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No Land for the People

Central American News
No Land for the People
By Central American News • Issue #56 • View online

Dear Readers,
As Panama celebrates five centuries of the Spanish foundation of Panama City, it’s important to highlight the lives and luchas of indigenous peoples in Panama and in Central America - past and present.
Indigenous Peoples throughout Central America still suffer from discrimination, land dispossession and violence. Check out the reports at the end of the Headlines section to read news on Indigenous peoples and how they fight back different threats throughout Central America. Like Mayan Mam Silvia Castro says in this report - “there is no land for the people.”
Let’s highlight their stories.
Thank you for reading Central American news.
The Central Team
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Photo of the Week
Panama City celebrated the "500 years of its foundation." It was the first Spanish city on the coasts of the Pacific Ocean. "Civic organizations, indigenous people, children and entire families were present in the Monumental Complex of Panama Viejo." Photo Credit to Roman Dibulet
Panama City celebrated the "500 years of its foundation." It was the first Spanish city on the coasts of the Pacific Ocean. "Civic organizations, indigenous people, children and entire families were present in the Monumental Complex of Panama Viejo." Photo Credit to Roman Dibulet
📰 ICE & Border Patrol: The number of detained migrants in Mississippi and Louisiana has quadrupled in the past year // ICE detained nearly 9,000 migrants who had successfully passed their initial asylum screenings. // A Border Patrol agent plead guilty to intentionally hitting a Guatemalan migrant with his truck. 
📰 Courts: Federal Appeals Court ruled that migrant children in U.S. custody must be provided with edible food, clean water, and basic hygiene items following a challenge from the Trump Administration to withhold access to these items.  // Children of TPS holders fight for their parents’ protection in court.
📰 “Public Charge” Rule: The Trump Administration announced a new rule to restrict legal immigration by denying green cards to migrants who use public assistance, including Medicaid, food stamps, housing vouchers, and more.
📰 Mexico: The Mexican government sends asylum seekers to the Mexico-Guatemala border  to await their case proceedings from the U.S. // National Guard troops raided and detained a group of mostly adolescents and children who were playing at the beach in Tijuana. 
📰 Politics: President-elect Giammattei says “safe-third country agreement" is not sustainable as it is written. // Giammattei would withdraw Guatemala from the Central American Parliament if his proposal to improve the parliament’s power to approve laws is not considered.
📰 Corruption: Former presidential candidate Sandra Torres, accused of illicit electoral financing, wants to prove to courts that she will not escape the country once her immunity is off. Her lawyer showed her passport to court.
📰 In the U.S.: hundreds of Guatemalans wait up to three kilometers to begin processing passports or consular documents in Cincinnati, Ohio, due to the hardening of policies against migrants in the U.S.
📰 China: Main opposition party, People’s United Party, travelled to China for a meeting, causing concern due to Belize’s close relationship with Taiwan; Prime Minister Barrow called it a “betrayal” of national interests.
📰 Environment: Tons of sargassum washed up on Belizean shores. It is a type of seaweed that would begin to appear as a result of rising ocean temperatures.
📰 Sports: Belizean-American gymnast Simone Biles won her sixth US title with a historic floor routine.
📰 Politics: Opposition group Alianza Cívica reforms itself to better face President Ortega, with new students, farmers and union workers, and creates new work commissions. 4to Mono and political analyst Carlos Lucas analyze what this new transformation means.
📰 Diplomacy: Nicaraguan delegation paid a visit to the United Arab Emirates and Iran in search of political and economic support. 
📰 Economy: GDP could fall by 8.7% in 2019, which could lead to more poverty and migration. Gasoline and diesel consumption may fall by 5.5% this year.
El Salvador
📰 Abortion Ban: The retrial of Evelyn Beatríz Hernández - who was accused of murdering her child after a stillbirth and jailed for 33 months - resumed on Thursday. The Attorney General seeks a 40 year sentence for the 21 year old. The judge is expected to deliver a ruling on Monday.
📰 Environmental Justice: Judge orders inspection to determine who is responsible for contaminating Ceniza river. Locals and associations had denounced the company Acrópolis Sonsonate for the pollution. 
📰 Economy: Remittances sent by the Salvadoran diaspora could fall by 7.6% due to the tightening of US migration policies, according to a study done by international organizations.
📰 International Youth Day: On International Youth Day on August 12, young people across the country organized and spoke about the challenges they face in El Salvador, including lack of opportunity, stigmatization, and human rights violations. 
📰 U.S. Relations: President Juan Orlando Hernandez, who was recently mentioned as being an alleged co-conspirator of his brother’s drug-trafficking schemes, talked with OAS top leaders in D.C. to tackle the “demand for drugs and drug-trafficking”.
📰Israel Relations: The President of Honduras stated this week that the relationship with Israel is “fundamental for the country, as it will promote investment.” U.S.evangelical fundamentalists are influencing Latin American politics, according to an international journalistic investigation.
📰Palm-Oil Industry: The Government of President Juan Orlando Hernández signed a cooperation and support agreement for the palm-oil sector, which will “benefit more than 18.000 families”. Garifuna organization Ofraneh denounces that there have been more aggressions against land defenders in Colon, an area historically used by companies to produce palm-oil. 
📰Protests: University and high school students continue to call for the President of Honduras to resign due to his alleged involvement in corruption and drug-trafficking schemes. 
Costa Rica
📰 Los Moreco: Authorities in Costa Rica have arrested the drug boss of Los Moreco, a Costa Rican-based drug-trafficking group with apparent ties to Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel. 
📰 LGBTQ+ : Remezlca shares the brief history of LGBTQ+ resistance in Costa Rica, where nightclubs act as a safe space, and as a chain-breaking tool of LGBTQ+ liberation.
📰 Martinelli, not guilty: Former President has been found not guilty of political espionage after he was accused of spying on 150 people, including politicians, union leaders and journalists during his administration, and a court ordered his release. However, the prosecutors are seeking ways to revert this sentence.  
📰 Diplomacy: President Cortizo appointed a former banker to be the next Ambassador to the United States. // Panama and Israel strengthen agro-technology and environmental arenas.  // Panama and China reaffirmed their interest in cooperation for education. This year, over 58 Panamanian students will  be granted a scholarship to study in China. 
📰 500 years: Panama City turns 500 years old and celebrations around the city are headed by former box-star Roberto “Mano de Piedra” Durán. Watch here.
Indigenous Peoples’ Day
August 9 was International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. Here are a few recent news and archives:
Residents from Cajolá, Quetzaltenango on the sidewalk outside Guatemala’s presidential palace on August 6. The families state they intend to remain until the President follows through on an agreement for stolen land restitution. Credit: Jeff Abbott.
Residents from Cajolá, Quetzaltenango on the sidewalk outside Guatemala’s presidential palace on August 6. The families state they intend to remain until the President follows through on an agreement for stolen land restitution. Credit: Jeff Abbott.
NEWS: Hundreds of Mayan Mam families want the Guatemalan government to follow through with their agreement to compensate for their land stolen on 1910.
NEWS: Two Mayan indigenous rights and environmental activists fled Guatemala for fear of being killed for their political activity. A Texas lawyer is fighting to obtain their political asylum.
NEWS: A new law in Costa Rica was put into effect on Friday, which would recognize the nationality of the Ngäbe indigenous population and make it easier for the 3,000 Ngäbe people to have access to Costa Rican identity documents.
REPORT: The indigenous community of the Miskitu people suffer from social abandonment and persecution by the State of Nicaragua, a report from CEJIL, Center for Justice and International Law concludes.
ARCHIVE: La Prensa Grafica shows archived photographs of the 1932 genocide of indigenous people and campesinos who revolted against the repressive Salvadoran government and landowners, while posted 120 year old pictures of indigenous life in El Salvador through the lens of a Swedish photographer. 
Good Reads
OPINION: An opinion piece published by El Pais (ES) and Nomada (EN) on how “Trump means to make Guatemalans starve to death” while the rest of the world is watching.
OPINION: Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International, publishes an op-ed on Al-Jazeera based on the story of Eblin Corea who died at the hands of Honduran police forces as part of the policy of repression enacted by President Hernandez’s government.
INVESTIGATION: More than 15 U.S. and Latin American media groups investigated how U.S. evangelical leaders linked to the White House export a fundamentalist agenda to Latin America. Recent visits of these priests in Central America includes Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua and are said to have strengthened rulers in these countries. The full report can be read at Transnacionales de la
REPORT: The Guardian calls Belize a “world leader” in ocean conservation efforts after seeing improvements in coral reef health and fish populations. Belize has a “groundbreaking approach to ocean protection.”
DATA: Migration Policy Institute published a new report that tracks demographic changes of Central American immigrants in the United States.
PODCAST: Keyanna Gotay talks about the nuances around the Black Central American and Garifuna experiences in Honduras and the United States, as well as navigating the Afro-Latina identity in the U.S. and Honduras. On Race to the Finish podcast.
FILM: “Días de luz” is the first movie filmed and produced simultaneously in six countries of Central America. Know more and help with the crowdfunding campaign.
The Team
Melissa Vida, Founder and Editor
Nansi Rodríguez, Guatemala News
Rodrigo Peñalba, Nicaragua News
Jonathan Peraza Campos, Migration News
Jalileh García, Honduras News
Rachel Ketola, El Salvador News
Rachel Osorio, Costa Rica News
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