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Central American News

Central American News
Central American News
By Central American News • Issue #39 • View online

Dear Readers,
Welcome back to another week of Central American News!
We are excited to have a new curator for El Salvador, Rachel Ketola.
Here’s what’s been happening in the isthmus.
Honduras celebrated Garifuna Settlement Day and Belize approved a plan to triple the amount of protected marine area. Panama adopted a road map to better manage and protect forest resources.
Costa Rica’s indigenous peoples call on the government to eject usurpators off their lands. Eight environment defenders were arrested in Honduras.
Guatemalan presidential candidate Thelma Aldana has been detained for two hours in Honduras and she claims that Honduran and Guatemalan elites are trying to make her fall.
Much-loved Bishop Baez from Nicaragua, who has been vocal against Ortega’s regime, has been called back to Rome and therefore has to leave the country.
El Salvador’s jails want to sell products made by detainees to fund reintegration programs.
The U.S. Trump administration is looking to reinstall the policy of separating families at the border and the ACLU is suing the government for how it treated migrants in El Paso.
Thank you for reading and see you next week.
Salu,
Melissa
Celebrating Garifuna Settlement Day in Honduras
Garifuna in Honduras celebrated Garifuna Settlement Day in Honduras on April 12.
Honduran President Hernandez declared Garifuna Folkloric Ballet as Cultural Heritage of Honduras, during the African Heritage Month in Honduras, on April 11.
Here’s a list of Garifuna recipes on Saveur, which includes Ariran Guisou, Darasa, Pumpkin bread, Coconut bread, Hudutu, Seafood soup and others.
Photo from Instagram account Roatan's Finest, by Damarys
Photo from Instagram account Roatan's Finest, by Damarys
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A special thank you to our supporters on Patreon! Please support Central American news by becoming a Patreon supporter. Central American News focuses on news from the ground up and wants to inform people on what is really happening in Central America.
Headlines
Guatemala
📰Justice: Former Social Security Institute manager is among the 10 captured for money laundering in the 21 raids coordinated by the Public Prosecutor and CICIG. Three lawyers were sentenced for attempted bribe of Juan Carlos Monzónan, an official from the Prosecutor’s Office, with USD$100,000.
📰 Politics: Seven municipalities would be at risk of conflict during the general elections next June.
📰 Thelma Aldana: Presidential Candidate and former Prosecutor Thelma Aldana was detained and interrogated for two hours in Tegucigalpa Airport in Honduras. She claims that Honduran President Hernandez is linked with the “Pacto de Corruptos” elite of Guatemala.
📰 Human rights: Human rights activists mourn the death of two staff members of the Fund for Global Human Rights in a car accident along with the Fund’s longtime driver and a representative of the Mayan Peoples’ Congress of Guatemala.
Honduras
📰Drug-Trafficking: U.S. officials sentenced Noe Montes-Bobadilla, leader of Honduras cocaine trafficking organization, to 37 years in prison.
📰 Land defenders: Eight environmental activists were arrested when they were summoned to testify. They had fought against a photovoltaic energy project.
📰 Police Forces: Wilfredo de Jesus Moncada, a 17 year-old, was killed by Honduran police forces while protesting against Honduran president. Human rights organizations condemned the death of the minor and the excessive use of force used by the police. 
📰 Advocacy: Garifuna youth leaders visit members of Congress in Washington D.C. to call for them to change US foreign policy towards Central America.
Belize
📰 Referendum: Guatemala’s President Morales calls on Belize to follow through on ICJ referendum, which may have a new bill. Protests took place outside of House of Representatives while they debated the new bill for the referendum.
📰 Environment: Belizean government approves plan to triple amount of protected marine area in conservation efforts.
El Salvador
📰Forced Displacement: 1,592 children and young adults were forcibly displaced by violence in 2017 and 2018, according to report. Vice President-elect Félix Ulloa committed to addressing the issue during his term.
📰 Funes: Nicaragua will not extradite El Salvador’s former president Mauricio Funes to El Salvador, where he faces multiple charges, including tax evasion and embezzlement.
📰 Bukele: President-elect Nayib Bukele will not invite presidents of Honduras, Nicaragua and Venezuela to his inauguration on June 1st, sparking criticism. // The National Assembly tentatively agreed to hold Bukele’s swearing-in ceremony in the historical center, opening it up to the public for the first time.
📰 Reintegration: The penitentiary system launched the Penitentiary Industries of El Salvador (IPES) to market and sell products made by detainees with the purpose of funding reintegration programs.
Nicaragua
📰 Remittances: Remittances to Nicaragua sum up USD1,5 billion to the economy, 11% of the GDP, report finds. U.S. and Costa Rica are the biggest sources of remittances.
📰 Police: National Police will have new 81 vehicles to “strengthen citizen security” for USD 850,000. The national police is accused of crimes against humanity for the repression of protests.
📰 Sanctions: European lawmakers urge the EU to establish sanctions on individuals who took part in the 2018 repression because the Nicaraguan government did not show enough will to negotiate.
📰 Church: Vatican called Bishop Silvio J. Baez to Rome. Sources say this decision was taken because Baez was “an uncomfortable voice for Ortega”.
Costa Rica
📰National Holiday: On April 11th, Costa Ricans hold a parade and ceremony in Alajuela to commemorate the National Hero Juan Santamaría for confirming Costa Rica’s Sovereignty against U.S figure William Walker and his army.
📰 Indigenous peoples rights: Indigenous peoples ask the government to respect the law and eject usurpers off their lands.
Panama
📰 Drug-trafficking: Local gangs, in partnership with Colombian traffickers, have become increasingly involved in smuggling cocaine onto cargo ships. Public prosecutors from Colombia and Panama signed an agreement to pursue money from drug trafficking.
📰 Deportation: Panama expelled, deported or returned 971 foreigners in the first three months of the year. Vast majority were Colombians, Nicaraguans, Venezuelans and Cubans.
📰 Environment: Several environmental organizations asked the Government of Panama to reject a project to build an oil terminal on Isla Boná, to protect “sanctuary for seabirds”. At the same time, the Government adopted a road map to guarantee the management and conservation of forest resources.
Migration
📰Trump Administration: President Trump has pushed for family separation policy and closing the border, told Customs and Border Patrol to refuse entry of migrants into the U.S. although it goes against the law and is likely to appoint anti-immigration leader Julie Kirchner as head of U.S. Immigration and Citizenship Services.
U.S. government said that reuniting children separated from their families may take up to two years.
📰 Legal Action: The ACLU is suing Customs and Border Patrol for the treatment of migrants held outdoors behind fencing under an El Paso bridge and a judge halted the “Remain in Mexico” policy.
📰 Deportation: Eleven year old was deported back to El Salvador without her family.
📰 Caravan: Another caravan set out from Honduras to the United States, Mexico won’t open its borders.
Multimedia
The viral image of a crying Honduran child at the U.S.-Mexico border has won the 2019 World Press Photo contest’s Photo of the Year prize.  The “Crying Girl on the Border,” was taken by Getty Images photojournalist John Moore.
The viral image of a crying Honduran child at the U.S.-Mexico border has won the 2019 World Press Photo contest’s Photo of the Year prize. The “Crying Girl on the Border,” was taken by Getty Images photojournalist John Moore.
Good Reads
📖 Bryan Avelar takes you to a “regular day” in Salvadoran courts, where there is a lack of state protection for witnesses who testify in court, for Revista Factum. (In Spanish)
📖 Interesting Q/A with two Honduran migration experts on the caravans, youth unemployment, the education system, and gender violence in Honduras, by Alianza Americas.
📖 Daniel Castro, from Salvadoran descent, explores the legacy of the short-lived truce between Barrio 18 and MS-13 in El Salvador and how facilitators of the truce have been criminalized under “Mano Dura” in Harper’s Magazine. Beautifully written and culturally sensitive.
📖 Alex Papadovassilakis analyzed how the United States Congress is selective on who it adds to its list of corrupt Central American elites, on InSight Crime, and concludes by saying that the U.S. hesitates between stopping migrants and maintaining good relations with elites linked to drug-trafficking.
📖 Angela Chapin reported for The Huffington Post on how children who were separated from their families at the border are now “withdrawn, depressed and self-harming.” Family separation may be reinstored, according to a New York Times piece.
📖 Panamanian paleontologist Carlos De Gracia discovers the origins of the Panama Isthmus and encourages 50 researchers to continue to unravel the history of Panama’s soil and hidden volcanos. In Spanish on EFE.
Academia
💡 You can read Abby Córdova’s brand new study on how gangs do not let residents from their neighborhood get involved in politics. On Latin American Research Review.
Presenting Jalileh García, Honduras Curator
Jalileh García is an undergraduate student at Columbia University. She was born and raised in Honduras until the age of 10, when she moved to the US. Her involvements on campus include being a Staff Writer of RightsViews, a Communications Chair for Alianza, and being involved in any activity that tries to visibilize the Central American region.
Jalileh García is an undergraduate student at Columbia University. She was born and raised in Honduras until the age of 10, when she moved to the US. Her involvements on campus include being a Staff Writer of RightsViews, a Communications Chair for Alianza, and being involved in any activity that tries to visibilize the Central American region.
The Team
Melissa Vida, Head Curator and Editor
Nansi Rodríguez, Guatemala Curator
Rodrigo Peñalba, Nicaragua Curator
Jonathan Peraza, Migration Curator
Jalileh García, Honduras Curator
Rachel Ketola, El Salvador Curator
Mariana Rodriguez-Pareja, Panama Curator
Rachel Osorio, Costa Rica Curator
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