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Nicaragua Will Re-Establish Life Sentences

Central American News
Nicaragua Will Re-Establish Life Sentences
By Central American News • Issue #120 • View online

Dear Readers,
With so much news, it might be difficult to follow what is happening. In particular, that Nicaragua is passing its third law to apparently fully seal any form of freedom of speech in the country under the guise of national security.
Nicaragua’s National Assembly gave initial legislative approval to a constitutional reform to establish the penalty of life imprisonment. The law, which should be ratified in January 2021, is a source of worry for many, who see it as a way to quench dissident voices after the use of state force failed to stop them. This law comes on the heels of two others: one that aims at controlling social media and leaks, and the other, at controlling foreign-funded groups.
There is other news, too, as Belize elected their next Prime Minister, John Briceño, from the People’s United Party. He won after a landslide win against the ruling United Democratic Party.
Also, Hurricane Iota is expected to make landfall as an “extremely dangerous” Category 4 storm Monday night in Central America, where many people are still recovering from Hurricane ETA that lashed the region 10 days ago. Stay safe.
Thank you for reading and supporting Central American News.
Salú,
Melissa
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An image of president Daniel Ortega in Catarina, Nicaragua. Photo from REUTERS
An image of president Daniel Ortega in Catarina, Nicaragua. Photo from REUTERS
Headlines
Migration
📰 Irwin County Detention Center: The Trump administration is deporting women who accused a gynecologist of nonconsensual procedures at Irwin County Detention Center. 
📰 Migrant Advocacy: Migrants detained at a California detention center filed documents to support their request for the U.S. District Court to oversee a COVID-19 outbreak at the facility. // Immigrant justice advocates are speaking out over President-elect Joe Biden’s selection of Cecilia Munoz for his transition team, awakening tensions from the Obama immigration policy era. 
📰  Migrant Policies: Mexico will stop holding migrant children in detention facilities after new policy changes. // Federal judge states that Chad Wolf’s suspension of the DACA program is unlawful given his unlawful appointment as chief of Homeland Security. // As legal counsel has reduced, asylum denial rates in the U.S. reached a record high of 71.6% in fiscal year 2020 with biases against migrants of color.
📰 Europe: Belgium chartered flight deported 77 Salvadoran asylum seekers back to El Salvador. The Belgian government claims they were voluntary returns.

Central America
📰 Tragedy: Although Eta is less devastating than many past disasters, such as Hurricane Mitch– which in 1998 killed more than 11,000 people in Central America–Eta adds to the misery caused by the pandemic and may lead to more COVID-19 cases.

Costa Rica 
📰 Human Trafficking: After eight months of police investigation, official sources in San José revealed an international criminal network and human trafficking organization. It was dismantled by the Professional Migration Police.
📰 Asylum: The government of Costa Rica announced a new category of asylum for asylum seekers from Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela that will provide permits to live in Costa Rica for a period of two years that can be extended.
📰 Environment: Costa Rica has become the first country in Central America to be awarded $54.1 million by the Green Climate Fund (GCF) in non-reimbursable funds for the protection of the country’s forests in recognition of the country’s achievements in reducing emissions. 
📰 Tropical Storm lota: Costa Rica’s National Emergency Commission (CNE) on Saturday placed the entire country under weather alerts as it forecast indirect effects from tropical storm lota.

Belize
📰 PUP Wins Election: John Briceño, leader of the People’s United Party, was sworn in as Belize’s fifth Prime Minister after a landslide win against the ruling United Democratic Party.
📰 Tropical Storm Iota: Like much of the isthmus, Belize is still recovering from Hurricane Eta. Now they are preparing for Tropical Storm Iota as it heads toward the Central American coast.

El Salvador
📰 Iota: El Salvador officials are monitoring Tropical Storm Iota. The country’s Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources expects the storm system’s strongest impact to hit the north and east parts of the country.
📰 Pandemic Investigations: The Attorney General’s office is further investigating the alleged use of government funds by various government officials and their relatives to profit from the pandemic. El Faro reports that various agencies tied to the executive office are being investigated
📰 Martirio: The Central American University opened a memorial exhibit titled “Martirio” paying tribute to the Jesuits killed during El Salvador’s civil war in 1989. This comes after the Supreme Court ordered to close the criminal cases in October.
📰 Andres Guardado: Los Angeles County coroner’s officials announced that they will conduct an independent inquest into the killing of Salvadoran American Andres Guardado by sheriff’s deputies last year.

Guatemala
📰 After Hurricane Eta: Guatemala will be requesting Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Guatemalan citizens who are residing in the United States because of the damages left by Hurricane Eta. // After getting hit by Hurricane Eta and not receiving government aid, 70 people from the Saqu'ixim community left their makeshift shelter because they have no food or water. Many of the communities affected by Eta are not able to rely on the government for support, instead relying on other community members for aid.
📰 U.S. Deportations: Throughout the pandemic, the United States has been deporting unaccompanied children to Guatemala. Since March more than 1,400 unaccompanied children have been deported. Meanwhile, in 2019 the U.S. deported 385 children. 
📰 Land Theft: 40 Indigenous Maya Q’eqchi families are facing eviction after occupying land in Chitún, Tucurú, Alta Verapaz since July 2020. They are trying to reclaim their ancestral lands that were taken from them by the Santa Teresa hydro-electric project. 
📰 Protests: Weekly Saturday protests against corruption in Guatemala’s capital continue. Citizens met to ask President Giammattei “where is the money?”, regarding the government’s management of COVID-19 and Hurricane Eta.

Honduras
📰 Hurricane Iota: Tropical Storm Iota is expected to become a major hurricane with the possibility of exacerbating conditions in Honduras. The National Hurricane Center indicated that there is a risk of dangerous winds, storm surge, and rainfall in Honduras and Nicaragua beginning on Nov. 16. Government authorities issued a red alert throughout the country. Evacuations have begun in different areas of the country, including in La Lima, one of the worst-hit areas due to Hurricane Eta. 
📰 Eta Aftermaths: More than 2.9 million people have been affected by Hurricane Eta in Honduras. The construction of hydroelectric plants has contributed to the inundations suffered in the Sula Valley, because of a lack of effective planning and economic interests. In Chamelecon, San Pedro Sula, many families and businesses lost everything while their buildings are still filled with mud. In the El Cajon hydroelectric power plant, water is being discharged in a controlled manner due to rainfall accumulated in the Eta storm. 
📰 Finances: The government promised millions of dollars to help small businesses, but the majority of the money benefitted private banks, large companies, and mid-size companies.

Nicaragua
📰 Hurricanes: Hurricane Iota will hit Nicaragua and Honduras as a category 4. // Municipalities of opposition mayors demand help after Hurricane Eta.
📰 Water Access: The government opens the door to the privatization of drinking water services with reform of the water law.
📰 Economy: Despite negative forecasts, the flow of remittances continues to grow. The economic authorities maintain a growth projection of close to 5 percent for 2020 and 4.5 percent for 2021.
📰 Life Sentence: Nicaragua’s National Assembly gave initial legislative approval to a constitutional reform establishing the penalty of life imprisonment. The European Parliament called for heavier sanctions. A delegation of Nicaraguan victims and human rights organizations met at the European Parliament on Nov. 16 to discuss the situation.

Panama
📰 Hurricane Iota: President Cortizo has announced the activation of emergency operations centers in preparation for Hurricane Iota. 
📰 COVID-19: Dr. Alexander Martinez’s laptop, which contained all the codes of the SARS-CoV-2 genomes in Panama, was stolen.// President Cortizo stated that $48 million USD will be destined for the purchase of 4 million vaccines from Pfizer. 
📰 Budget Cuts: The National Secretariat of Science and Technology of Panama (SENACYT) received $43.6 million USD for their 2021 budget, $12 million USD less from the previous year. Ciencia en Panamá, a science non-profit, has expressed concerns over SENACYT’s budget cuts indicating a lack of government interest in supporting scientific processes.
Belize's Prime Minister
The leader of the People’s United Party (PUP), John Briceño, has been sworn in as the fifth Prime Minister of Belize.
The leader of the People’s United Party (PUP), John Briceño, has been sworn in as the fifth Prime Minister of Belize.
Good Reads
📌 Black & Indigenous in Nicaragua: Kriol Nicaraguan leader George Henriquez speaks with the Havana Times about the trials of Black and Indigenous communities in Nicaragua against disease and repression.
📌Caravans: Could Eta be the “last straw” for Central Americans considering migrating? (Univision).
📌Crime & Covid-19: As coronavirus rages in Mexico and the northern Central America, criminal outfits have adapted (Crisis Group – they are also holding an event on this).
📌 Biden Administration: The Texas Tribune weighs the challenges that the Biden administration will confront as it seeks to overturn Trump-era policies.  
📌 Past & Present Refugees: NACLA provides an overview of the history of Guatemalan children refugees fleeing their country during the civil war and its connections to the present migrant children crisis.
📌Personal stories:  A Salvadoran transman shares his struggle of bigotry and discrimination, including police violence, in a tale of resilience.
Panamanian Talent
Art Awards:  12-year-old Panamanian violinist Cristina de Gracia won an award at the 2020 Concurso Internacional de Jóvenes Intérpretes and five artists won the highly coveted Panamanian Premio Nacional de Literatura Ricardo Miró 2020 in the categories of essay, poetry, novel, theater, and short story.
🎓 Women in Migration: Joan Flores-Villalobos brings to life the women who journeyed to Panama for money, love and adventure during the construction of the famous canal — and recounts her own migration to the U.S.
Popul Vuh: A Retelling
A new book “Popol Vuh: A Retelling” brings a modern rendition to the ancient Mayan epic.
An illustration from "Popol Vuh: A Retelling" by Ilan Stavans, with illustrations by Gabriela Larios.
An illustration from "Popol Vuh: A Retelling" by Ilan Stavans, with illustrations by Gabriela Larios.
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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. José Martínez, Podcast Producer, Social Media Officer. Natalie Leach, Social Media Officer. 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. Jacqui Martinez, Guest Art Curator
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