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Central America's News is at Risk

Central American News
Central America's News is at Risk
By Central American News • Issue #113 • View online

Dear Readers,
Arrests and killings of environmental defenders and journalists continue to happen in Central America. Luis Almendarez, a journalist in Comayagua in Honduras, was killed on Sunday. In Guatemala, Mayan K'iche journalist Anastasia Mejía Tiriquiz was arrested for alleged crimes arson and robbery. Afro- and Indigenous Kriol and Rama leaders in Nicaragua were detained over the weekend as they monitored land grabs on their autonomous land in Indio Maiz reserve. Also in Nicaragua, journalist Kalúa Salazar, was declared “guilty” of slander for talking about a corruption case. Although El Salvador used to have a better reputation for journalism, the government of Nayib Bukele announced an investigation against the El Faro media outlet for money laundering. The Association of Journalists of El Salvador (APES) lamented the “political persecution” against Salvadoran press.
Central American News’ job is to relay news reported by journalists and organizations in Central America to you. Please continue to support news from the region by sharing content of local media and supporting them financially when you can!
Un abrazo y salú,
Melissa
Anastasia Mejía Tiriquiz
Journalist Anastasia Mejía Tiriquiz was detained on September 25. Photo by Prensa Comunitaria
Journalist Anastasia Mejía Tiriquiz was detained on September 25. Photo by Prensa Comunitaria
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Headlines
Migration
Court Cases: According to new filings in federal court, Customs and Border Protections was aware that it broke the law by turning away asylum seekers on the southern border. // Federal judge gave the Trump administration until September 28 to stop holding nearly 124 migrant children in hotels for rapid expulsion.
Hysterectomies: Women detained at Irwin County Detention Center spoke with a congressional delegation about being forced to undergo gynecological procedures without their consent with the threat of punishment if they complained. // The Mexican government is also investigating the hysterectomies conducted on detained women at the facility. 
Migrant and Border Activism: Activists across the U.S. organized a series of protests against tech company Palantir because of their contracts with ICE. // O’odham indigenous activists were arrested for protesting construction of the border wall on their land.
Detention: House Committee released an investigative report about ICE that determined that detained migrants receive inadequate health care and are punished for speaking out. // Federal judge ordered the Department of Homeland Security to release records that documented COVID-19 outbreaks in detention centers and Border Patrol stations. // U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services bans asylum seekers from bringing a trusted interpreter to an application interview but guarantees that contracted telephone interpreters.

Belize
📰Celebrating Independence: Belize commemorated 39 years of independence on Saturday with a virtual celebration
📰 COVID-19: Belize nears almost 2,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 23 deaths and over 1,000 recovered. // Churches will be permitted to resume services and restaurants will re-open for sit-down dining with some restrictions
📰 Politics: One of the People United Party’s campaign pledges is to set a $5 minimum wage for women. // A bill addressing cybercrime, including identity theft, cyberbullying and piracy, was sent to the House for review.

Costa Rica 
📰 Economy: On Thursday, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced that they have begun their initial talks with Costa Rica about the country’s request for a $1.75 billion dollar loan to alleviate economic hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. // The government will take austerity measures and new taxes or rates to cover the cost of the IMF loan.
📰 Sergio Rojas: The Public Ministry dismissed the murder case of indigenous leader Sergio Rojas due to insufficient evidence to accuse any of the three suspects identified. The UN asked the state of Costa Rica to continue with the investigation and to find the culprits so that the crime does not remain in impunity. 
📰 COVID-19: The government of Costa Rica announced that it has joined the COVAX initiative for access to COVID-19 vaccines once they become available, promoted by the World Health Organization (WHO).  
 
El Salvador
📰 El Mozote: El Salvador’s military blocked access to archives of El Mozote massacre again, despite judge’s order. In 2019, President Nayib Bukele assured that the military files were destroyed. He later contradicted himself and showed the files on national television. // President Bukele named deputy Milena Mayorga as the new ambassador to the United States. Mayorga is recognized for her messages of support for the military man accused of leading on the ground the massacre of about 1,000 peasants in El Mozote in 1981, the deceased Domingo Monterrosa.
📰 Press Freedom: President Nayib Bukele announced an investigation against the El Faro media outlet for money laundering. The president of the Association of Journalists of El Salvador (APES), Angélica Cárcamo, rejected this “political persecution” against the media.
📰 Environment: President Bukele will not sign the Escazú decree because it contains “a couple of clauses that do not apply to the reality of El Salvador.” This agreement facilitates access to environmental information, public participation, access to environmental justice, and support for environmental defenders.
 
Guatemala
📰 Juana Raymundo Rivera: Justice was accomplished in the femicide and rape case of Juana Raymundo Rivera. Juana was a nurse and active member of the Peasant Development Committee (Codeca) before her death in 2018. Many are sharing their support of the conviction of her attacker who will be facing 62 years in prison.
📰 Anastasia Mejia Tiriquiz: Female, Mayan K'iche journalist Anastasia Mejia Tiriquiz was arrested for alleged crimes of sedition, aggravated arson and aggravated robbery. She is the director of a local station Xol Abaj Radio and Xol Abaj TV and has covered corruption cases in the municipality of Joyabaj throughout her career. She is currently being held at a detention center in Quetzaltenango and was able to share a few words concerning the situation.
📰 COVID-19: The Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance (MSPAS) has only used 33.39% of the budget in place for natural disasters and public crises during COVID-19 while many medical personnel are still lacking adequate equipment and preventative supplies. As of September 26, there are 89,702 cases of COVID-19 and many are expecting a second wave of infections to happen.
📰 Indigenous Authorities: The Sololá indigenous authorities gathered virtually for a hearing with the Constitutional Court to oppose the installation of a pipeline surrounding Lake Atitlán which would pump water to the south coast. To some, the true intention is to create electrical energy using the water from the lake. 
 
Honduras
📰 COVID-19: Of the 72,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 registered in Honduras, only 22,000 have been officially recovered. The lack of data can prevent recovered people from accessing follow-up healthcare. // While there is a decrease in the demand for funeral services related to COVID-19 in the last month in the big cities, there is an increase in the interior part of the country.  
📰 Hospital Conditions: More than 140 health employees, including doctors, nurses and microbiology personnel had their contracts terminated at the Honduran Social Security Institute (IHSS) in Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula. The government justified this action because “the pandemic has ended”. // Doctor Suyapa Figueroa denounced that the death of yet another doctor exemplifies the mismanagement of the pandemic where hospitals do not have protective equipment or medicine. 
📰 Environment: The mining company Aura Minerals-Minosa continues to destroy the cemetery where two thousand corpses were buried, of which around 700 have already been exhumed, despite a court appeal. // Nearly 700 tons of trash were found in the Omoa beach, said to come from hospitals and other types of waste from Guatemala. 

Nicaragua
📰 “Foreign Agents:” President Ortega proposed a new law where Nicaraguan citizens working with international cooperation shall be registered as “foreign agents.” Such persons must automatically “abstain, under penalty of legal sanctions, from intervening in issues, activities or topics of internal politics.” // Human Rights organization, CENIDH, denounced such laws that break at least 10 articles of the Constitution. 
📰 Press Freedom: Journalist and Director of Radio La Costeñisima, Kalúa Salazar, was declared “guilty” of slander for reporting on corruption in El Rama mayor’s office. // Channel 12, embargoed by a judge, cannot pay salaries, but 20 of their workers keep producing the news programs and shows. 
📰 COVID-19: Catholic churches will gradually reopen on October 4. // Citizen Observatory shared a report with the United Nations about the COVID-19 situation in Nicaragua. The report reflects a downward trend, but they warn that the virus continues to circulate and therefore the risk of infection is latent.
📰 2021 Elections: An opinion poll showed that 80.8% of the participants consider that the Ortega government “will not allow free elections” in 2021; a scenario in which 70% advocate strengthening a “peaceful citizen resistance” throughout the country, and demanding more international pressure against the dictatorship with greater intensity.

Panama
📰 Politics: Former President Ricardo Martinelli’s new political party, Realizando Metas (RM) (“Achieving Goals”), has been made official by the Electoral Tribunal. The news comes amidst his ongoing legal proceedings for criminal charges. He had previously founded and headed the political party Cambio Democrático (“Democratic Change”) until 2018. 
📰 Security: The National Assembly has approved the establishment of the Amber Alert system in Panama to quickly locate minors in case of abduction, loss, or disappearance.
📰 Industry: 28 September marks the re-opening of domestic flights as well as that of restaurants, remaining professional services businesses, retail shops, and the race course. Beach activities by province were left out of the resolution. The re-opening of these sectors is conditioned to the evolution of COVID-19. 

Our COVID-19 Map
Visit our interactive COVID-19 map of Central America.
Visit our interactive COVID-19 map of Central America.
Good Reads & Multimedia
📌Guapinol: What happened to the seven men who were detained for trying to protect water sources in Guapinol? A recap. (America Magazine)
📌In The Netherlands: Nicaraguan exiles tell their story on how they started a new life in the Netherlands. (Confidencial)
📌 Women: Central American Studies scholars Cecilia Menjivar and Leisy Abrego write on the gendered violence and brutality that migrant women in US detention facilities. (El Faro)
📌 World Record: Panamanian coffee shop Café Geisha broke its own world record during the “Best of Panama 2020” electronic bid by selling at $1,300.50 USD per pound. (Panamá América)
🎥 Beyond Borders: What is Central American art in the United States in the age of social media? A keynote by Mauricio E. Martínez.
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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 // 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 // Irene Ledezma, Panama News // Nicole Ramsey, Writer // José Martínez, Podcast Producer, Social Media Officer // Natalie Leach, Social Media Officer // Jacqui Martinez, Guest Art Curator
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