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Guatemalan Women Take to the Streets

Central American News
Guatemalan Women Take to the Streets
By Central American News • Issue #115 • View online

Dear Readers,
Women throughout Central America continue to raise their voices for their rights.
In Guatemala City, Cobán, Huehuetenango and Xela, women gathered on public squares over the weekend to sing “Canción sin miedo” against femicides in Guatemala. According to national statistics, there are 200 complaints for gender violence every day, 2 of which are for femicide. On Sunday, Twitter flooded with support and the names of recent victims, Litzy Amelia Cordon Guardado and Laura Daniela Hernández. In Costa Rica, women also protested against femicides last Saturday, International Day of the Girl Child.
Two days before, women in El Salvador asked the state to allow abortions for girls who are raped. During the first six months of 2020, 258 girls between ages 10 and 14 became pregnant. In Nicaragua, too, nearly one out of ten teenagers are mothers.
In Panama, women-led initiatives to empower survivors of physical and/or psychological abuse are popping up in areas where opportunities for sports are rare. There, women can learn how to box, fence, and do taekwondo.
Read about these news and more, including a new “good news” section below 👇🏼✨
Photo of the Week
"Con carteles y consignas, mujeres manifestaron en la Plaza de la Constitución su rechazo hacia la violencia contra la mujer, además, conmemoraron y pidieron justicia por las víctimas de femicidios en el país." Photo by María España (Guatemala)
"Con carteles y consignas, mujeres manifestaron en la Plaza de la Constitución su rechazo hacia la violencia contra la mujer, además, conmemoraron y pidieron justicia por las víctimas de femicidios en el país." Photo by María España (Guatemala)
📰 Child Separation: Top federal officials were the architects behind the zero-tolerance policy that took children away from their parents, according to new reports. // Federal prosecutors who ran a “pilot” program of family separations stated in 2017 that children younger than 12 years old should not be separated from their parents because they would likely not be able to be reunited.
📰 Detainment & Deportation: An updated expedited removal policy will allow ICE officials to detain and quickly deport undocumented people without a hearing from a judge. // According to reports from the Department of Homeland Security, transferring detainees between facilities “contributed to outbreaks” of COVID-19 across the country. 
📰 Irwin County Detention Center: After the Georgia facility’s practices caused outrage, detainees claimed that nothing has changed for the people detained inside. More migrant women at the Georgia facility experienced hysterectomies in detention than previously reported.
📰 At the Border: Nearly $70 million federal dollars have been spent on border facilities (“tent courts”) built in 2019 to conduct immigration hearings, yet no immigration hearings have taken place. // Border Patrol agents executed a federal search warrant and arrested a dozen undocumented people and volunteers at an Arizona camp run by humanitarian organization No More Deaths.

📰 General Elections: Belize’s general elections are planned to be held November 11. But the Belize Peace Movement wants to stop the elections until the Belize government agrees to redistrict the country’s 31 electoral constituencies.
📰 COVID in Prison: Hattieville Prison, the only prison in all of Belize, will be placed on full lockdown due to spread of the virus among staff and inmates.   
📰 Taiwan: Belize, and 9 other countries, wrote a letter urging the United Nations to begin including Taiwan in the UN system.
📰 Land Rights: After six months of tension, the Lands Department is planning to “look into” farmers’ concerns over their right to plant crop on land that is being claimed by Valley of Peace Farms company.

Costa Rica 
📰 Protests: On October 4, the government of Costa Rica withdrew its original proposals with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) after ongoing protests and blockades. Leaders of the protests will maintain the protests and blockades as leaders have stated that they want to see “if the government complies” to withdrawing the proposal with the IMF.
📰 Mental Health: The Ministry of Health, the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social and three public universities will study the impact of the pandemic on the mental health of Costa Ricans.
📰 Unemployment: The official statistical agency reported that unemployment in Costa Rica reached 23.2% in the quarter from June to August, slightly lower than the immediately preceding period, but still severely impacted by the pandemic.
📰 Femicides: A group of women demonstrated in front of the Courts of Justice in San José against the femicides that have occurred in Costa Rica, the most notable cases this year being the disappearance and murder in March of Allison Bonilla and the femicide of Dr. María Luisa Cedeño on July 20.

El Salvador
📰 Women’s Rights: A group of women’s rights defenders demanded that the government allow abortions for pregnant girls who are raped. The state criminalized abortion under any circumstances in 1997. The Amoralis Collective says women and adolescent girls are treated like second-class citizens in El Salvador. // Plan Internacional de El Salvador announced a campaign to raise awareness for access to the internet for girls to “empower themselves” without encountering violence online. 
📰 Press Freedom: Journalist Mónica Rodríguez said in an interview that the right to free expression and access to public information in El Salvador is at risk. The Bukele administration is funding a state-run propaganda program “Noticiero El Salvador” on Channel 10, where Rodríguez was recently fired. 
📰 Government Workers: Caught in conflict between the legislative and executive branches, government workers got paid after a six-day delay in payments. Another delay in funding for cities and towns also led to demonstrations by municipal workers earlier in the week.
📰 Public Money: El Faro reports that the head of the Treasury (Alejandro Zelaya) refused four times to testify in congress about the use of public money intended to cope with COVID-19. The Police had the order to bring him, but did not.

📰 #NiUnaMenos: Following the death of Litzy Amelia Cordón Guardado earlier this week, a protest was held in Guatemala City’s central plaza to protest the femicides in Guatemala. A feminist rally “Por Todas Las Que Nos Faltan” protested outside Xela’s municipal building as an act of rejection of the violence against women. Solidarity with the protests and movements was shared via social media.
📰 César Montes: Julio César Macías López “César Montes” was captured in Mexico during an Interpol investigation. He is a former guerrilla commander of the Rebel Armed Forces (FAR) and the Guatemalan Army of the Poor (EGP). He has three arrest warrants for attempted murder, illicit association of armed persons, aggravated usurpation and murder. 
📰 State of Prevention: The state of prevention that was put in place on October 1st to deter and delay the migrant caravan into Guatemala was lifted because “the causes behind the decree have ceased.” During this state of prevention police and military officials forcibly removed about 3,300 migrants. 
📰 #Solola: A landslide of stones and mud in San Marcos La Laguna resulted in 4 dead and 10 injured. Various houses were destroyed and some individuals were reported missing.

📰 Corruption:  While the tax injunction was emitted against Bográn for spending 100,000 lempiras in luxury hotels from public funds, he is also being accused for the misappropriation of public funds in the purchase of seven mobile hospitals valued at 47.4 million dollars. The latter accusation has not received any legal action.
📰 Debt: The National Congress of Honduras approved $850 million in sovereign bonds to allegedly finance the 2020 fiscal deficit. Economist Hugo Pino regretted that no detailed justification had been presented for this new incurred debt, which brings Honduras to close to 16 billion dollars in debt. 
📰 Roatan: The construction of the “Prospera Model City” on the Bay Islands, Roatan, continues despite claims by property and rights defense agencies and municipal authorities. Nearly a month ago, residents of the Crawfish Rock community had managed to evict a foreign investor and his security guards.
📰 Garifuna Communities: The Honduran Black Fraternal Organization (Ofraneh) denounced that armed men entered Vallecito, Garifuna ancestral territory this week. // Nearly three months have passed since five Garífuna men were forcibly disappeared from their homes by armed men wearing police uniforms. Their whereabouts are still unknown.

📰 Gender Violence: NGOs points out that at the regional level Nicaragua is the country with the highest proportion of teenage pregnancies, where 92 out of every 1,000 teenagers are mothers. // Femicides and sexual violence increased during the pandemic
📰 Diplomacy: The US sanctions two top Nicaraguan officials and one financial institution based on corruption. // The European Parliament threatens to apply sanctions to Nicaragua if laws on cyber crimes, control of fake news and the registration of national citizens as “foreign agents” are passed.
📰 Migrants: At least 2,500 Nicaraguans will be affected by the suspension of TPS in the US. // Nicaraguan migrants in Spain suffer from labor exploitation and lack of jobs.

📰 International Travel: Panama will be re-opening its borders and permitting international travel starting 12 October. Incoming travelers, nationals, residents, and non-nationals will be required to present a negative COVID-19 test taken no less than 48 hours before or pay $50 to be tested at the airport terminal.
📰 Industry: Movie theatres, casinos, museums, dance studios, and other businesses will be reopening on 12 October. Private parties and shows are not allowed and nightclubs are still banned from reopening. Curfews and total quarantine will remain on Sundays due to the pandemic. 
📰 Mental Health: The Pan American Health Organization requests Panamanian authorities to strengthen their efforts regarding mental health, especially amidst the pandemic
📰 Donations: The Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Panama has donated health prevention sanitary items and supplies to Panamanian indigenous communities through the Panama Tourism Authority.
#NiUnaMas Guatemala
“Por las defensoras que están apresadas. Por todas las niñas que fueron quemadas. Por todas aquellas gritando en la plaza. Por todas las madres buscando sin calma”. Canción sin miedo en la voz de Adriana Camposeco ✊🏼💜🔥
#LasQueLuchan 💚
Good Reads
📌Move 2 Improve: Social empowerment project founded by Carolina Joly seeks to empower women who have survived physical and/or psychological abuse through martial arts and boxing in Panama. (Letras Finas)
📌 ICE’s Illegal Deportation: “In a flagrant and seemingly unprecedented violation of U.S. due process, a Central American man has been extrajudicially deported by ICE before having his scheduled day in immigration court.” ICE recognized it as “an administrative error.” Investigation by The Intercept.
📌LGBTQ Violence & Discrimination:  Human Rights Watch published a report criticizing Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala for failing to stop the violence against LGBTQ people and the obstacles they face trying to seek refuge in the United States under current migration policies. (HRW)
📌 Reagan & El Salvador’s Civil War: Danielle Parada wrote an op-ed for Medium in which she documents the links between the U.S. Christian right and their influence on Reagan’s funding and support for the dictatorship during El Salvador’s civil war. 
📌 Common Ground: The Baltimore Sun interviewed Jonathan Jayes-Green, an Afro-Panamanian organizer, about their work bridging the gap between African-American, Latinx, and immigrant communities by finding common ground.
Our COVID-19 Map
Visit our interactive COVID-19 map of Central America.
Visit our interactive COVID-19 map of Central America.
Buenas Noticias
✨ UCLA Renamed Chicano Studies: UCLA has renamed its Chicano Studies Center to include Central American Studies. The new name is “UCLA César E. Chávez Department of Chicana and Chicano and Central American Studies.”
✨ Biotechnology: Guatemalan scientist Alejandra Sierra was chosen as one of the 100 Leaders in Biotechnology by the Global Biotech Revolution in Cambridge, UK.
✨ Jerusalem Smith: Why is Jerusalem Smith, a Panamanian doctor of Guna origin, among the 100 most powerful women in the world?
✨ Literary Awards: Guatemalan poet Giovany Emanuel Coxolcá Tohom was declared winner of the Premio de Poesía Editorial Praxis 2020 in Mexico for his recent book Don Quijote y las memorias de Ixmukané (Agenda Cultural Guatemala).
Central American Voices & Studies
✍️ Poetry: The Academy of American Poets recently featured Salvadoran poet Javier Zamora’s poem “Nó, Actually, Soy Salvadoreño” for their Poem a Day. 
💰 Relief Funds: Organization Las Que Nos Cuidan is raising COVID-19 relief funds for midwives and indigenous elders in El Salvador who have been affected by the pandemic (Instagram promotional image).
🎓 Chile / El Salvador: The article “Promoting a ‘Pinochetazo:‘ The Chilean Dictatorship’s Foreign Policy in El Salvador during the Carter Years, 1977–81” tries to answer how the Pinochet dictatorship responded to the Carter presidency and introduction of the human rights policy as well as the shift of the epicentre of the Cold War in Latin America to Central America.
Canadian Honduran Singer Daniela Andrade
Check out her profile and music on Reclamation Magazine (click on photo)
Check out her profile and music on Reclamation Magazine (click on photo)
📅 Defiant Women of Central America: 50 female leaders in business, health, social leadership and culture, 6 panels. October 14th to 16th.
📅 Forbes Forum: Powerful Women: The challenges for the region and the role of women, October 21st to 23rd.
📅 The Maya and the Revolution: Indigenous Guatemalan organization Tujaal is hosting a Facebook Live event about the relationship between Maya communities and the Guatemalan state during the revolution of 1944-1954.
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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
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