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El Salvador's LGBTI Community Under Attack

Central American News
El Salvador's LGBTI Community Under Attack
By Central American News • Issue #70 • View online

Dear Readers,
Welcome back to another week of Central American news!
This week, we take stock that in one month, four hate crimes have been committed against El Salvador’s LGBTI community, with bodies of victims showing signs of torture. Transgender women have been particularly targeted. While the homicide rate has decreased in the country, the attacks against LGBTI people increased and groups are urging President Bukele to propose a plan to protect vulnerable groups, which has been lacking until now. LGBTI representatives took to the streets in San Salvador to protest. Here are the photos.
Homophobia is an issue throughout Central America and so many asylum seekers who knock on the U.S.’s doors for protection belong to this vulnerable group. And too many face attacks while being in Mexico, as LA Times reports.
We hope that in the near future we won’t have to report on such news on this platform. We however believe that information is power - please subscribe and share the news!
Have a good read on this week’s news and culture.
Salú,
The Central American News team
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Photo of the Week
Members of the LGBTI community in El Salvador demand protection and action from the government following spike in murders of gay and trans people. (Émerson Flores/ Gato Encerrado).
Members of the LGBTI community in El Salvador demand protection and action from the government following spike in murders of gay and trans people. (Émerson Flores/ Gato Encerrado).
Headlines
Migration
📰 Asylum Seekers:  A former asylum officer turned-whistle-blower claims that the Trump administration’s “Remain in Mexico” program is rigged. // Asylum-seeking parents desperate to keep their children safe are sending them over the border to request asylum alone.
📰 Migration in Mexico: A “Caravan of Central American Mothers of Disappeared Migrants” arrived at the Mexico-Guatemala border to find their family members and demand justice from the Mexican government. // A group of migrants who arrived in the second caravan to the U.S.-Mexico border have opened a cafeteria to feed those in need. 
📰 Detention: A federal judge in Georgia, US, temporarily halted the deportation of Honduran migrant Tania Romero who is recovering from stage 4 oral cancer. // Immigration advocates are working to pay the bonds of nearly 200 detained migrants in federal custody through a $2.1 million initiative.
📰 White Nationalist Media: Emails demonstrate Trump policy adviser, Stephen Miller, has affinity to white nationalist media, which has led to DHS official urging his resignation. 
Nicaragua
📰 Politics: OAS’ High Level Commission concludes that constitutional order in Nicaragua is broken. // Opposition groups Civic Alliance and National Unity will ask the OAS to declare the government of Daniel Ortega as “illegitimate”. // IACHR requests to visit Nicaragua due to an escalation of human rights violations by the government. 
📰 Hunger Strike: Hunger strike in Masaya ends after 9 days. Police besieged the church, prohibited access to it, and detained 16 new political prisoners. The siege of Iglesia San Miguel was condemned by the United Nations, OAS, United States, European Union, Spain, Costa Rica, among others.
📰 Economy: IMF declares that the Nicaraguan government must regain investor confidence to recover the economy. // Retail commerce has dropped between 25% and 45% in 2019.
📰 Army: President Ortega renewed General Jorge Aviles for five more years as Chief of the Nicaraguan Army.
Guatemala
📰 US Agreement: The migration agreement between Guatemala and the US begins. The first migrant to receive asylum in Guatemala, 23-year-old José Ardón Montoya, refused to be part of the agreement and requested that he be returned to Honduras.
📰 Indigenous: Indigenous authorities along with the Maya Kaqchikel population of the Pilar I and Pilar II communities mobilized to the central park of San Juan Sacatepéquez.
📰 Hogar Seguro: The Jimmy Morales government placed a memorial on behalf of 41 girls who died in the fire of the Safe Home Virgen de la Asunción without words of condemnation regarding the events that occurred. 
📰 Economy: The Guateíntegra program of the Chamber of Industry awarded three projects created by Guatemalan youth to promote the fight against corruption. 
Panama 
📰 Sugar: Panama passed a law this week that creates a national health improvement action plan and increases taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages. 
📰 Subway Line: A consortium led by South Korea’s Hyundai Engineering & Construction Co presented the most competitive bid to a tender for building the third subway line in Panama City, beating two Chinese rivals. However, on Friday the decision was reversed
📰 Economy: From January to September 2019, the Panamanian economy grew by 3.25% compared to the same period of the previous year. 
Belize
📰 Garifuna Settlement Day: Belizeans across the country celebrated Garifuna Settlement Day on Tuesday. 
📰 Government: Members of the People’s United Party argued in court that the government illegally spent $1.3bn.
📰 Third Safe Country: The Belizean government debunks the claim that Belize is a designated “third safe country” for asylum-seekers, and considers increased border security
Costa Rica
📰 Protests: A violent confrontation between police and protesters occurred outside the University of Costa Rica on Thursday night that resulted in seven people facing charges. The protest was in response to a proposed law that would weaken public education in Costa Rica.
📰 Livin’ la Pura Vida: The U.S. sitcom The Simpsons premiered a new episode Sunday where the Simpsons visit Costa Rica and learn “Pura Vida” is a state of mind about “being a million times happy.”
📰 Nicaragua: The Government of Costa Rica deplored on Saturday the “siege and intimidation” of the group of mothers of political prisoners in Nicaragua.
Honduras
📰Human Rights: The 2019 Friedrich Ebert Foundation Human Rights Award was awarded to Miriam Miranda, a Garifuna leader and coordinator of the Honduran Black Fraternal Organization (Ofraneh). 
📰Fiscal reforms: Reforms to the Superior Court of Accounts (TSC) will weaken the audit and fiscal powers of the Court. Now, only the State may have access to the records of the TSC. This will limit the power of the Public Ministry and the anti-corruption bodies in the country. 
📰U.S. Relations: The first groups of Hondurans would leave to work temporarily in the United States in February 2020. // U.S. Ambassador to Honduras, Colleen Hoey, presented the Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) award to the Honduran Institute of Anthropology and History. 
📰 MACCIH: The University Institute on Democracy, Peace, and Security revealed that about 75 percent of the Honduran population agrees with the continuity of the MACCIH, an OAS anti-corruption mission in order to “fight corruption and impunity.” 
El Salvador
📰 #ProtestaLGBTI: Members of the LGBTI community demand action and protection from the Salvadoran government after Oscar Canenguez, a gay man, was found murdered - the fourth murder of a gay or trans person in 22 days. The United Nations also issued a statement calling on El Salvador to investigate the murders and take urgent measures to prevent further violence against gay and trans people.
📰 Forced Disappearances: The Legislative Assembly approved reform to increase prison sentences against those who execute or order disappearances. Nine people are reported missing every day and the majority are youth, according to government statistics.  
📰 Sexual Assault: Hugo Preza, top reporter for news channel MegaVision, is accused of sexually assaulting female collegues and will be criminally investigated by the Attorney General’s Office.
📰 US Relations: A delegation of five US state legislators - from states hostile to abortion like Georgia, Alabama and Ohio - traveled to El Salvador on fact-finding mission to examine the consequences of criminalizing abortion. // The Peace Corps is returning to El Salvador, after having left the country in 2016 due to violence. 
Garifuna Museum in Los Angeles
The Garifuna Museum in Los Angeles was founded in 2011 to revive and preserve Garifuna culture and history. It continues to be a source of pride for the L.A. Garifuna community. 
Good Reads
☑️ Panama’s Constitutional Reform: If you want to understand what happened in Panama regarding protests of its Constitutional Reform, read this by the AS/COA.
☑️ Nicaragua’s Energy Sector: Confidencial published a three-parts report on the situation of the energy sector in the country, plagued with corruption and mismanagement. This is our pick: how ALBANISA, a private company, is controlled by President Ortega.
☑️#MeToo: Contracorriente investigates how sexual harassment is pervasive in all sectors of society, including human rights organizations. They note how organizations respond to complaints and cases of gender-based violence. 
☑️ Migrants in Mexico: Migrants are important, but Mexico is the priority:” In an interview with El Faro, Fr. Alejandro Solalinde, who was once a champion for the human rights of migrants, claims that it is no longer possible for Mexico to accompany Central American migrants on journey to the United States.
Multimedia
🎧 Migration:“La trampa de la capital de la capital del sur” highlights the testimonies of migrants from across the world who have found themselves trapped in the southern city of Tapachula, Mexico, fighting to survive. From El Pais and El Faro. 
🎧 El Salvador: Salvadoran history curation page SalviHistory (@salvihistory) produced its first podcast where they spoke with two ex-combatants of the FMLN about their experiences as combatants during the Salvadoran revolution and the importance of historical memory.
On Netflix
The documentary “Guatemala: Corazón del Mundo Maya” will premiere on November 30th on Netflix to invite viewers into the cultural and geological wealth of Guatemala.
The documentary “Guatemala: Corazón del Mundo Maya” will premiere on November 30th on Netflix to invite viewers into the cultural and geological wealth of Guatemala.
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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