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Central American News
By Central American News • Issue #73 • View online

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The Central American News team
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Photo of the Week
Panama, at 30 years of the American Invasion. © AP PHOTO / MATIAS RECART
📰 Asylum Cooperative Agreements: Guatemalan government is finalizing a deal to expand its asylum agreement with the U.S. to begin accepting Mexican migrants. //  The U.S. is preparing to send asylum seekers to Honduras, even if they are not from the country. 
📰 Asylum Seekers: Honduran asylum seeker who gave birth at a hospital said Border Patrol threatened to separate her from her newborn girl, according to her attorneys. // ICE refuses to reunite a Guatemalan asylum seeker with her niece, the only family they each have after their family was murdered. // Lawyers say U.S. border agents are systematically writing the same wrong address on the migrants’ papers. 
📰 Detention: Asylum seekers have been protesting at immigration detention centers around the country for months, advocating for their release. // Volunteers and researchers have been collecting thousands of letters from people in immigration detention centers to show people the conditions inside.
📰 ICE: Investigative journalists revealed sex assaults, routine use of physical force, poor medical care and deaths at facilities overseen by ICE. // California Department of Justice cut off ICE deportation officers from accessing state law enforcement database after years of advocacy. 
📰 Migrant Smuggling: Despite the crackdown on migrants traveling through Mexico, the migrant smuggling business in Mexico has adapted and thrives

📰Prisons: 18 people were killed during a brawl on Friday afternoon inside the Tela prison. The prison’s director was suspended from his post.  // On Tuesday, Honduras declared a state of emergency in its prison system, suspending civilian leaders and replacing them with a special commission led by military officers.
📰 Corruption: Honduran Congressman Oscar Najera was sanctioned by the U.S. Department of State for involvement in “significant” corruption related to the Honduran drug trafficking organization Los Cachiros. The Congressman has close ties to President Juan Orlando Hernandez. 
📰 Drug-trafficking: Four international drug traffickers were charged with conspiring to import cocaine into the US. The defendants conspired with corrupt Honduran officials, including Tony Hernandez, to facilitate the importation of cocaine for the Sinaloa cartel. 
📰 Aid: Honduras will receive aid from the European Union (EU) for food assistance, as the drought and the loss of crops has caused a serious food crisis in Central America.

📰 Prisons:  Twelve people died and several were injured after a violent riot in La Joyita prison. All the deceased were prisoners. The authorities seized more weapons the days after the clash and the Head of the Prison was demoted.
📰Exports to China and Israel: According to figures from the Panamanian Association of Exporters (Apex), the shipment of beef to China showed a historical increase of 34.8% as of October 2019. // The free trade agreement with Israel will enter into force on January 1, 2020.
📰 Human Development: The United Nations Development Program (UNDP), placed Panama in the 67th position, as a country with a “high” Human Development Index (HDI), according to its latest Global Human Development Report 2019. The UNDP report reveals that Panama is advancing, surpassing Costa Rica, which occupies the 68th place and Colombia 79th, in relation to human development.
📰 Recycle: Representatives of the public and private sectors of Panama agreed on the need for incentives to attract investments that foster the development of the recycling industry in the country.

El Salvador 
📰 International Relations: President Nayib Bukele announced new economic agreement between El Salvador and Qatar, in which Qatar will support the construction of a new airport, provide work visa opportunities, and invest in education. // The first group of 50 Salvadorans granted temporary work visas by the United States government have flown from El Salvador to Mississippi to work within the agricultural industry. 
📰 CICIES: The International Commission against Impunity in El Salvador, CICIES, will not independently investigate corruption cases, but will provide technical support and assistance to the Attorney General’s Office, as clarified by an internal representative for the entity. 
📰 Security: The Armed Forces will deploy 13 thousand soldiers and conduct aerial patrols during the Christmas holidays to “guarantee security and tranquility.” 
📰 Extortion: In 2019, El Salvador’s transportation sector paid $18 million to gangs in extortion fees.

📰Environment: A Canadian university is partnering with Belizean institutions to improve education about climate change and other environmental threats. 
📰Policy: Belizean government drafts its first legislation against cybercrime to address the growing issue of cyberbullying.  
📰Search & Rescue: Five people were successfully rescued after being lost at sea.

📰 Sanctions: European Parliament approves a strong resolution against the Ortega government; the resolution calls for a list of possible citizens of Nicaragua to be sanctioned, and to suspend the country from the free trade agreement with Europe. // United States Export and Import Bank suspends loans, guarantees and credit to US exports to Nicaragua.
📰 Political prisoners: Relatives of political prisoners denounce systematic medical negligence in jails. // Political prisoner Neyman Hernandez was hospitalized after almost suffering a heart attack due to omission of medical care.
📰 Refugees and Exiles: Refugees in Costa Rica will enjoy medical insurance for one year, thanks to the efforts of the Government of Costa Rica and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, UNHCR. // Nicaraguan journalist Lucia Pineda Ubau is included in the list of people of the year of Costa Rican newspaper La Nacion.

📰 War Crimes: Guatemalan War Criminal, Francisco Cuxum Alvarado was sentenced to time served for illegally re-entering the United States in 2004 in a Boston federal court. Alvarado will be turned over to the U.S. Marshal’s Office and likely deported. 
📰 Injustice: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General’s office found no misconduct or irregularities by border officials for the deaths of Jakelin Caal and Felipe Gomez in December 2018.
📰 U.S Relations: Families were sent to Guatemala under controversial asylum agreement as Trump welcomed Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales to the White House.
📰 Indigenous: 310 Mayan Mam families of Cajolá reached and agreement with the government and will purchase the Cuchumatanes farm.

Costa Rica
📰 Human rights: President Carlos Alvarado announced at the Global Refugee forum that with the support of the UN Refugee Agency (ACNUR), Costa Rica will offer medical insurance for all asylum seekers and their families for one year.
📰 Electrical: There are 44 power stations in Costa Rica: Costa Rican Institute of Electricity, ICE, secures charging points for electric vehicles.
📰 Costa Rican Band: The Municipal Band of Zarcero will represent Costa Rica, performing during the 131st edition of the Rose Parade in Pasadena California at 8 a.m. on January 1st, 2020.

📰 Central America: All members of the Central American Commission for Environment and Development join together in pledging to protect Mesoamerica’s “Five Great Forests” as part of a regional climate action plan released at U.N. climate talks in Madrid.
Panama 30 Years After the Invasion
☑️ Anniversary of Invasion: On December 20, 1989, more than 27,000 US soldiers invaded Panama to overthrow the government headed by Manuel Antonio Noriega. 
☑️ Invasion: Watch President Cortizo’s speech on the 30 anniversary of the Panama invasion.
☑️ George H.W. Bush: Three decades after the anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Panama, documents have been released that detail the plans surrounding George H. W. Bush’s invasion of Panama on December 20, 1989. 
☑️ DW: the current Panamanian government is studying the possibility of suing the United States government.
☑️ BBC: Why Did the US Invade Panama? report includes a timeline of how Manuel Noriega came to power and its relations as a double agent for the CIA, narcos and Cuba.
☑️ La Nacion: What were the efforts of two costarican ex-presidents to negotiate the outcome of Noriega?
☑️ El Comercio:There is a collective amnesia (in Panama), an idea that this is a tropical paradise and that there are never any problems here.”
Tweet of the Week
📱 @presidenciapma: Panama’s Presidency: For 30 years, Panamanian society has hoped that the lives of those who died or were injured during the invasion of Panamanian territory will be honored in 1989. Today, in #ConsejoDeGabinete, it was approved to declare on December 20, 2019, as a day of National Duel.
Good Reads Suggestions
☑️ El Salvador: Salvadoran President Bukele’s anti-press rhetoric echoes Trump,” by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). 
☑️ Nicaragua: La Prensa features the stories of Nicaraguan men who “lost their childhood” as soldiers in the Contras. 
☑️ ICE’s long campaign of silence: The Week: ICE has remained silent and avoided justice for the pervasive abuse of migrants and migrant deaths at Stewart Detention Center in Georgia. 
☑️ Maya Kaqchikel: The Curanderas Transformando Guatemala blog presents a visual ethnography of the healing work that Maya Kaqchikel women practice using theater.
☑️ Representation: Honduran journalist Axel Turcios wins his first Emmy for his journalism around his project “On the brink of panic” with Univision.
Multimedia Suggestions
🎧 Migrants: Detained children speak to MSNBC about their experiences being “put in a cage” in Trump’s border “prisons.” // BBC News creates a photo essay documenting the lives of asylum seekers experiencing freezing temperatures at the border. 
🎧 Panama: Panamanian filmmaker addresses the “collective amnesia” around the 1989 U.S. invasion of Panama with his documentary, “Invasion.”
🎧 Mayans: Videos and other tools help expose young people to the largest indigenous civilizations, including the Maya Empire
🎧 Migrants: CNN produced a three part series about volunteers who find migrant remains in the desert to try to identify them and give them a burial.
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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