruno Campo, the director of the Municipal School of Music in Guatemala City.
📰 US Intervention: Vice President Jafeth Cabrera claims that he is unaware of Guatemala’s negotiations with the United States, despite Minister Enrique Degenhart’s confirmation days earlier that the government is considering measures to slow migration.

📰  ICJ: The government of Belize officially submits claim to the International Court of Justice to move forward with territorial dispute case against Guatemala.
📰 📰 Amnesty: The National Assembly approved “broad amnesty” law, pardoning political and common crimes in the context of the 2018 civic rebellion. UN High Commissioner on Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, and the IAHCR criticized the amnesty as encouraging impunity. The amnesty law guarantees the release of political prisoners, but hinders victims of human rights violations from accessing justice. // “No state will recognize this amnesty as valid”, said Pablo Parenti, member of the independent investigation group on the Nicaragua crisis and repression. Mothers of April, an organization composed of mothers of victims of the repression, will file lawsuit against such law.
📰 Nationals Parks: Fundación del Río exposes that national reserves forests are under sale to private owners.

El Salvador
📰 Twitter Storm: Through a series of tweets, newly elected President Nayib Bukele fires 28 officials from the former administration whom he believes received their positions through nepotism. Members of the FMLN party criticized the public dismissals. // Bukele also dismissed Jorge Alberto Meléndez, the director of Civil Protection who is believed to have orchestrated the murder of poet Roque Dalton.
📰 New Police Force: Mauricio Antonio Arriaza Chicas is named the new head of the Civilian National Police, a decision criticized by local human rights organizations because of his connection to various human rights abuses. // On Friday, Chicas evaluated the possibility of re-integrating police officers who formed part of the Police Reaction Group, the elite special unit that was disbanded after the murder of agent Carla Ayala.
📰 Water: On World Environment Day, activists, students, parish members and union workers marched on the Presidential House to pressure the incoming government to pass a new water law. // During meeting with Vice President Felix Ulloa, Israel committed to providing funds and technology to help El Salvador tackle its water problem and support agriculture in the “dry corridor.”

📰 National Strike: Workers of the Social Security Institute joined the educational and health sectors in protests on Monday. The IACHR, along with CEJIL, expressed concerns regarding the use of firearms and tear gas used by police forces against protestors.
📰 Decrees: The government eliminated the PCM decrees, which were one of the sources of the protests and national strike, and issued two new decrees in a meeting where key members of the health and education sectors were not present. Dr. Suyapa Figueroa has agreed to join the dialogue proposed by the government, only after the government abided by certain demands, which include an international observer to ensure transparency.
📰 Corruption: A court in Honduras dictates judicial detention against Carol Pineda Baide and Luisa Fonseca Moltalvan implicated in the “Narcopolitics” corruption case. The women were accused of fraud and falsification of documents.

📰 Migrant Flow: In his last speech before the Central American Integration System, outgoing President Varela proposes to extend operation “Controlled flow of migrants” to all of Central America. The current operation “hosts" migrants under protection of the state of Panama and Costa Rica and ensures their safety as they journey northward.
📰 Mining: President-Elect Laurentino Cortizo said that his government, which will take office on July 1, will review a millionaire concession agreement with a Canadian mining company First Quantum Minerals.
📰 Bridges: The construction of the fourth bridge over the Panama Canal advances, despite the first strike of workers.

Costa Rica
📰 Teachers protest: Thousands of teachers marched on Thursday against The Public Employment Law that suggests wage reductions and adjustments in the education budget for the entire education sector. // Teachers also marched against bills that would restrict the right to strike.
📰 Historic decree: Costa Rica has issued a decree that legally protects all of the country’s coral ecosystems and provides a series of measures that the government must adopt to preserve reef ecosystems and species from harmful human activities.
📰 Refugees: 52,000 nicaraguans are in Costa Rica without work permit. 26,000 have applied for refugee status.
Catracho Pride
Honduran alpinist Ronald Quintero reaches the summit once again, this time in Mount Denali, Alaska. 🇭🇳 Photo via @Ruta5hn (Twitter)
Honduran alpinist Ronald Quintero reaches the summit once again, this time in Mount Denali, Alaska. 🇭🇳 Photo via @Ruta5hn (Twitter)
Good Reads
💡 The Los Angeles Times describes the web of complications that asylum seekers experience when they are strategically transported to detention centers in the Deep South where the chance of obtaining parole is nearly impossible.
💬 “I Can No Longer Continue to Live Here” explores how endemic rates of domestic violence and sexual abuse in Honduras are forcing young women and girls to migrate. A case for protecting domestic violence as a ground for asylum.
📚 Scholars and experts emphasize the need to improve census data on the Afro-descendant population in Central America, explaining that lack of accurate data renders the population invisible and limits access to funding and resources.
💬 In El Faro, Gisela De León argues that reconciliation without justice has perpetuated a wound in El Salvador’s society that is “still bleeding” three decades after the armed conflict.
📚 Melissa Vida reports on the growing numbers of Central American asylum seekers to Europe for The New York Times.
Quote of the Week
“I am pleased to inform you that The United States of America has reached a signed agreement with Mexico. The Tariffs scheduled to be implemented by the U.S. on Monday, against Mexico, are hereby indefinitely suspended.”
Donald Trump, President of the United States.
Multimedia & Art
🎥 This map created by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations creates a visual that color codes and presents statistics on the extent of food insecurity in the Dry Corridor of Central America.
🎥 The 19-minute documentary, “Surviving Purgatory” focuses on the tragic and austere aftermath of the eruption of the Fuego volcano that killed many in Guatemala last year.
🎥 “Under Your Ashes” is the new song and video from Bruno Cortina, and it is inspired on the feel of duel in the relatives of victims of the repression in Nicaragua.
The Team
Melissa Vida, Founder and Editor
Nansi Rodríguez, Guatemala News
Rodrigo Peñalba, Nicaragua News
Jonathan Campos Peraza, Migration News
Jalileh García, Honduras News
Rachel Ketola, El Salvador News
Rachel Osorio, Costa Rica News
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