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Central American News Matters

Central American News
Central American News Matters
By Central American News • Issue #68 • View online

Dear Readers,
Our team is growing!
Let’s welcome Melissa Orellana, a litigation paralegal based in Texas, who will strengthen the editorial team. Our social media will also get a boost with José Luis Martínez, a Salvadoran student at the University of Texas at Austin studying video journalism and Natalie Leach, an immigration paralegal based in Washington D.C. Thank you to everyone who applied.
We are excited for this growth as we continue bringing you Central American news straight to your inbox. Help us grow by sharing the newsletter or becoming a Patreon! Central American news matters.
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Salú,
The Team
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Photo of the Week
On Monday, November 4, 2019 about 600 people, mostly women, protested against the ruling issued by the First Criminal Chamber in which it was concluded that the groping made by magistrate Jaime Escalante against a 10-year-old girl is a “penalty” and not a crime. Source: El Faro.
On Monday, November 4, 2019 about 600 people, mostly women, protested against the ruling issued by the First Criminal Chamber in which it was concluded that the groping made by magistrate Jaime Escalante against a 10-year-old girl is a “penalty” and not a crime. Source: El Faro.
Headlines
Migration
📰 Migrant Detention: The family of a Honduran migrant recovering from cancer is fighting to halt her deportation to Honduras.
📰 Falsifications: A new report indicates that the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) has been providing incomplete and inaccurate data about thousands of immigration court cases. // Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agents wrote false court hearing dates on paperwork to send migrants back to Mexico, records show.
📰 Immigration Victories: Federal judge ruled that the government must provide mental health services to thousands of migrant parents and children who experienced psychological harm in migrant detention. // Appeals Court ruled that the Trump Administration cannot cancel the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, giving protections to thousands of young people. // Young girl whose pleas for her father’s release went viral after the ICE raids is reunited with her dad
📰 Immigration Plans: The Trump Administration proposed significantly increasing application fees for people seeking citizenship, renewal of DACA and those applying for asylum. // Trump Administration proposed new restrictions that would not allow asylum-seekers to obtain work permits until they had been in the country for at least a year. // Democrat presidential candidate promises to abolish the Department of Homeland Security, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and CBP agencies.
📰 U.S. Military in Central America: A U.S. Navy combat ship embarked on its first deployment to Central America’s coast to collaborate on a task force targeting illicit trafficking routes.  
El Salvador
📰Sexual Assault: Over 600 women, men and children gathered in protest after a federal court ruled not to prosecute Judge Jaime Escalante - accused of groping the genitals of a 10-year-old girl - because the touching was “brief” and “over the clothes.” Attorney General Raul Melara has appealed the Court’s decision amid national outrage.
📰Corruption: The anti-corruption commission CICIES now has an official headquarters in San Salvador. // Gustavo Lopez Davidson, leader of the political party ARENA, has been accused of selling $2 million worth of faulty arms to the Armed Forces. President Nayib Bukele ordered that Davidson be charged with arms theft and fraud. // High-ranking politician Norman Quijano testified before the Attorney General’s Office (FGR) for alleged meetings he held with gang members to buy electoral support. 
📰International Relations: The Salvadoran government ordered the expulsion of Venezuelan diplomats from El Salvador and declared that it does not recognize Nicolas Maduro’s presidency as legitimate. In turn, Maduro expelled Salvadoran diplomats from Venezuela and accused President Nayib Bukele as “assuming the role of a pawn for US foreign policy.”
📰 Violence: According to official government statistics, homicides rates in El Salvador have decreased by 22% in 2019. // Jade, a transgender woman who was missing, was found murdered.
Nicaragua
📰 Sanctions: US Treasure included three Nicaraguan public officers in the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctions list. Those sanctioned are: General Commissioner Ramón Avellán, Lumberto Campbell, president of the Supreme Electoral Council and Roberto López, executive president of the Nicaraguan Institute of Social Security (INSS).
📰 Sandinista Justice: Judge Marvin Aguilar was named National Political Secretary of the Supreme Court of Justice. His main function is to represent the FSLN party in the judicial system.
📰 Corruption: Children of Daniel Ortega used the Tourism Institute budget to pay for events and publicity. // Members of the “Truth Commission”, who will investigate the 2018 protests, should benefit from preferential treatment to form non-governmental organizations.
📰 Economy: British American Tobacco Nicaragua lays of 30% of local workforce due to fiscal reform. // The Central Bank has not published the Monthly Index of Economic Activity since february 2019, a situation that prevents businesses from making decisions based on the real situation of the economy.
Belize
📰Climate Change: CARICOM recognizes Belize as a “leader in protecting the ocean.” 
📰Public Health: Belize Water Services will conduct tests on the discolored water that continues to plague people’ homes.
Honduras
📰Agro-business: An executive decree allowed the creation of the Honduras Agricultural Development Program (PDAH) to increase “agricultural productivity,“ which will be administered by the National Defense Secretariat where it will will manage the equivalent of USD$162 million for said program. This has caused concern as the Secretaries of Defense and Security have least transparency out of all of the government institutions.
📰Housing Project: Villagers near La Tigra National Park, who were protesting the Bosques de Santa Maria housing project, were repressed by police forces. // The National Congress created a commission to determine if there are any irregularities in the granting of building permits in La Tigra.
📰Guapinol Defenders: The Guapinol River defenders will stay in pretrial detention, as judge Lisseth Vallecillo denied the request for alternative measures. International observers were not allowed inside to observe the proceedings and international legal experts underline that Honduran state has the obligation to find alternatives measures to pretrial jail for Guapinol water defenders.
📰Roatán: A municipal ordinance now prohibits the sale and distribution of beverages in plastic bottles and bags in Roatán, a measure to protect the ecosystem and wildlife.
Costa Rica
📰 Reuse plastic as building material: The Institute for Rural Development and the Municipality of Mora in Ciudad Colón, San José announced an initiative to convert some of the plastic waste in Costa Rica into usable building material for houses, communal halls, and other structures as well. The initiative is also apart of Costa Rica’s decarbonization plan.
📰 Trade with China: Costa Rica in the coming months will seek to open new sanitary protocols with China to increase imports and take advantage of its free trade agreement.
📰 Inflation down: A report conducted by the National Institute of Statistics and Censuses reports that inflation has decreased for the third consecutive month.
📰 Hopes to eliminate malaria: According to a report from the Costa Rican Ministry of Health, Costa Rica hopes to report zero native malaria cases in 2020 and the country hopes to eliminate malaria nationwide by 2022.
Panama 
📰 Constitutional reform: Protests continue in some parts of the country to demonstrate the discontent over the Constitutional Reform. Teacher associations announced their rejection of the constitutional reform package approved by the National Assembly in the first legislature. // President Cortizo stated that this is “good moment to improve the constitution.”
📰 Same-sex marriage: President Cortizo announced that his government will ask to eliminate from the constitutional reforms a controversial article that only recognizes the marriage between a man and a woman, which caused protests in the country.
📰 #VarelaLeaks: Former President Varela is accused of influence peddling with the General Attorney Porcell and recognizes some private text messages that he sent her.
Guatemala
📰 Justice: Guatemalan authorities captured two former officials accused of diverting some three million dollars of public funds in the Caribbean. 
📰 State of Siege: President Morales stated that the state of siege put in place after the death of three soldiers by alleged drug traffickers, prevented the country from becoming a producer of cocaine. 
📰 Demonstrations: Guatemalan truck drivers carried out a demonstration in the capital to demand for better working conditions- they caused traffic jams for several hours and only leaving strategic points to travel throughout the capital.
Quetzal-1
Quetzal-1 is a satellite designed and built by students, professors, and volunteers at Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, and is to be deployed into orbit from the ISS in 2020. Learn more about them in their official Twitter page, @quetzal1_uvg.
Quetzal-1 is a satellite designed and built by students, professors, and volunteers at Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, and is to be deployed into orbit from the ISS in 2020. Learn more about them in their official Twitter page, @quetzal1_uvg.
Good Reads
🔎 The Washington Post puts a spotlight on the co-founders of La Horchata, a zine dedicated to center the work and voices of Central American artists and creators. 
⚖️ Corruption, nepotism and impunity “rot” the judiciary in Nicaragua: How the judicial system was taken over by the FSLN. 
🚨 The Nicaraguan Police Evidence Factory: How the Police fabricated evidence against activists or innocent people. 
📰 The International Crisis Group published an in-depth report on Honduras, describing how Hondurans are fleeing north in record numbers as the country struggles with corruption, poverty and violence. 
🖊️ The San-Diego Tribune reports on the struggles of LGBTQ migrants who are fleeing persecution in their home countries but facing more trouble in Mexico as they await asylum proceedings. 
🗨️ An editorial in Brooklyn Rail explores the ways that death is weaved into the Central American social fabric, not as a natural and unpredictable occurrence, but as government-manufactured war and violence throughout history. 
🖊️ As migrants are experiencing violence, abuse and denial of necessary medical care in ICE detention, medical professionals have joined anti-ICE activism to advocate for migrants’ rights to medical treatment. On VICE
Happy Pupusa Day from Belgium
😋 On Sunday, El Salvador celebrated the National Day of the Pupusa! Melissa Vida, the founder and editor-in-chief of this newsletter, organized a party for the national pupusa day in Belgium. From January to August 2019, 700 Salvadorans applied for asylum in Belgium. 
Photo features pupusas and Salvadoran enchiladas.
Photo features pupusas and Salvadoran enchiladas.
Multimedia
🎧 El Muro del Sur by EL PAÍS and EL FARO. Joint teams of journalists from both medias–more than 20 people in total–will work to reveal the identities, conflicts, and questions hidden at the southern border of Guatemala.
🎥 Meet The 12-Year-Old Girl Who Documented Climate Change From Nicaragua. 12-year-old Edelsin Linette Mendez lives with her siblings and parents on their small coffee farm in the highlands of Nicaragua, but climate change could destroy her way of life. 
📷 El Pais demonstrates through a photo essay the realities of those suffering from malnutrition and hunger in Guatemala. 
🎧 Latino Media Collective speaks with Giuliani Alvarenga who discusses the life of the gay Salvadoran professor, Horacio Roque Ramirez, and the legacy of his work in LGBTQ and Central American communities. 
Recommended by ASJ
The Asociación para una Soceidad Más Justa (ASJ), based in Honduras, would like you to check our their new website analyzing the new código penal of Honduras, full of useful graphs: http://www.revistazo.biz/codigopenal/.
The Team
Melissa Vida, Founder & Editor-in-Chief
Rodrigo Peñalba, Nicaragua News & Editor
Rachel Ketola, El Salvador News
Nansi Rodríguez, Guatemala News
Jonathan Peraza Campos, Migration News
Jalileh García, Honduras News
Rachel Osorio, Costa Rica News
Natalie Leach, Social Media Officer
José Martinez, Social Media Officer
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